Bougainvillea comes in a variety of colors, including red, pink, white, yellow and orange.

How to Do Bougainvillea Cuttings

by M.H. Dyer

A well-behaved vine that climbs gracefully up a fence or arbor, bougainvilla (Bougainvillea spp.) produces huge, papery flowers that reach their peak in midsummer. The plant often continues to bloom through fall and sometimes into winter. With a small trellis for support, bougainvillea is at home in a patio container. Bougainvillea, which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9b through 11, roots easily by planting stem cuttings in summer.

Cut several 2 1/2- to 4-inch stems from an actively growing bougainvillea, using pruners or a sharp knife. The stems should be soft and pliable but firm enough to break with a snap. Remove the leaves from the lower one-half of the stem, leaving only one or two leaves at the top.

Fill a plastic celled planting tray with a well-draining potting mixture, such as half peat and half perlite. Water the mixture until it is evenly moist but not dripping.

Make a hole in the center of each cell with your finger. Dip the end of each cutting in gel or powdered rooting hormone, then place the cuttings in the holes just deep enough to stand upright with the leaves just above, but not touching the potting mixture. Water lightly to settle the mixture around the stems.

Cover the tray with clear plastic wrap. This helps prevent moisture loss. Place the tray in indirect light. Normal room temperatures are fine for rooting.

Remove each stem cutting from its cell when new grow appears, indicating the cuttings have rooted -- usually in five to 10 weeks. Plant the cuttings outdoors the following spring. Alternatively, transplant the new bougainvillea plants into 1-gallon containers and allow them to mature for another year before moving them to their permanent spots.

Items you will need

  • Pruners or sharp knife
  • Celled planting tray
  • Well-draining potting mixture
  • Gel or powdered rooting hormone
  • Clear plastic wrap
  • 1-gallon containers


  • Wear gloves when working with bougainvillea to prevent the thorns from scratching your hands.


About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.

Photo Credits

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