With winter here many plants in Southwest Florida are in bloom, including an Outside Productions favorite, ‘Helen Johnson’ Bougainvillea. Named after Helen Johnson, the first female licensed as a landscape architect in Florida, this low-lying variety of Bougainvillea features blooms on and off all year. Helen Johnson began her career in landscape architecture at the age of 12 when she worked at the Everglades Nursery. From there she worked for Thomas and Mina Edison as their landscape designer. The ‘Helen Johnson’ cultivar was hybridized by the Everglades Nursery and features smaller thorns, dought, cold, and salt-tolerance. Another unique feature of this variety of Bougainvillea is the height, which can be around 3′ when trimmed. Unlike “Barbara Karst’ this variety is typically used as a shrub or groundcover and can be used as a border. The plant color can range in color from a purple-pink to a pink-orange shade. The actual flower is the small white blossom inside the colorful flower bracts.
‘Helen Johnson’ Bougainvillea works well as a border due to its low-lying form.