The Beautiful Bougainvillea

My bougainvillea is just a baby, but it is already reaching over the fence into the front yard. Last year this plant was nearly dead after the cold winter and I thought it was hopeless. Then little green sprouts began to appear at ground level and it continued to grow. You can see a picture of it on this blog post with photos I took last January. It looked dead. Not only did it survive, it went nuts this year!

Light pink flowering bougainvillea on a white fence

Some of the branches were growing awkwardly toward the house, so I trimmed them up and took the flowers inside. They did well in a vase of water until day three, when the flowers began to fall off and make a mess. Bougainvillea is not a long-term bouquet flower.

Light pink flowering bougainvillea in a vase
Cuttings last a couple days, but the stems can grow roots for beginning new plants!

This vining plant is gown in many yards around Florida. It can be huge and looks beautiful draped over a fence or along a wall. I love my light pink flowers, but the deep red is stunning and it comes in many other colors, like orange and yellow.

My bougainvillea is in a semi-shaded location, but they do like lots of sun and will have more flowers. They can be trimmed at any time and this is the first year mine has been so tall and had so many flowers so I’m not sure how long the flowers will last. They don’t need a lot of water either, which is nice. They won’t droop and wilt. But do be careful if the weather turns cold because they don’t like cold temperatures.

The University of Florida has a page all about Bougainvilleas. After reading the page I discovered that they are easy to propagate! I will definitely be trying that. I’ve had success with propagating crotons and cuttings from my rubber plant.

Our Warm Winter of 2019

A few nights this winter the temperatures dropped close to freezing and the only plants I covered outdoors were the crotons in the big pot out front. They were newly planted to replace the beautiful big croton that died in 2018 due to the cold.

This year was so mild, that everything is still big and green. I recently cut back my orange hibiscus which was nearly touching the roof of the house! When nothing freezes back, the plants have a head start in Spring.

Surprise Little Flower on Sweet Potato Vines

It’s November and my Florida vegetable garden is a bit of a mess. I don’t do much with it, but I look at it every day out my bedroom window. And today, I noticed a lavender-pink flower that was out of place. The outside color is about the same as the eggplant flowers, but this bloom was larger. It looked like it was on the trailing vine of the sweet potato plant.  And sure enough it was!

Lavender, pink and purple sweet potato flower
The inside of the flower is darker purple

sweet potato flower on vine
Sweet potato vines can flower!

Any day I can learn something new is a good day, in my opinion. And today I did. After neglecting my overgrown raised bed garden for months due to the heat, I am pleased to see new things happening in November.  Maybe a cool down was all it needed.

Sweet potato vines
Sweet potato vines trailing over the garden bed

After doing a quick search about flowering potato vines, I found an article at The Walden Effect which said flowers on potatoes were unusual. Then, I read comments from lots of people who have had flowers like mine. So whether it is uncommon or not, I don’t know. Maybe flowering sweet potatoes are only common in Florida, or other humid areas. It certainly looks like more flowers will be blooming on my vine. And yes, as someone mentioned, they do look like Morning Glories.

blue morning glory flower and buds
Blue morning glory flower and buds – my photo

At my house in New Hampshire I grew a big Morning Glory plant with blue flowers. The vine grew up the side of my deck railing, but the plant was frozen just as loads of buds were forming. I decided not to grow them again, but the blue flowers were gorgeous.  The buds were twirled around and unfolded like a mini umbrella.  You can see that in my photo above.

Getting Seeds From Sweet Potato Flowers

Another interesting sweet potato article talks about how sometimes the blossoms can turn into tomato-looking berries.  This is where the seeds will be.  I have never grown a sweet potato from seeds, only from tubers, or bits of old sweet potatoes with eyes.

sweet potato flower on vine
Potato vines climbing through tomato cages

I will watch and see what happens to the flowers, and if I get any of those seed pods.

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The Petiolaris is a Climbing Hydrangea

Hydrangea petiolaris photo by Bruger:Sten
Image via Wikipedia

I am unfamiliar with the climbing form of hydrangea, or at least I was before I researched it for this blog post.  I will be moving soon into a house of my own where I plan to do lots of gardening so I need to know what is available for my area of the country.  I live in growing zone 5 so my plants have to be able to withstand cold and lots of snow cover.  Always check before you buy plants online to make sure they are suitable for your area.

The petiolaris, or climbing hydrangea plant, can be used as a ground cover as well as a climber.  The blooms are white and lacey looking and show up around the month of June and the leaves are heart-shaped and green.  If you want this flowering vine to climb, then plant it near a sturdy structure that will be able to bear the weight of the full grown bush which can be up to 50 feet in height… yikes!  That is big, so think long term when planting this one.  It likes shade or semi-shaded areas which is good to know since my new yard will be surrounded by trees and I’m assuming will be quite shady most of the day.

I like the idea of planting it to cover an unsightly tree stump (I have a tall one in my new yard) or some other part of the yard that isn’t very nice looking.  According to what I’ve read, it takes a year or two to get established and then it takes off and grows like crazy.

Scroll down this page at Dave’s Garden site and read what people who are growing this plant have to say.

Check with local nurseries to purchase.