Bouvardia

Found Primarily In Arid Regions

Bouvardia, a member of the Rubiaceae family, is a genus of about 30 species of mostly evergreen herbs and small shrubs. Its name stems from Charles Bouvard, who was the personal physician to Louis XIII and in charge of the royal garden in Paris, France. Native to New Mexico, Arizona, Mexico and Central America, some of its varieties are commonly called Scarlet Bouvardia, Firecracker Bush, Trompetilla, Albatross, and Humingbird Flower. In the language of flowers, bouvardia is known for “enthusiasm”, alluding to its delicate scent and feminine appearance. Today hybrids are grown mostly by florists in greenhouses for their distinctive waxy flowers with four stout petals. They are a popular flower for weddings, bouquets and other special occasions.

Available worldwide and year-round, their vase life is about 8 days. Bouvardia is shaped like thin tubes, having branching, erect stems that open at the top into clusters of single or double star-like blooms with four petals in a cross pattern and small green, pointed leaves. A traditional variety, B. humboldti, is perhaps the most beautiful with its opposite glossy green leaves and white fragrant flowers in a center cluster that blooms before winter. Another snow-white variety is B. longiflora (albatross), whose jasmine –scented, 3 -inch blooms grow on a weak-stemmed plant that grows 2-3 feet tall. Other hybrids have blooms in shades of orange, yellow, red, rose or coral, including B. jacquinii (a hardier, easier to grow variety that lacks fragrance) and B. tryhylla (scarlet bouvardia, the first species introduced,in the late 1800’s).

Growing Recommendations - Bouvardia

Bouvardia require a minimum winter temperature of 50 degrees, prefer partial shade and thrive in a mixture of sand, leaf mold and fibrous loamy material. They need regular watering during the growing season and their shoots should be pinched back to encourage maximum flowering. They may be propagated from seed or by cuttings taken during the growing months of March and April.

Photos of Bouvardia

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