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A picture of a Paper Flower

Paper Flower

Bougainvillea spp.

Starr 030418-0058 Bougainvillea spectabilis by Forest & Kim Starr (CC BY 3.0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Paper Flower

A photo of Paper Flower
A close up of a flower
A photo of Paper Flower
A photo of Paper Flower

Paper Flower Overview

Bougainvillea is a small genus of evergreen or deciduous woody, climbing vines, subshrubs and tree species. These tender plants originate from tropical and subtropical regions of South America. They tend to be evergreen in wet climates and deciduous in climates with dry periods. They can grow to 12 m high in the right conditions. Bougainvillea - some species are known as the Paper Flower - make a dramatic addition to any garden but they need plenty of space in a bright sunny position and nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. They are particularly effective when grown on a pergola, arbour, arch or against the wall of a house. In cooler climates, they are best grown in a warm conservatory, as they are not hardy. Alternatively, they can be planted outside in containers in summer and brought indoors for winter. They like high humidity as they start to flower, and plenty of water during spring and summer. Many Bougainvilleas have characteristic, black-tipped thorns and their small, usually white flowers are surrounded by thin, papery bracts (modified leaves) of purple, magenta, pink, red, orange or white, making them a popular show-stopper!

Common problems with Paper Flower

Generally disease free and pests usually only a problem when grown under glass.

How to propagate Paper Flower


Root softwood cuttings in early spring, and semi-ripe cuttings in summer.


Layer in early autumn or in spring.

Special features of Paper Flower

Attractive flowers

Three colourful, petal-like bracts resemble flowers and are borne in terminal clusters.

Attracts useful insects

Pot plant

Other uses of Paper Flower

Grown for their showy floral bracts.

Pink Flowering Summer Plants

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