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How to Grow Bougainvillea From Cuttings

bougainvillier en fleurs image by MONIQUE POUZET from

Bougainvillea is a tropical plant that should be treated as an annual in colder areas. The plant has tiny white flowers that are barely visible. What is easy to see are the brightly colored bracts around the flowers. Bracts are leaves that take on a different color from other leaves which remain green. Bougainvillea comes in red, bright pink, peach purple and white. This plant grows quickly. Propagating bougainvillea is not difficult and is best done in the spring.

Fill the pots with potting soil. Water until it drains out the drainage holes. Poke a pencil into the soil of the pot to make a hole 2-inches deep.

Open the rooting hormone and place a few tablespoons into a cup. How much depends on how many cuttings you plan on treating to root.

Cut a 4-inch stem of bougainvillea right below a leaf node. Remove any leaves from the bottom 2 inches of stem. Dip 2 inches of the end of the bougainvillea stem into the rooting hormone, making sure the tip is covered with hormone as well. Lightly tap the cutting so the excess falls away.

Place the cutting into the hole. Gently push the soil against the cutting.

Place all the pots or cups on a tray. Cover the tray with the garbage bag and arrange it around the pots and cuttings but not over the cuttings to block the sunlight. The bag retains warmth. Cuttings root more quickly if warm.

Place tray in bright light or sunlight. Cuttings should root between one and three weeks. Gently remove a cutting after 10 days to see if it has rooted. Keep the cuttings moist but not soggy. Don't let them dry out.


Root cuttings in spring.

Rooting cuttings isn't always successful. Root twice as many as you think you'll need. The extras may be given away to friends and neighbors.

Patience is required. Don't be tempted to wiggle the cuttings to see if they've rooted.


Wear a mask if you are rooting more than a few cuttings so you don't breathe the rooting hormone.

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