Flower of the Week: Bougainvillea

In our weekly series, this time we're dishing on everything you need to know about the lush, tropical flower

Updated 08/04/17

In our new Flower of the Week series, we'll bring you all things flower, from the cost, to the season, to the little details you need to ask your florist. This is your go-to guide for blooms ranging from ranunculi to rose. So take a minute to stop and smell (and read!) every "flower Friday."

This vivid tropical plant is native to coastal Brazil, where a French naturalist discovered it in the 18th century. Bougainvillea is now grown in equatorial climates all over the world, from the Caribbean to Australia (making it the perfect choice for your beachside destination wedding). The wild nature of the rambling vine makes bougainvillea ideal for brides who want to channel a more laid-back, romantic vibe for their bouquet and décor.

Fun fact: The bright petals that we think of as bougainvillea flowers are actually colorful leaves surrounding a tiny white flower at the center.

Photo by Mumu Weddings


Bougainvillea can bloom all year long in tropical climates.

Photo by Savan Photography


Unlike many tropical flowers that have a more structural look, bougainvillea branches by nature tend to be loose and romantic in style. The ruffled, multilayered texture is reminiscent of sweet peas; similarly, bougainvillea works well as a small accent to other flowers in an arrangement or on its own as a statement-making centerpiece.

Photo by Tec Petaja, Flower Arrangement by Honey of a Thousand Flowers

Shelf life:

Because bougainvillea is a tropical plant, it’s at home in hot climates. It still is delicate, however, and the petals will fade if not cared for properly. When kept in water and out of direct sunlight, the cut branches will last for several days.

<p>Bougainvillea Table Garland</p><br><br>

Photo by Mink Photography; Floral Design by Three Petals Floral & Event Design


Corals and hot pinks tend to be the most common hues, but bougainvillea also come in a range of pale pinks, oranges, peach, and deep purple.

Price: $–$$$

The cost of the branches can differ based on where your wedding is located—if sourced locally in a tropical destination, it will be significantly cheaper than if it has to travel (and will look much fresher!).

Photo by Jose Villa

It works well with:

The romantic style of bougainvillea lends itself to other lush blooms like garden roses, peonies, and ranunculi. Because the blossoms tend to be intense in hue and texture, it’s good to use sparingly when combined with lots of other flowers so as not to overwhelm the arrangement. For a simpler look, small clusters of bougainvillea can also be quite pretty grouped in bud vases down the center of a reception table.

Photo by Wedding Artists Collective, Flowers by Pina Cate Designs

Related Stories