Last updated on May 20th, 2023 at 06:22 pm

In 1768, a French botanist and naturalist called Philibert Commerson discovered the bougainvillea in Rio de Janeiro. He named it after Louis Antoine, Comte de Bougainville, his shipmate, and friend. He was also the French Navy admiral. 

Though bougainvillea flowers are commonly found now, they are native to Caribbean islands and South American flowers. You will see these vibrant red and pink flowers mostly in warm climates, like Greece, California, Australia, India, etc.

The bougainvillea is a member of the Nyctaginaceae family. Bougainvillea plants can grow up to 40 feet (ca. 12 m) tall, and their vines grow quite quickly too. These plants are useful for decorating the fences and exterior walls of buildings. 

What does the Bougainvillea flower symbolize?

Bougainvillea flower meaning is not limited to one. The plant, with its long vines, and few spikes hidden between delicate blooms, is linked with passion. This is why the bougainvillea is represented on the Lovers Card in traditional Tarot cards. 

The flowers stand for both woeful and joyful passion. It was believed that if you wanted to make your relationship more passionate, you should give a bougainvillea stem to your beloved.

Victorian people believed that these flowers were also a symbol of life experiences and enthusiasm. 

The other Bougainvillea flower meanings are—peace, warmly inviting visitors, and supporting two organizations or individuals to freely enter trading with each other.

All in all, the bougainvillea flower symbolic meanings are:

  • passion
  • liveliness
  • life experience
  • protection
  • spiritual connection
  • peace

Meaning of the Bougainvillea flower colors

White color 

The color white is synonymous with purity. Like any white flower, a white bougainvillea can signify peace, elegance, humility, honesty, and perfection. You can give it to your beloved to express your thoughtfulness and love. White flowers are also given to a respected person to express admiration. You can convey sincere feelings through white bougainvillea bloom.

bougainvillea shubra - Google Search | Bougainvillea colors, Garden vines,  Bougainvillea

Pink color 

Pink is a color for lovers. You can give pink bougainvillea to your lover to show your passionate love. Dark pink flowers like bougainvillea with dark pink leaves stand for appreciation and thankfulness; the light pink ones are symbols of tenderness, admiration, fineness, grace, and confidence. You can give pink bougainvillea to your mother on Mother’s Day or her birthday.

Bougainvillea | Better Homes & Gardens

Purple color 

Purple flowers can be given to show your wonderment at someone’s achievement. It is a very royal color and has been long associated with aristocracy, success, dignity, faith, and refinement. Purple bougainvillea can also mean each of these things.

Bougainvillea Colorful Blossoms - Free photo on Pixabay

Orange color 

A bright color, orange represents enthusiasm, confidence, desire, satisfaction, and passion for life. Orange bougainvillea can also mean strong love and success.

Photo of the bloom of Bougainvillea 'Bengal Orange' posted by TooCoys -

Yellow color 

Yellow bougainvillea look cheerful. Like other yellow flowers, they stand for new beginnings, clarity, and friendship. You can give yellow bougainvillea to show your appreciation to someone. You can give them to any friend, as yellow is a color of friendship. Giving others is a safe choice because not many know yellow stands for jealousy and betrayal.

The Vibrant Bougainvillea – homegardeningph

Red color

This is a courageous color that represents love and passion. The bougainvillea flower and red carry the same meaning – igniting the flame of love and passion. Red bougainvillea is ideal for a romantic partner. You can express how deeply in love you are or attracted to someone by giving deep red bougainvillea.

Interesting facts about the Bougainvillea flower

  • Bougainvillea belongs to the category of approximately 15 vines, shrubs, and small tree species.
  • Papery flowers are bracts, i.e., modified leaves.
  • The real bougainvillea flowers are tiny and white.
  • Bougainvillea is known as ‘Puti Tai Nobiu’ in the United States Territory of Guam, and this phrase means that ‘It hurts to have no boyfriend.’ Bougainvillea is the state flower of this region.
  • It is also Grenada’s national flower, and numerous institutions, hotels, and streets have been named after it. It is also present on the coat of arms.

How to grow Bougainvillea flowers

Bougainvilleas grow like vines or in small shrubs during summer. The stems of these plants are long like spikes, and they get covered with colorful leaves with a paper-like texture. As mentioned, places like South America and Caribbean Islands turn beautiful with these white, golden, pink, etc. blooms.

  1. Plant your bougainvilleas in a sunny spot.
  2. Select a spot with rich, well-drained soil.
  3. Mix in the proper pH level of the soil.
  4. Use only a small amount of water.
  5. Fertilize on a regular basis.

How to care for Bougainvillea flowers

  1. Only water the bougainvillea flower plants when they begin to wilt, and the soil is dry.
  2. In the spring and early summer, fertilize your bougainvillea once a month.
  3. Keep an eye out for dead wood and remove it as you find it.
  4. Save the heavy pruning till after the bougainvillea has blossomed.
  5. To foster thicker, fuller growth, pinch off the fragile, developing tips of young plant stems.

Best time to gift Bougainvillea flowers

Bougainvillea flowers or plants make ideal gifts for different occasions. You can put them in any floral arrangement or bouquet. 

According to the language of flowers, the bougainvillea flower’s meaning is passion. So if you plan to go on a date with the special person in your life, put bougainvillea in a bouquet and give it to them. Even the Victorians believed that giving bougainvillea to your lover means you want to ignite the passion between you two.

The colorful bracts of the bougainvillea plant make any floral gift look bright and stunning, as bougainvillea are also symbols of peace, welcoming visitors, and free trade. So you can also give them inappropriate situations. 

When you give someone flowers, the recipient will decode the message based on the color of the flowers you send.


Bougainvillea’s gorgeous, multicolored bracts brighten up any landscape or flower gift. These paper-thin petals range in hue from red and pink to orange, white, yellow, and purple.

These South American natives represent passion in flower language.

Bougainvillea is a woody, thorny climber that quickly fills the landscape with color and texture in hot, dry climates.

If you want to know and learn more about flowers, we at PansyMaiden can help you. Check out our fun, easy-to-read, and informative flower-related content that you will surely enjoy!