Bouvardia Flower Meaning, Symbolism, Types, and Growing Tips

Bouvardia includes about 50 species of herbaceous perennials that range in height from 1 to 4 feet. These tropical perennials thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11 but must be grown as annuals in temperate regions. They prefer full to partial sun and neutral to acidic soil. Trumpet-shaped flowers range from white and yellow to shades of pink and red and attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Bouvardia flower meaning, their botanical characteristics, popular types, and growing tips at home.

Bouvardia Flower – The Essentials

These showy flowers are native to Central America and Mexico. Bouvardia ‘ternifolia’ grows wild throughout the southwestern United States and blooms from midsummer to fall. According to floriography (the meaning and symbolism of flowers) bouvardia represents enthusiasm or a zest for life.

About Bouvardia

About Bouvardia

Bouvardia Taxonomy

Bouvardia is a member of the Rubiaceae or Madder family which includes the coffee plant as well as common madder. The genus bouvardia includes approximately 50 species. It is a close relative to the lovely gardenia flower.

Botanical Characteristics

These shrub or semi-shrub plants produce prolific blooms from mid-summer to fall that range in color from white and yellow to shades of red and pink. Trumpet-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies and provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators. Bouvardia emits a light fragrance that is more pronounced at night.

Popular Bouvardia Flower Types, Species, and Cultivars

Bouvardia longiflora, B. ternifolia or B. leiantha are the most common species of bouvardia grown as ornamentals or for florist flowers. Also known as the Firecracker Bush or Hummingbird Flower, Bouvardia ‘ternifolia’ is favored for garden growing as its brilliant red flowers create a fiery display of color in the summer sun.

Bouvardia ‘Royal Roza’ is favored for inclusion in floral displays as these delightful pink-red flowers open one at a time creating a long-lasting display in floral bouquets and vases.

Etymological Meaning

Bouvardia earns its name from Charles Bouvard superintendent of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris and physician to King Louis XIII. Bouvard was known for his work with using flowers to create medicines.

What regions are Bouvardia Flowers native to?

Bouvardia is native to Mexico and Central America with the species bouvardia ternifolia growing wild throughout parts of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

When are Bouvardia Flowers in Season?

Bouvardia flowers appear in early to mid-summer and bloom into the fall. The exact blooming time depends on the location and the variety of bouvardia.

Uses and Benefits of Bouvardia Flowers

Uses and Benefits of Bouvardia Flowers
  • Bouvardia is prized as a cut flower or ornamental flower for garden beds. It is often included in wedding arrangements or other special occasion bouquets.
  • Bouvardia can be grown as a houseplant. Look for varieties labeled as houseplants in nurseries and garden centers.
  • It attracts bees and flying insects making it a superb addition to flowerbeds to attract pollinators to summer gardens and fruiting trees and bushes.

Bouvardia Flower Meaning & Symbolism

Bouvardia flowers range in color from creamy whites and yellows to pastel pinks and fiery reds. While the overall flower symbolism for bouvardia is a zest for life, the color of the flower can alter the meaning.

Common Bouvardia Flower Colors and Their Meaning & Symbolism

Common Bouvardia Flower Colors and Their Meaning & Symbolism

White Bouvardia Flower Meaning: 

White represents purity and truth. When used in floral displays, white can represent elegance and modesty.

Red Bouvardia Flower Meaning: 

Red flowers symbolize deep passion, desire, and strength and are often included in Valentine’s Day bouquets.

Yellow Bouvardia Flower Meaning: 

Yellow is the color of the sun and brings with it lightheartedness, happiness, and joy. It can be used as a symbol of friendship, new beginnings, and well wishes.

Pink Bouvardia Flower Meaning: 

Pink represents young love, youth, and innocence. It may symbolize romance when added to wedding or holiday bouquets.

The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of Bouvardia Flowers

Bouvardia flowers are prized by the floral industry because they are readily available throughout the year and because the blooms are long-lasting. Cut flowers last for 2 to 3 weeks in a vase. The shape of the flowers and its evergreen foliage make this an outstanding filler in large floral displays and contrasts nicely with a variety of other shapes and colors.

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Bouvardia Flowers

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Bouvardia Flowers

Bouvardia is an appropriate flower for nearly any occasion, depending on the other flowers in the arrangement. By themselves, they make an exceptional presentation for someone with a zest for life. Consider bouvardia for birthdays, graduations, promotions, or other celebrations of life.

