Bright purple, red, white, orange and pink, the bougainvillea colors in Hawaii are unforgettable. They border the highways and add bursts of color to yards, public spaces, beaches and rugged terrain.
They even seem to thrive in fields of lava, which gives a colorful contrast with the black rock and other tropical plants and trees. With deep green leaves, the bracts (the leaf-like structures just below the flower) offer the bursts of color. If you look closely, you will see a tiny white flower inside.
They are most impressive in mass plantings, hedges or barriers and seem to flower the most from September through late spring. Some years we have noticed that they seem to be more vibrant than other years, most likely depending on rainfall as they thrive in slightly dry conditions.
For scent, plumeria is one of my favorite flowers in Hawaii, but when it comes to bursts of beautiful color, bougainvillea never disappoints.