Saturday, October 27, 2012

A leafy white elephant?

You may recall I that I have four potted bougainvilleas that are on threat of dismissal if they don't improve their performance. Third and final warning! I've had them two years and despite a mass of growth, taking up a large part of our small yard, they have been largely devoid of flowers. Could be my fault,  although I have reduced the feed and water to try and shock them into flower. Anyway one is now flowering reasonably, although it seems to be a prostrate cultivar as all the flowers are annoyingly sitting on the paving! Nice orange colour though.

Bougainvillea - probably 'Orange Ice'

One of the others does however have a fascinating albino sport - a couple of almost pure white  shoots with pale pink tints, really rather beautiful, so I have left them to see if they will flower and what the flowers will be like against the white shoots. Albino leaves contain no chlorophyll and so have no ability to manufacture food materials on their own and so rely on their connection to the rest of the plant. What is surprising is that these white shoots are growing more vigorously than the others in the plant.

The albino sport in early September

The same shoots late October, sadly also chewed by caterpillars!
This is the flower on the plant that has sported - could look spectacular against white foliage.

Some garden plants have very pale leaves, soft yellows and lime greens but seem to have enough chlorophyll to survive. I would love to know whether there is any chlorophyll in these bougainvillea shoots as a plant grown from these would be spectacular. If any reader lives in the area and has propagation facilities, you be welcome to have some cuttings and see if they will survive!


  1. Is it in a spot that receives direct sun, or just in a bright spot? No sign of scorch/burning too which is a plus for such a variegated (totally white even) plant. Very nice!

  2. Yes - it gets mid afternoon sunshine but its survived since the fierce temperatures of August and no burn marks so far! Stay tuned - I'll update you as it progresses.