A woody, spiny plant that originates in subtropical Brazil, paper Flower needs quite high levels of both warmth and light in order to flourish. It is a vigorous grower, and regular pruning and training will keep it smaller and more bushy.
Given good conditions, it will produce clusters of 10—20 vividly colored bracts (which surround the inconspicuous cream flowers) in shades of white, pink, red, or purple, throughout spring and summer. Varieties include: B.g. ‘Magnifica,’ with vivid purple bracts; B.g. ‘Sanderiaria,’ with long-lasting, magenta bracts; and B.g. ‘Harrisii,’ which has gray-green leaves, splashed with cream.
Size: Height to 10 ft. (5 m).
Light: Direct sunlight.
Temperature: Not less than 50°F (10°C) in winter.
Moisture: Keep the soil mix thoroughly moist from spring to fall; during the winter apply only enough water to prevent the soil mix from drying out.
Feeding: Use standard liquid fertilizer every two weeks in spring and summer.
Propagation: Take tip cuttings, 6 in. (15 cm) long, in spring and place in a heated propagator. Rooting should take 6—8 weeks.
Special needs: Leaf loss in winter is normal, but at any other time it indicates that growing conditions are not ideal. To reduce excessive growth, cut long shoots back to 2—3 buds in early spring, and reduce the rest of the growth by one-third.