Bouvardia ternifolia is a member of the genus bouvardia, and the rubiaceae family. This genus is comprised of 30 or so flowering plants that live in hot and humid climates.
Some common names for this plant include the hummingbird flower, the firecracker bush, or the trumpetellia. The plant earns these nicknames because it greatly attracts hummingbird species, its flowers explode into a flurry of color like a firecracker, and the flowers themselves are shaped like little trumpets!
These are low maintenance plants that will keep some color during the long winter months (as long as temperatures don’t dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit) and they can even live up to ten years! That is one impressive perennial.
The bouvardia plant got its name to honor a man named Charles Bouvard. Not only was this person the personal physician to Louis XIII, but he was the superintendent to the Jardin du Roi in Paris in the late 1500’s.
Consider yourself lucky if you live in a place that has the proper climate to help support the beautiful trumpet flower plant. But if you don’t, never fear! We have an awesome list of flowering plants from all over the world, and we’re sure you’ll find the perfect candidate for your garden or apartment window.
What do Bouvardia Plants Look Like?
Bouvardia flowers are terminal, and they grow in clusters containing many individual tubular flowers. Each flower corolla is a large tube that meets at an opening contains 4 separate lobes (which appear as being petals, but it is all one structure).
These flowers are very fragrant and do a great job of attracting pollinators like bees and hummingbirds. They bloom in early summer and stay in bloom all the way through to mid-winter in very warm regions. Flowers can be either red, pink, yellow, or white depending on the plant variety.
Bouvardia plants are small shrub like green guys that can grow anywhere between 0.6 and 1.5 meters tall in maturity. It is a very rounded shrub with thin stems and dense foliage.
Bouvardia foliage is evergreen, meaning that leaves will remain green and persist all year long, regardless of the time of year. Planting an evergreen shrub on your property will ensure there are pops of color in your garden all year long.
A leaf is a dark green color. They are arranged either in opposite pairs of in whorls of 3-5 along a stem. They are either ovate or lanceolate in shape, and are 3-11cm in length.
How do Bouvardia Plants Reproduce?
This flowering plant reproduces through cross-pollination. Pollinators like bees, wasps, moths, and hummingbirds are all very attracted to the nectar of bouvardia flowers and bring the pollen of one flower to another.
Once fertilization is successful, the plant will produce seeds in a fruity capsule. These will drop in autumn and remain in the soil for the winter season, where they will germinate the following spring.
Where do Bouvardia Plants Grow?
The bouvardia plant is native to both Mexico and the most tropical regions of The United States, in states like Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. They prefer to grow in locations the experience high humidity, high heat, and plenty of precipitation. They can be found growing in tropical America, in USDA growing zones 9 through 11.
What are the Growing Conditions of Bouvardia Plants?
If you’re a person who is in search of a plant that will attract beautiful little pollinators to your property, the bouvardia might be the winner. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert gardener to do it right. You can even get a seedling from a nursery to make for super easy planting.
Following these simple planting tips could enable these trumpet shaped flowers to be the next splash of color on your property or as potted plants.
The main condition that bouvardia plants require is that their soil be very well drained. They can exist in many different soil types, but prefer sandy soil or clay loam soil.
Bouvardia plants prefer to exist in full sun conditions, though they are able to tolerate partial shade. When choosing a planting spot in your garden, look for an area that has the longest amount of direct sunlight!
Another main requirement of this plant is their water level. They really like to have moist soil. It is essential that their soil does not feel dry, as their are rather drought intolerant.
These plants should be watered far more frequently in the summer, but can be water less frequently in the winter. Watering this plant consistently is one of the major priorities for a healthy plant.
These plants prefer to live in regions that have a mean annual temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Their flowers are capable of remaining in bloom all winter if the local temperature is above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. They will not perform well if they are subjected to many days of frost.
Bouvardias are a plant that can be fertilized rather regularly. A general purpose fertilizer will do just fine, and it can be applied every 3-4 weeks during the growing and blooming season – usually from early spring to late spring.
Bouvardias tend to grow in rather attractive shapes naturally, and don’t necessarily need to be pruned, unless there is excessive and unruly growth. Ensure to reserve pruning for any season except for winter! This could effect the success of the blooming season the following spring.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to deadhead your bouvardia! By removing the flower heads near the end of the blooming season, it will simply encourage another bloom cycle!
Bouvardia plants are rather intolerant of both drought conditions and flooding conditions. Otherwise, they are very easy to care for. These plants are susceptible to root rot as well, so ensure that their growing environment – whether it be in your garden or in a pot indoors – is very well drained.
Some common pests that affect this plant are the whitefly, mites, mealybugs, and aphid infestations.
How are Bouvardia Plants Used?
As mentioned a couple of times in the article so far, we can’t emphasize enough just how much pollinators like bees, wasps, moths, and hummingbirds truly love paying a visit to a beautifully trumpet-shaped bouvardia flower!
Because of their lovely flowers and attractive scent, bouvardia plants are a very popular ornamental specimen. They can be grown outdoors as a centrepiece plant in tropical regions, or they can provide some ornately sublime flora as a houseplant as well. They’ve also been used quite a bit as part of wedding bouquets as well!