Q. How do I grow and propagate bougainvillea?
It is not easy to grow and successfully propagate bougainvillea in the home, but here is how it's done.
Bougainvillea can be propagated by taking cuttings 6 inches long in spring. First dip the cut ends into hormone rooting powder, if you have it (not directly into the container of course), and then insert them in a moistened mix of equal parts soil and perlite (most potting mixes contain perlite). A propagation case is best; keep it at 75°F in bright filtered light. Without a case, used by commercial growers, the cuttings may not take root. In the case, the roots form in about eight weeks.
Bougainvillea can grow to 6 feet in one season. At least a third of the season's growth should be cut away in early spring. At that time, over-long shoots should be spur-pruned (cut back to leave just 2-3 growth buds on each shoot). Usually bougainvillea loses leaves for a short period in winter.
Bougainvillea (paper flower) are vigorous subtropical woody plants armed with spines. Though normally climbers outdoors in warm climates, they can be trained to keep bushy indoors. Some introduced dwarf-growing varieties remain bushy without special attention.
The plant has decorative papery bracts surrounding small cream-colored flowers produced in spring and summer. A tropical plant, it grows best in sunrooms or conservatories.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service