How to Root Bougainvillea


Bougainvilleas, heat-loving tropical plants, require lots of direct sunlight for best performance. In warm climates they provide brilliant blooming ornamental plants in the landscape. Gardeners in cooler regions grow bougainvillea as indoor container plants or as annuals. These plants propagate readily. To root bougainvillea, take softwood cuttings in May or early in June. The cuttings should develop strong root systems by August.

Step 1

Choose a handsome, healthy bougainvillea to take cuttings from. Select unblemished stems with young leaves at their tips from this year's growth. You should be able to puncture the bark easily with your fingernail.

Step 2

Cut 2 to 3 inches of the stem from the plant with a clean, sharp knife. Keep the cutting moist.

Step 3

Fill a 3-inch pot with equal parts sand and peat moss. Set the pot in a shallow container of water until the soil surface feels moist. Remove the pot from the water and allow it to drain for a couple of hours.

Step 4

Dampen the bougainvillea cutting tip up to the lowest leaves. Dip it in rooting hormone. Poke a hole in the center of the soil and plant the cutting. The surface of the soil should be just below the bottom set of leaves. Pinch off the top set of leaves.

Step 5

Cover the cutting with a plastic sandwich bag to provide humidity. Set it in a warm spot out of direct sun. The top of your refrigerator or above a hot water heater are good locations.

Step 6

Water the cutting only enough to keep it from drying out. The soil should be uniformly moist but not soggy or wet. Your bougainvillea cutting should root in about 4 to 6 weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean, sharp knife
  • 3-inch pot
  • Sand
  • Peat moss
  • Rooting hormone
  • Plastic sandwich bag


  • Arca Max Publishing: Gardening Q&A: Rooting Bougainvillea Cuttings
  • Central Texas Gardening: Bougainvillea Information by Gordon Braswell

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M University: Growing Bougainvilleas
Keywords: bougainvillea cuttings, propagate bougainvillea, rooting plants

About this Author

Axl J. Amistaadt began as a part-time amateur freelance writer in 1985, turned professional in 2005, and became a full-time writer in 2007. Amistaadt’s major focus is publishing material for GardenGuides. Areas of expertise include home gardening, horticulture, alternative and home remedies, pets, wildlife, handcrafts, cooking, and juvenile science experiments.