I bought a Bougainvillea plant when it was less than foot tall. Surprisingly it had lots of flowers. My assumption is that , it was a branch that was cut off and planted in soil and grown using rooting hormone. Not sure if Bougainvilleas can be propagated this way, but when I bought it that was my first impression.
I have never been attracted to Bougainvilleas because of the paper like appearance of the flowers but my wife loves them. And when she found the exact color she wanted, it ended up in my balcony. So without much ado I started looking after this guy.
I did not notice any growth for the first few weeks and the sapling looked like it was dying. But my wife was pretty firm that we needed to keep it and get it back up and growing. With those marching orders, I started attending to this guy more often. I added organic compost in very small quantities and shifted it to a grilled space that I have outside the bedroom window. The plant gets a lot of sunlight and within a week I noticed some new growth. With adequate watering and the sun, it was going to be a flowering plant within a week, right. Wrong.
The bougainvillea loves the water. I mean it loves the water so much that it forgets to flower. It just grows leaves, leaves and more leaves. After some Binging it looks like the Bougainvillea needs to be reminded that its purpose of existence is to flower and not just to create leaves.
What the Bougainvillea needs is moderate or limited watering just to make sure that the leaves do not droop. Continue this for a week and you will notice the buds forming.
Once you start the limited watering schedule Bougainvillea realizes that the human race is trying to drive it towards extinction. Suddenly it wakes up and says 'I will fight back the humans and make sure that my race rules'. The only way it can achieve this is to produce flowers, unlike Genghis Khan.
And with that, I present to you, pictures of my beautiful Bougainvillea flowers that present an amazing view for those that look up from the ground floor. I hope to cover part of the window with its foilage and beautiful flowers. I have really started to appreciate the plants attitude developed a special respect for it.
By the way, what we think are the flowers of the Bougainvillea are not actually the flowers. You can find more information here. Now that I have usupaethified(instigated) the plant, I am expecting my entire complex to be covered with this foliage after the Bogainvillea invasion.
Coming to the overall maintenance of the Bougainvillea, I would say this is an EMG plant. It doesn't expect you to take much care of it. It provides your balcony garden with wonderful colors. If you are in a balcony you would need to prune it a bit so that it does not occupy all the space. I am yet to experiment with the pruning and shaping the plant. Will update later once I get some results after pruning this guy.
In the meanwhile why dont you go to a nursery near you and find out if you can get yourself a Bougainvillea sapling and have some fun.