Bougainvillea hybrids

A well-known group of plants from South America that are seldom seen in flower arrangements.
Even so, the dusty pink ‘Natalia’, white-bracted ‘Jennifer Fernie’ and the lovely new ‘Ada’s Joy’ can all add a wonderful dimension to the vase. The same could be said of many other Bougainvilleas. They do require special treatment to ensure that they last in water. Pick stems of mature bracts on mature wood with grey or brown bark. Pluck off all the leaves, cut off the thorns and scrape off all the bark at the base of the stem to a length of some 10 to 12 cm. Hold the scraped stem under water and cut cleanly with sharp pair of secateurs. Then plunge the stem into a container of deep, warm to hot water (no steam should be visible) to which you have added two teaspoons of sugar and one teaspoon of vinegar for every five litres. Leave the stems to stand in this water for a few hours before arranging to allow them to perk up. If stems need to be shortened after the treatment, cut under water again and scrape off more bark. It is well worth the effort to be able to enjoy the beauty of these sub-tropical plants in the interior of the home.
The Gardener