Gardeners who enjoy their bougainvillea shrubs may seek to add even more of these beautiful and showy shrubs to a home landscape. It is a simple process to propagate a bougainvillea bush by taking a slip from the bush. Select a soft, new stem in the beginning of the growing season or a semisoft cutting later in the season from stems that were new in the spring. Within a few weeks to a few months (depending upon the cutting you selected), the cutting will root and begin to grow into a new bougainvillea shrub.
Use the pruning shears to take a slip from the bougainvillea in the spring. Cut a 2-inch-long stem with at least two pairs of leaves growing on the end of the stem. Trim off the tip of the stem without removing the leaves (if you wish) to encourage new root growth.
Alternatively, cut a semi-soft cutting in the middle of the summer. Choose a stem with a firm bottom and a tender tip that is still actively growing. Make the cutting between 2 and 4 inches long, and trim away any stems growing along the sides. Cut away a ½-inch-long notch on the bottom of the stem to encourage rooting.
Fill the planting container to the top with potting soil. Spray the surface of the potting soil with the spray bottle to moisten the soil evenly.
Insert the soft stem into the potting soil up to the point of the lowest leaves.
For the semisoft cutting, dip the bottom end of the cutting into the rooting hormone, and then insert the stem into the potting soil to a depth of at least 2 inches.
Cover the container with the plastic bag, attaching the bag to the rim of the container with the rubber band.
Keep the container in a warm environment (between 60 and 70 degrees F), and keep the soil evenly moist. Watch for rooting to occur within six weeks with the soft stem and within two to three months with the semisoft cutting.