A favorite dwarf Bougainvillea variety, 'Helen Johnson' is an evergreen shrub or vine with clusters of bright pink bracts surrounding tiny white flowers. Emerging coppery orange, the bracts mature to bold pink with a hint of purple, giving it a lovely bicolored look. Blooming periodically throughout the year in warm winter areas, and from summer to fall elsewhere, the colorful blossoms give way to small inconspicuous fruits, 1/2 in. long (1 cm). The flowers are borne on stems clad with sharp spines and small, pointed, small, dark green leaves. This cultivar is ideal for use as groundcover, trained in a bush form and for small gardens.
- Slow growing, this Bougainvillea grows as high and wide as 2-3 ft. (60-90 cm).
- Thrives in full sun or light shade, in acid, well-drained soils. Bougainvillea tolerates hot, dry locations fairly well, but dislikes constantly wet soils. Good drought tolerance once established, but will look better if watered during dry spells. Water freely in summer and sparingly in the winter. Fertilize every two weeks during the growing season.
- Excellent choice for mass plantings, as specimen plants, wall-side borders, groundcovers for banks, in rock gardens and containers. Can also be espaliered or trained on a standard or grown in a large basket.
- Deer resistant with a good salt spray tolerance. While it can be grown near the shore, some light protection should be provided.
- Regular pruning may be required to keep inbounds or shape the plant. Always prune this plant immediately after flowering. Be aware that repetitive pruning may reduce flowering as this plant flowers on new growth. Pinching the tips of new growth will encourage branching.
- Cuttings 4-6 in. long (10-15 cm), put under mist, will usually root in 4 to 6 weeks.