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Products > Bougainvillea 'California Gold'
Bougainvillea 'California Gold'
Image of Bougainvillea 'California Gold'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Vine
Family: Nyctaginaceae (Four O¹Clock)
Origin: Brazil (South America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Gold
Bloomtime: Year-round
Synonyms: [B. 'Hawaiian Gold']
Height: Climbing (Vine)
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
Bougainvillea 'California Gold' - A moderately-vigorous large evergreen vine with dark green broadly-ovate pointed leaves that have a slightly wavy margin. It profusely produces its gold yellow bracts all along the entire length of its stems in multiple flushes from late spring through fall and often into winter in mild years with the small white flowers within the bracts. Plant in full sun to bring out the best bright color of the bracts. It is a little more tender than some other varieties and sometimes listed as hardy to only 30 ° F but it weathered 25° F three nights in a row during the January 2007 freeze in Santa Barbara, where it remains evergreen in most near frost-free years. It is also extremely heat tolerant, even in the desert southwest. The yellow bracts of 'California Gold' make this Bougainvillea quite unique and its proven reliability and vigorous growth makes it an excellent garden plant in a full sun in a warm climate garden trained onto a pole, fence, wall or even covering an arbor or a small building. The name for the genus honors the French admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811). Bougainville first visited South American in 1764 on a voyage to settle the Falkland Islands and in 1766 he left on a journey to become the first Frenchman to circumnavigate the globe. On this trip he was accompanied by the botanist Philibert Commerçon, who reportedly named the plant they found 'Bougainvillea' but it was not officially described until 1789 by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu. Jussieu actually misspelled the name as Buginvillea, and this name was not corrected until the 20th century. Further intrigue regarding this plant's discovery is that it may have actually been discovered by Philibert Commerçon's assistant (and possibly his lover) Jeanne Baré, who he had snuck onboard, disguising her as a man. To our knowledge, this cultivar's origins are not documented. It is sometimes listed as cultivar of Bougainvillea x buttiana, which is and old hybrid between Bougainvillea glabra and Bougainvillea peruviana, but not all references agree on this and many of the modern hybrids involve these two species as well as Bougainvillea spectabilis (AKA B. braziliensis). Some also consider this plant synonymous with similar varieties 'Golden Glow', 'Millarii', 'Pretoria' and 'Gold Queen', but descriptions of these varieties differ. It does however appear to be the same as a plant called 'Hawaiian Gold'. The first reference we have found to this plant or at least to one of the synonyms associated with it is in Edwin Menninger's Flowering Vines of the World", (Heartside Press, 1970). Menninger relates the history of many other Bougainvillea cultivars in his book, but does not specifically mention 'California Gold' but does note that 'Golden Glow' was reported from Jamaica in 1949. He describes this plant as having young bracts that are yellow, then turning pale orange and finally pale carmine, while 'California Gold' never really gets any of these orange or red tones. The first reference we found specifically to this cultivar is in the 1967 edition of the Sunset Western Garden Book, and it is also listed as a valid cultivar in Donald P. Watson and Richard A. Criley's publication Bougainvilleas, published by the University of Hawaii in 1973, where they note its vigorous growth habit and rich golden bracts. We first began growing this cultivar in 1981 and though we took a long hiatus (discontinued production in 1994), it has always struck us as a nice plant with unique bract colors, so in 2019 we felt that we needed to once again grow it.  The information about Bougainvillea 'California Gold' displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources we consider reliable. We will also relate those observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others and welcome hearing from anyone who has additional information, particularly when they share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.