Santa Rita, a very beautiful plant

Pretty as few, the Santa Rita or Bougainvillea is a wonderful shrub to have in the garden given its colorful flowering, which begins in spring and continues until fall. This is how it offers at least 6 months of intense flowers that catch the eye for their beauty.

This plant grows in full sun but needs a soil that is not too humid because then it begins to lose its leaves. It is a warm climate plant so it suffers the consequences of the cold and it is as if the temperature drops below 10 degrees the bush dies.

Origin and characteristics of the Santa Rita

Bougainvillea is a plant that blooms in spring

Because Santa Rita is a climbing plant it is ideal for decorating walls and pergolas, adding color and joy to the garden. It belongs to the genus Bougainvillea, so another of the names it receives is that of bougainvillea or bougainvillea. It grows in tropical and subtropical South America.

It reaches a height of 1 to 12 meters, but for that it needs support to climb; otherwise it will behave creepy. In addition, depending on its place of origin and the evolution it has had, as well as the climate in the area where it is grown, it can be evergreen, semi-deciduous or deciduous.

For example, the species glabrous bougainvilleawhich is one of the most cultivated in Spain, it is semi-deciduous, but in climates where temperatures drop below 5ºC it runs out of its foliage; And it will only have it again if the winter is mild, since it only supports very weak and occasional frosts.

When does bougainvillea flower?

Its flowering season comprises spring and summer. If temperatures are warm, it will continue to bloom until fall. These flowers are grouped in inflorescences, very numerous and dense. Depending on the variety, they can be white, orange, pink, red or lilac.

There is a very curious thing that is important to know and that is that what we think are petals, are actually bracts. Bracts are a type of leaf that performs the function of petals, that is, to attract pollinators, which is why they are so striking.

How to make bougainvillea bloom?

Although we will see its care in detail below, it is time to focus specifically on getting it to flourish. For it, what we will do is ensure that it has enough space to grow, and it will also be highly recommended to fertilize it with a fertilizer that stimulates flower production. This must be rich in phosphorus, which is a macro-nutrient (or essential nutrients) that contributes to flowering, especially phosphorus.

It will be applied throughout the season, following the indications that can be read on the container, since it is very important to take the right dose. If we take “by eye”, we could make the mistake of exceeding the recommended dose, and that would cause problems for the bougainvillea, such as the death of the roots first, and the branches later.

How many types of bougainvillea are there?

It is estimated that there are about 34 different species of bougainvilleabut only a few are chosen for gardens and terraces. Do you want to know what they are? Check out:

glabrous bougainvillea

Bougainvillea glabra is the minor bougainvillea

The glabrous bougainvillea It is a native species of Brazil well known for its spectacular floweringbut also because of the size it reaches: 10 meters. Its leaves are semi-deciduous and small, so it can be used both as a small shrub and as a bonsai.

Bougainvillea ‘Mini Thai’

It is a cultivar of Bougainvillea glabraBut Unlike this one, it has a shrubby appearance, or even a small tree. It is very interesting to grow it in a pot, in gardens such as a low hedge. Of course, depending on the climate, it can lose its leaves, or keep them if there is no frost.

Bougainvillea ‘Sanderiana’

Bougainvillea sanderiana is small

It is a variety of glabrous bougainvillea. Its scientific name is Bougainvillea glabra var Sanderiana. It is very similar, but its flowers are only lilac, more or less dark. For the rest, it is a large plant, ideal for covering walls and walls.

A spectacular bougainvillea

Bougainvillea spèctabilis is a slow-growing climber

The A spectacular bougainvillea It is an evergreen plant (although it loses its leaves if it is cold) that reaches 10 meters even if it has support. It is native to Brazil, and produces flowers of a wide variety of colorssuch as red, pink, beige or white.

What care does bougainvillea need?

It is a very easy to care plant that does not require a great deal of maintenance, it is enough to point it with a support because it does not grip itself like the climbers. Of course, it is necessary to know that it does not grow well in pots since it needs space, but that does not mean that it is impossible to grow it in one. Let’s see how it is cared for:


The bougainvillea or Santa Rita it has to be located in a sunny place, but where it can have the stems in semi-shade / shade. For example, it could be placed over an archway set in a path; thus, it would be herself, with her leaves, that would shade her own stems.

Another option would be to attach it to a column placed where there are many short or medium-height plants, such as rose bushes or hibiscus. In this situation, it would be these plants that would protect the stems of the Santa Rita.

Soil or substrate

Bougainvilleas are showy flowering shrubs

  • the garden: Bougainvillea is not too demanding, but we recommend that it be planted in soils that, in addition to being rich in nutrients, have a good capacity to drain water. And it is that it does not tolerate waterlogging.
  • Flower pot: can be planted in one that has drainage holes, with universal substrate (on sale here!) or coconut fiber (for sale here!).

Irrigation and fertilizer

It must be watered in such a way that the soil or substrate is moist, not waterlogged. Ideally, you should use rainwater, but if this is not possible, you can use low-lime water.

Moreover, it is advisable to pay it in spring and summer; not only to get it to flower but also to make the Bougainvillea perfect. For example, guano is highly recommended (for sale here!), or chicken manure (dry) for its nutritional properties.

When is bougainvillea planted?

Bougainvillea it is planted in the garden as soon as the temperatures remain above 15ºC; that is to say, in spring. It is necessary to wait as long as it takes until the season settles down, as we are talking about a cold sensitive plant.

In case of having it in a pot, we will transplant it every 3 or 4 years, also in spring.


You don’t need much. In general, you just have to remove:

  • old, broken, or diseased stems
  • stems that criss-cross (and only if you don’t like the look)

And those that grow too much have to be cut as well.


The main plague that affects them is cottony mealybugwhich is noticeable by forming a white fuzz behind the leaves. A good way to remove it is by cleaning with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol, or by sprinkling diatomaceous earth (on sale here!).

Other minor pests are White fly, aphids and mites such as Red spider. All of them are also eliminated with the products mentioned above.


The Santa Rita multiplies by semi-woody cuttings in summer and woody or hard cuttings in spring or autumn. They must be about 40 centimeters long, and planted in pots with vermiculite (for sale here!) after having impregnated the base of the stem with rooting hormones (for sale here!).


Resists weak frosts up to -3ºC.

Uses of bougainvillea

The Santa Rita It is used mainly in gardens, to cover lattices, walls, walls, etc.. But it is also used for its medicinal properties in its places of origin. The bracts – remember that they are leaves that look like petals – are those that are consumed to benefit from them in cases of asthma, cough or other respiratory problems.

Where to buy?

If you want to have a plant, we recommend you buy it from here:

Santa Rita, a very beautiful plant

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