Flower of the Month for June – Bouvardia

Flower of the Month: Bouvardia

Family: Rubiaceae

Botanical Name: Bouvardia longiflora

The delicate, snow white Bouvardia has long been a bride’s favourite and the curious almost hexagonal, boxy buds create much intrigue along with the gentle gardenia like fragrance it permeates.

As a native flower of Arizona and New Mexico, Bouvardia is grown as small shrubs in greenhouses and available through our Grower of the Month, Five ways Flowers, from September through to June. Read all about our Grower of the Month here.  The Bouvardia blooms have tubular, star-like florets that form a cluster blossom at the end of thin, sometimes woody stems. There can be up to 8 blooms per cluster and they grow to a maximum height of 1.5 metres high and 1 metre wide. The flowers mainly come in pink, red and white and are excellent cut flowers, lasting between 14-20 days.

Bouvardia, until only recently, were not common flowers. They are named after Charles Bourvard, 1572-1658, physician to Louis XIII and superintendent of the Royal Gardens in Paris. Bouvardia is often used as an accent flower to create interest and texture in floral arrangements. They are best displayed in a clear vase as the Bouvardia does not absorb water well from floral foam due to their tinder like stems.

Bouvardia can also be used as a “focal” flower in hand-tied bridal bouquets. They can be used with a modern twist in combination with calla lily and foliage or bundled with roses, lisianthus and cottage varieties for a feminine, vintage style bouquet.

Fun Facts

• This plant was virtually forgotten from the 1800s until a Dutch breeder began developing a dwarfed variety to be used as a houseplant in 1997.

• Bouvardias are related to gardenias.

• Common names for this plant include: firecracker bush, trumpetellia and hummingbird flower.

• The name Bouvardia was named for Charles bouvard, the personal physician to King Louis XIII of France and the director of the Jardin de Plantes, a major botanical garden in Franc.

• As a garden plant, this colourful shrub attracts bee, birds and butterflies!

• Bouvardias are said to represent enthusiasm; they would be the perfect gifts for those who have a “zest for life.”

• The plant can live up to 10 years.

Images (from left to right): Bridal bouquet of Bouvardia mixed with freesia and roses || Dahlias, Veronica and Bouvardia centrepieces








1. Remove sleeving in order to prevent condensation which leads to rotting. Do not remove the rubber bands holding the flowers together in a bunch.

2. Fill containers with at least 4 inches of fresh, cool water.

3. Add floral food to prevent bacteria from growing in the water and to give added nutrients to the Bouvardia flowers.

4. Remove any leaves that fall below the water line. Leaves will mould or rot and cause bacteria to form and shorten the flower’s life.

5. Using sharp scissors or a knife, cut the stems under running water diagonally approximately one inch from each stem’s bottom edge.

6. Immediately after cutting, place the stems in the prepared water.

7. Allow flowers at least 8 hours to hydrate well and for conditioning before arranging.

8. Keep flowers away from direct sunlight, drafts or excessive heat.

9. Change water every 24 to 48 hours or when the water becomes cloudy to keep flowers fresh.

Remember that exposing flowers to warm environments (outside, a hot room, etc) will help the flowers to bloom, and storing your Bouvardia flowers in a cooler environment will slow down the opening process. Assure that your Bouvardia flowers have sufficient water. The flowers will drink an exceptionally large amount of water upon arrival.


1. Prepare a clean container and fill it with warm water and a flower preservative.

2. Remove all foliage on stem that would be below the water line in the container.

3. Cut an inch from the flower stems, preferably under water, at an angle so that the flower stems do not rest on the bottom of the container.

4. Display in a cool location, out of direct sunlight and away from air vents. Avoid excessively hot or cold areas.

5. Check water level daily to make sure container is full and add warm water as needed.

6. Remove any damaged or dying foliage or flowers.

7. Recut 1 inch from flower stems every 4 to 5 days to maintain water uptake( make sure the cut is angled and not flat so the flower stems do not rest on the bottom of the vase.)