From the Sperry Garden – June, 2008

This wonderful ‘Raspberry Ice’ bougainvillea has occupied this same spot in our landscape for the past 20 years.  Every spring it returns to its post. Every late fall, it makes the trip back into my greenhouse. 

During those years, two things have happened only two times each.  First, I bought this plant in a hanging basket.  I potted it into a large ceramic bowl almost immediately, and then I repotted it a couple of years ago, partially to give it a slightly larger container, but just as importantly, to give it fresh soil.

The other thing that has happened only twice is that the plant has produced its raspberry-colored floral bracts.  The first was the year I bought it, and the second was when a cluster of bracts formed a couple of years ago.

I grow this wonderful tropical strictly for its foliage.  The variegation brightens up its part of my garden from April into early October. I’ll take that over flowers anytime!

But, what’s with those leaves that are solid yellow?  Could they be propagated to produce a plant that was even more striking?  The answer is "No."  They are tissues that have mutated (chimeras).  They lack chlorophyll, and they wouldn’t be able to exist on their own.  Twigs like these appear every year.  They eventually weaken and start to turn brown.  I trim them out when that happens.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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