Mad about Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea 3 at Casa Primera Vista
Casa Primera Vista’s large swath of bougainvillea. Note how the ground cover has dried up due to total lack of rain.

I’ve always loved bougainvillea and wanted to grow it, but living in the Midwest, it just wasn’t in the cards. Now that we’re in the tropics, I’m surrounding myself with a LOT of it.

Bougainvillea 2 at Casa Primera Vista

In May 2020, we had about 300 bougainvillea’s planted on the lower portion of our lot, before construction had even begun. Not all of them made it because we weren’t there to tend them as frequently as new plantings need, but a large majority did, and those that did are really starting to take off now.

It’s January. In Costa Rica – Guanacaste, more specifically – we’re in what’s called the Dry Season, and the Ticos call it Summer. Technically, since we’re above the equator, it’s winter. It barely ever rains where we are this time of year, so trying to establish garden areas is tough. In fact, it hasn’t rained here since mid-November, except one or two brief showers. Everything gets very dry, and deciduous trees lose their leaves. It won’t start raining again until March, and when it does, the trees get their leaves back within days.

Bougainvillea 1 at Casa Primera Vista

But the bougainvillea down here seem to love the dryness, I don’t know why. That’s when their color really starts bursting. I know they don’t need much water once they’re established, but to see them going nuts in drought is beyond my comprehension. Nevertheless, I’ll take it!

I plan to add more bougainvillea closer to the house along the driveway, and in a terraced retaining wall behind the house. This week I’ll get going on that, because the irrigation system for the terraced wall will be finished tomorrow – yea!

Bougainvillea 4 at Casa Primera Vista
Bougainvillea stretching out into the plumeria tree

And after that comes lots of ixora, my second favorite tropical flowering shrub.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.