Barbara Karst Bougainvillea
Breathtakingly Beautiful Bracts
Few flowering plants can match the stunning display of a Barbara Karst Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea x buttiana ‘Barbara Karst’) in full bloom. Look closely at the center of a single blossom and you’ll see the “true” flower, which is a tiny, white bloom. But that inconspicuous flower is surrounded by the real reason you’ll want this plant -- showy, petal-like bracts of bright magenta!
At a Glance
1. Stunning floral display. Flowers are borne along the entire lengths of the stems for a big color impact.
2. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Plant Barbara Karst Bougainvillea in easy view of your favorite sitting area, because you’ll want to watch the hummingbirds and butterflies that flock to the flowers.
3. Salt-tolerant. An outstanding choice for coastal areas because of its tolerance to salt spray.
Landscape Design Versatility
Barbara Karst Bougainvillea is a perennial in USDA plant hardiness zones 10 through 11, which means that lucky gardeners in these regions can grow it outside year-round. Train it on trellises, arbors or pergolas for a fast-growing shade cover that features its electric, reddish-pink flowers. Create a layered look by planting vines where they’ll cascade over retaining walls in a tiered garden. Space plants along fence posts to grow a flowering fence cover. Gardeners who live outside Barbara Karst Bougainvillea’s perennial hardiness range can enjoy this plant outside as a superior container plant during warmer months. Pots or hanging baskets can be easily taken inside and overwintered during colder months before being taken back outside the following season.
Guidelines for Growth
Barbara Karst Bougainvillea grows best and produces more flowers when these conditions are met:
• Sun. At least 6 hours of sun each day maximizes the flowering potential. If plants get too much shade, they won’t bloom as prolifically and the flower color is not as vivid.
• Soil. Well-draining soil is a must, and a pH of 5.5-6.5 is optimal. In soils that are too alkaline, the leaves may turn yellow.
• Water. Keep new plants watered well during the first season after planting to nourish their root systems. After plants become established, they are drought-tolerant and they don’t need watering as frequently. Let the soil dry slightly before watering deeply and thoroughly. Soil that stays slightly on the dry side promotes more blooming.
• Fertilizer. Apply a general-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer once a month or scatter slow-release granules around plants once in spring.
• Pruning. You can prune your Barbara Karst Bougainvillea any time during its active growing season. Because it blooms on new growth, after you cut it back it’ll set more flower buds. (Keep an eye out for thorns and wear gloves when pruning or working with this plant.)
• Container culture. Vines like to be pot-bound, so plant them in containers only slightly larger than the root ball. As plants grow, move them into new pots that are only slightly larger.
Overwintering Potted Plants
If you live in a growing zone colder than 10, bring in your potted Barbara Karst Bougainvillea before the weather gets too cold, and let it spend the winter indoors. In low-light conditions inside, plants go into a semi-dormant state and they may drop all their leaves. Water bare plants infrequently – only once or twice a month – until new growth begins in Spring. If you have a sunroom, solarium or even a sunny window, plants may keep their leaves all winter but they may not flower as profusely. For plants that retain their leaves inside, water them as often as you do other houseplants.