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How to Grow Bouvardia 

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Bouvardia is a subtropical evergreen shrub that bears colorful tube or funnel-shaped flowers. Bouvardia can be grown in containers or in borders in regions where frost does not occur. In cooler regions, Bourvardia is grown as a house plant and set outdoors during the summer.

Bouvrdias showy clusters of tubular flowers can be white or red. They are often fragrant and they make good cut flowers. Bouvardia flowers from late summer until winter.

Bouvardia is a genus of about 30 species native to New Mexico, Arizona, Mexico, and south to Central America.

Get to know Bouvardia 

  • Plant type: Evergreen shrubs 
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 10-12
  • Hardiness: Grow in frost-free or nearly frost-free climates or indoors
  • Height and width: 24 to 36 inches (60-90cm) tall and 12 to 24 inches (30-60cm) wide
  • Foliage Ovate to lance-shaped leaves are opposite or in whorls
  • Flowers: Showy clusters of tubular flowers
  • Bloom time: Late summer to early winter
  • Uses: House plant in cold winter regions; grow in mixed borders in mild winter regiuons
  • Common name: Bouvardia 
  • Botanical name: Bouvardia 
  • Family name: Rubiaceae 
  • Origin: New Mexico, Arizona, Mexico, and south to Central America
Bouvardia ternifolia
Bouvardia ternifolia

Where to plant Bouvardia 

  • Grow Bouvardia outdoors in frost-free regions. Grow them indoors where winters are cold.
  • Grow Bouvarida in full sun where there is midday shade, especially where summers are hot.
  • Grow Bouvardia in bright light indoors; a eastern or southern window is best.
  • Where winters are cold grow them in containers and overwinter them indoors (in a bright spot with temperatures between 50° and 55°F at night).
  • Plant Bouvardia in average to rich, well-drained soil that remains evenly moist.
  • If the soil is poor, grow Bouvardis in tubs or raised beds in rich, fast draining soil mix.

When to plant Bouvardia 

  • Set Bouvardia outdoors where temperatrures do not fall below 55°F at night.
  • Plant Bourvardia outdoors any time of the year; avoid planting when the weather is hot.

Planting and spacing Bouvardia 

  • Space Bouvardia 12 to 24 inches (30-60cm) apart.

How to water and feed Bouvardia 

  • Water Bouvardia regularly during the summer; gradually withold water and keep them nearly dry during the winter.
  • Feed Bouvardia every two weeks when plants are growing and flowering actively. Feed them with a balanced, liquid fertilizer.

Bouvardia care

  • Since young plants bloom best, many gardeners replace Bouvardia annually or every other year.
  • Pot on or top-dress Bouvardia in spring.
  • Prune Bouvardia to maintain shape after the bloom period.
  • Pinch out stem tips to make Bouvardia bushier.

Bouvardia pests and diseases

  • Whiteflies, mealybugs, and spider mites can attack Bouvardia grown indoors.

Bouvardia propagation

  • Take stem cuttings in spring to propagate for garden use or in late summer to overwinter.
  • Provide bottom heat for cuttings root best if given bottom heat. Or take root cuttings in midwinter. 
  • Bouvardia species are rarely grown from seeds, as cultivars do not come true. 

Bouvardia varieties to grow

  • Bouvardia longiflora ‘Albatross’ (B. humboldtii ‘Albatross’). Weak-stemmed plant grows 2 to 3 feet tall; jasmine-scented, 3-inch snow-white blossoms. Cultivar ‘Stephanie’ is more compact and floriferous. 
  • B. ternifolia (B. jacquinii). Grows to 6 feet tall, with unscented, 1-inch red flowers; hardier, easier to grow than  B. longiflora; drought tolerant.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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