transplanting bougainvillea cuttings

sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)March 21, 2006

This winter strong wind knocked off a branch of my royal purple bougainvillea. I cut it into a few pieces and stuck it in the large container with the mother plant -not really expecting them to root. I thought they were probably dead by now, but when I went to yank them outI have discovered that they have small leaves. My question is when do I put them in their own pots?

I dont want them to stay in with the mom plant too long because the roots will grow into hers and bougainvillea roots are fragile. However, I dont know if the new ones are ready to be moved. How big do the leaves need to be to move them? I don't think I should pull on the cuttings (to check if rooted) because of their fragile roots and they are still little... any advice?


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Sjn, I'd remove when the roots are about 3" longer since you don't want them tangling w/mom. For a fuller plant, plant all the cuttings in one pot. A reasonable size, but not too large since roots are young. Plant in a well-draining soil since Bougs do not like wet feet. Place in a bright area out of direct sun, at least until plant is established. Toni

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 12:16AM
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How long did it take to root your bougainvillea? I took a cutting and put it in a glass of water where it has been for 4 weeks. It still flowering and looks fine but absolutely no indication of any roots or nubbies at all. I want to take more cuttings to share but I really would prefer to send them out rooted! Anyone have suggestions on a better (or faster way) to root them?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 9:54AM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

Thanks I will pot em up this week then. I think it was late November when I put the cuttings in. I didnt use rooting hormone or anything (prob would have been faster if I did)they were woody type cuttings, and it is humid here. I just wanted to save the branch and make babies if I could lol. I just noticed the leaves so I dont know how long it actually took. This plant has been out all winter-no heat except the night it got down to 28F I took pity and brought Everything in! They do root faster with heat. I didnt know you could water root them though. If it works let me know I definitely want to try it. I recently tried rooting a rainbow bougie with rooting hormone in soil, that was about 3 weeks ago and the branch has started the new leaves but no roots yet. They are slow.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 3:12PM
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Thanks Sultry,
I'm not sure you can root in water either! I just popped it in there and figured let's see what happens. I've been watching the stem to make sure it doesn't suddenly go mushy. Well, it does sound like they take a long time if your one from November is just coming along now. I think I will take some more cuttings and try them in soil mix with some rotting hormone, too, just to be on the safer side!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 9:03PM
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I don't know if this is true, but someone told me once that rooting in water doesn't produce true roots. The plant still must make "dirt" roots after it is planted. For that reason, I have stopped rooting in water and only use soil. I was also told to get at least 3 leaf knodes into the soil to root. If the end starts to rot, there is a good chance one of the other knodes is rooting. :)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 7:48AM
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Hi Katkin,

Thanks for the info. I think you are right. I kind of remember hearing something about water - rooted roots being more brittle or something, too. I just snipped a cutting and figured I'd give it a try and popped it into a glass of water until I got some more vermiculite or seed starting mix....and well, here we are weeks later and still nothing. I want to try again with the soil method. I don't remember if it was you or JoanMary who was telling me that even in FL we need to cover cuttings to create a greenhouse effect over the cutting. I'm trying that with the yesterday, today and tomorrow I got from JoanMary now. It's lost all it' leaves but it's still green so I'm hoping only good things are happening underground. Do you root a lot of cuttings? Any other hints to help increase my luck? :)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 1:25PM
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Here's what I did: I took end cuttings about 3" long. I stripped off all but 2 or 3 leaves at the ends. Dipped each cutting in rooting hormone powder and stuck them into regular Miracle Gro potting mix in 3" pots. Covered with a ziploc plastic baggie and put outside where it got late afternoon sun for about 2 hours but shade the rest of the day. I did this with 3 cuttings and 2 of the 3 had lots of new leaves after only 3 weeks. I have not pulled them up to check for roots. I think I will just cut out the bottoms of the pots and pot each one in a 6" pot. Can I assume that since they have sprouted loads of new leaves that they must have rooted as well?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 2:11PM
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One thing, I've read in several books, when you take a cutting, take a nice, healthy shoot without flowers. I've talked to ppl who rooted their bougs in water, but the shoots were w/o flowers..they cut a 3" piece, stuck in water, and changed water every day to every second day. Toni

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 11:47AM
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Just an update. I repotted my 2 cuttings today and was amazed to find that the roots have almost filled the 3" pots! I guess the rooting hormone did its job. This was amazingly fast, probably a month at the most. Good luck to those of you trying to root cuttings. If all else fails, try the method I posted was so easy and fast!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 11:36AM
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I'm going to keep trying! Hopefully I'll be successful soon with all your good hints!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 12:32PM
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I took a cutting about 6 inches, and it had flowers on it. I cut the flowers off and the leaves off of the bottom 4 inches. I lightly scraped the bottom of the cutting and dipped it in rooting hormone. Wrapped the bottom of the cutting with paper towels and stuck that in a shot glass. Filled the glass with water and put it in a zip lock bag in the window sill. 4 Weeks later there were roots all in the shot glass. Planted it and new growth is shooting up everywhere. I tried that method again and it is working.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 3:33PM
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flossieann(GA 8a)

I took the advice you guys are so generously giving and have potted three cuttings about 3 inches long with rooting hormone, placed the pot in a baggie and put it in the window. That was a week ago and so far all I see is condensation, but the cuttings are still a really good color. Question: Should I put the baggie outside? It's 95 to 100 degrees here, seems to me it would fry. My tomatoes have already fried! Anybody know?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 6:46PM
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wanda662(Stuart, Fl)

Flossieann, I wouldn't put your cuttings in full sun, like you said they would fry. Maybe morning sun and then shade the rest of the day.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 8:53AM
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If I use zone9dan's suggestion of putting cuttings in a ziploc bag in a window, should I zip the bag shut or leave it open?
Thank you very much in advance!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 12:18PM
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flossieann(GA 8a)

Close the bag Jamesinlafayette, the object is to create a tiny hothouse. With the bag closed the cuttings will live off their own moisture and create a cycle where the moisture will form at the top of the bag and then drop back onto the cuttings,it then recycles thru the cuttings and the whole thing starts again. The heat and moisture encourage root growth and in a few weeks you should have enough roots to allow the cuttings to live outside their little hot house and that's when you take them out and put them in potting soil and viola, you have a new plant.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 10:11PM
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I had to severely trim my Bougainvillea yesterday to allow the replacement of my AC outside unit. Can I still get cuttings from the trimmings and root them for future plants. My plant is over 10 feet tall and spread wide. I left the trimmings in the shade.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 12:54PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

Since I rooted those initial cuttings in 2006, I have routinely been rooting bougainvillea cuttings in the fall. I usually just take semi hard wood cuttings (hard brown wood works well too) about 10 inches long and stick them in with a potted plant or something that I am putting in the greenhouse that I am not going to be watering too often. Seems to work out really well. In the spring it is rooted and I just re pot the plant and take out the rooted bougie cutting and put it where I want to. I think they do not like a lot of water when they are first rooting in soil. I get rot when I water them too often during the winter when they are rooting.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 1:46PM
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Seeing leaves on cuttings does not mean that you have roots. I thought that to when I started to see new small leaves, and when I removed them, there were no roots. Maybe it would root if I left them in longer..but I can't understand why new leaves appear prior to roots. Shouldn't it be the other way around? LOL

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 10:43AM
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I love the flowers but hate the thorns on the older branches. Have to be careful of infections.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2014 at 9:51PM
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