Hawaii in a pot. On the Big Island, you see bougainvillea, orginally from South America, everywhere — climbing through trees, as a hedge or ground cover, as a scraggly survivor fluttering purple flashes in a lava field. In California bougainvillea is easy to grow, usually as a vine, but it's sensitive to hard frosts. A great spot is in a container, where you can provide plenty of sun and winter shelter (under an eave may be enough). Plant bougainvillea in a pot now and you can have a showy display by midsummer. It's best to choose one of the compact varieties such, as 'Singapore Pink', 'Temple Fire' or 'Purple Queen'. When planting, take special care not to break up the root ball — plants are sensitive about this.Botanical name: Bougainvillea, many varietiesUSDA zones: 9 to 11 Water requirement: ModerateLight requirement: Full sunMature size: Vining types can reach 30 feet; compact types, 2 to 6 feet tallGrowing tips: Vines need support to climb; tie branches to a trellis or wall. Prune in spring after the frost. Keep plants bushy by cutting back stringy stems during growing season. For top bloom, keep container soil on the dry side.