Want to be the envy of all your friends and neighbors? Then you should really learn how to grow Bougainvillea, for the most beautiful, eye catching garden around!
What You'll Learn Today
How To Grow Bougainvillea From Cuttings
Taking a cutting from any plant is relatively easy, and it follows a few simple steps, no matter what plant you are going for. Let’s look at how to do this with Bougainvillea:
- Cut between 6 and 8 inches off the bottom of a stem of an existing plant. It is best to cut with a very sharp knife, at an angle.
- Dip the end of the cut stem into rooting hormone or rooting powder (both can be found at a gardening store).
- Place the cutting into a small pot filled with good quality compost.
- Water it in well, making sure the water can drain away, then place a plastic bag over the cutting to keep it warm.
- You should keep your cutting indoors, or at least store it in a greenhouse, until it has decided to grow roots and turn into a plant.
- Leave it alone, watering when the soil dries out, for 3-6months, until it is well established.
This useful article should be able to help you make the most of your Bougainvillea cuttings.
How To Propagate Bougainvillea
Propagating from cuttings
Propagating Bougainvillea is easier than propagating some other types of plant. Bougainvillea is quite forgiving, and as long as you take cuttings from a healthy plant then they should do well.
It is best to take cuttings from Bougainvillea around the flowering time – either during, or just after the flowering has finished.
When you take a cutting from a mature plant, you should always go for an established shoot. Look for a shoot that is not brand new this year, but one that has not been growing for so long that it is woody.
When you have chosen your shoot, look for nodes. These are where the leaves will sprout from, and you should go for a shoot that has between 4 and 6 for best results.
You will want to remove the leaves before you dip the end in the rooting hormone and plant it; this will stop the plant trying to put energy into existing leaves.
Propagating from seed
If you are propagating from your existing Bougainvillea, look for the seed pods. These are small, and grow inside the white flowers, so keep your eyes peeled!
Harvest and dry the pods, then you should easily be able to extract the seeds.
Plant these as you would any other seed – in good compost, with plenty of water and warmth.
How To Root Bougainvillea Cuttings In Water
You can root Bougainvillea in water, but be warned that this is a long, and often unsuccessful, process. If you want to try it, here’s how!
- Unlike taking cuttings from a plant, you are looking for the older, woodier shoots. This prevents them from rotting in the water.
- Place the cuttings in half a cup of water, ensuring that there is a wide opening to the container to allow lots of space.
- After 2 days, when you see the water level dropping, add some diluted iron solution to the container – you should still be able to see the bottom.
- Roots should emerge from the bottoms of the cuttings after 2 months or so – you may see some white dots after 10 days; this is the start.
- When the roots are 2 to 3 inches long (after about 3 months if conditions are right), you should think about potting on your cuttings.
- Place the cutting into well draining soil, and water it thoroughly. Keep an eye on it, watering regularly, until it is established.
Where To Plant Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea, like all plants, has preferences as to where and how it is planted.
Your Bougainvillea plant likes to be in high ground, nowhere near places that can get waterlogged.
They also like a lot of sunlight, so aim to place them where they will receive a minimum of 5-6 hours of natural light per day.
Bougainvillea doesn’t mind a bit of drought, so don’t place them anywhere their roots will sit in water. In fact, they quite like to be dry!
Read also: How To Grow Bougainvillea On A Wall
How To Transplant Bougainvillea
Transplanting Bougainvillea follows the same principles as transplanting any other plant – but Bougainvillea can be fussy, and transplanting it can stress it, so it is important to do it carefully and follow the right procedure.
You may be deciding to move your Bougainvillea from a pot to the ground, or vice versa, or maybe you are moving house and want to take your beautiful blooms with you!
If you can pick a time to transplant, early spring or late autumn are the best times to do it. This means that the plant is more dormant, and should suffer less with the shock of a transplant.
- If you are moving your Bougainvillea from pot to pot, all you need to do is make sure you have a larger pot ready, half filled with compost.
- Take the existing Bougainvillea pot, turn it upside down into your hand, and gently squeeze the bottom of the pot to loosen the root ball.
- The whole pot-shaped compost ball containing the Bougainvillea roots should come out into your hand.
- Place the original Bougainvillea into the new pot (the top should be flush with the level of the pot; if it is too high then remove some of the compost, too low and you should add another layer).
- Pack compost around the gaps in between the original compost and the new pot.
- Water it in well.
- When you are moving a larger, more established Bougainvillea, you will need more tools, and a considerably larger space!
- Unless you are digging up a smaller Bougainvillea, or just placing it in a pot temporarily, you shouldn’t place your ground-dwelling Bougainvillea into a pot. It will have already spread out its roots and got used to having plenty of space.
- Using a gardener’s fork, gently dig down into the soil several inches away from the stem of the Bougainvillea (the further out you go, the less chance you have of damaging the roots).
- Once you see the main stem loosening, dig down into the soil with your hands to find the main root ball.
- Lift this out carefully, digging down deeper if you feel a lot of resistance. You shouldn’t pull on the stem to lift it, as the connection between the roots and the stem can be quite weak in this particular plant.
- Try to replant your Bougainvillea in similar conditions that they were in to start with. Even if adverse soil or sun conditions were what prompted the move, your Bougainvillea may need time to adjust.
- Water it into its new home well, and keep an eye on it for a few weeks until you are sure it has settled in.
This useful video has useful tips from someone who has a lot of experience with these plants, to help you on your journey! And here you can find more tips about your Bougainvillea.