How to Grow and Care for Bouvardia Flowers at Home

How to Grow and Care for Bouvardia Flowers at Home

Bouvardia are easy-to-grow flowers that bring the garden alive with color from early to mid-summer and last into the fall.

What growing zones are suitable for Bouvardia flowers?

Bouvardia thrives in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11 making it ideal for brightening southern gardens. But northerners can enjoy this colorful flower by growing it as an annual.

Where should I plant Bouvardia flowers?

Plant bouvardia flowers in flowerbeds for long-lasting color in the summer. Plant them in the middle of the bed or amongst early blooming perennials to keep the garden alive once early bloomers fade.

Bouvardia also does well in pots or containers on the deck or along the foundation of the home. Choose a pot or container that is at least 3 gallons with adequate drainage holes. Bouvardia needs well-drained soil and will suffer in soggy soil.

Light Considerations

Bouvardia prefers full sun for 6 to 8 hours a day but will tolerate partial shade. Too much shade may hinder blooming and prevent the plant from reaching its full potential.

The Best Soil Mix for Bouvardia Flowers

The Best Soil Mix for house plants

It prefers humus-rich acidic to neutral soil with a pH between 6.1 to 7.3. Amending the soil with a 2- to 3-inch layer of peat moss before planting will help lower the pH of alkaline soil. Organic matter added to the soil also improves aeration, promotes drainage, and provides a source of slow-release nutrients.

Feeding and Fertilizing Bouvarida Flowers

Feed bouvardia with a fertilizer designed for azaleas and other acid-loving plants. Follow the application rate on the container. Bouvardia grown in the ground should be fertilized in the spring, during mid-summer, and again in the fall. Those grown in containers benefit from water-soluble fertilizer every 10 to 14 days throughout the summer.

Watering Bouvardia Flowers

Water your bouvardia once or twice a week depending on the amount of natural rainfall your area receives. As a rule, bouvardia requires 1 to 2 inches of rain a week.

Potting and Planting Bouvardia Flowers

Bouvardias grown in pots or containers require more frequent watering as the soil in containers can dry out quickly in the summer sun. If the soil in your container feels dry to the touch 1-inch below the surface it is time to water your Bouvardia. Container-grown plants may require daily watering.

How to care for fresh cut Bouvardia flowers

These long-lasting flowers make impressive cut flowers.

  1. Cut them in the morning when the flowers are at their freshest. Choose stems with flowers that have just begun to open to extend the length of your blooms.
  2. Fill a vase with tepid water as flowers uptake warm water easily. Remove any leaves that will rest below the water level in the vase. Place the flowers in the vase arranged so flowers are visible from all angles.
  3. Check the water level in the vase daily and refill it to the desired level, If the water looks cloudy, remove the flowers and refill the vase with fresh water.
  4. Recut the stems if they show signs of deteriorating in the water.

Wrap Up

Growing bouvardias in the landscape is more common in the south, but it can make a striking statement in northern gardens too. These tender perennials can be grown in containers and overwintered inside. To overwinter bouvardia, cut the foliage back to a few inches when temperatures drop below 50 degrees in the fall. Move it inside and keep the soil moist during the winter. Although it may go through a period of dormancy, new growth will appear in the spring. Move it back outside in the spring after all danger of frost has passed and daytime temperatures remain in the 60s.

Bouvardia Flower FAQ: 

What does Bouvardia mean?

According to floriography (the meaning and symbolism of flowers) bouvardia represents enthusiasm or a zest for life.

How do you grow Bouvardia?

Bouvardia thrives in USDA pant hardiness zones 9 through 11 making it ideal for brightening southern gardens. But northerners can enjoy this colorful flower by growing it as an annual.

Are Bouvardia flowers poisonous?

Bouvardia flowers are listed on the FDA poisonous plant database and should not be consumed.

Where are Bouvardia flowers native?

The Bouvardia is native to tropical parts of the Americas, including parts of Mexico, Arizona, and Texas.

Petal Republic’s flower and plant guides:

Looking for a particular stem or in need of some inspiration on the best blooms for a certain occasion? Check out Petal Republic’s expert flower guides to Roses, Astrantia, Viburnum, Acanthus, Ranunculus, Lilies, Irises, Southernwood, Borage, Clovers, Freesia, Marjoram, Anemone, Begonia, Orchids, Allium, Carnations, Coreopsis, Gerbera Daisies, Tansy, Gladiolus, and Peonies.  

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