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Can You Root Bougainvillea Cuttings In Water – Here’s How To Do It!

Everyone has a different plant that they love. For you, you might adore the way a bougainvillea with its brightly colored flowers in shades of purple, orange, white, and yellow. You may have always purchased them but want to try to grow them from cuttings. First, you probably ask, can you root bougainvillea cuttings in water?

You can root bougainvillea cuttings in water. The process is long and may not work, but it is not impossible to do so. You may need to have more of a green thumb than other people to propagate bougainvillea. 

Even though rooting bougainvillea in water is a challenging, long process, it is a fun experience and rewarding if it works. Since bougainvillea is finicky, take some time to read through this article to learn how to root your bougainvillea in water.

Can I Grow Bougainvillea From A Cutting

Bougainvillea can be grown from a cutting, but the best way to grow it is with a root ball.

All plants grow differently, and one of the most difficult to grow is bougainvillea, no matter the method you decide to use.

Rootballs are the best way to start a healthy bougainvillea plant, but it is by no means the only way.

If you consider yourself someone who has a green thumb, then you may be able to try your hand at starting a bougainvillea from a cutting.

Taking a cutting and growing a bougainvillea has more steps than simply planting a root ball, but we’ll cover what you need to do in this article.

How Do You Take Cuttings From Bougainvillea

You will need to take from the stem of the bougainvillea. 

The best time to take a cutting is in the early morning. Even in the summer, it is cooler overnight than during the day.

Cuttings should be kept cool and moist. Therefore, the morning is moist and cool, making your job much easier from the beginning.

Aim to get a stem of about eight inches long for the best chance of growing. 

Once you have the stem, you need to remove all of the leaves except for two at the top of the stem. 

Carefully cut the end of the stem at an angle and scratch away at the lower part of the stem.

While this may seem like extra work, it will actually raise the success rate of propagating bougainvillea in water. Don’t skip this!

Before you root your cuttings in water, you can actually purchase a compound that promotes rooting that will help this entire process. This compound is good for bougainvillea but also other plants that you might be planning to root. 

How To Root Bougainvillea Cuttings In Water

Let’s talk about how to properly root bougainvillea cuttings in water.

Follow these directions and tips carefully to produce the best results. I also recommend doing additional research on your own to understand your bougainvillea. 

Choosing A Vessel

The first thing you need to think about is what kind of container you want to put your bougainvillea in. 

This may or may not be surprising, but you do not need any special cup to start your bougainvillea.

You can choose a small paper cut to start the root in, but here are a few things to consider:

  • Make sure the cup is strong. Since it will have water in it for weeks, the cup could become soft and rip apart.
  • Keep iron powder handy to add to the water in the cup.
  • Watch how much water is in the cup. Don’t let it all evaporate. Add more water if it looks like it’s getting low. 

You can use any other cup as well; this is not very important, so you can use whatever you have on hand.

What To Watch For

The bougainvillea will have signs that it is growing into a healthy plant. 

Here is what to look for as your bougainvillea roots in the water:

  • White dots along the cutting in as early as two weeks
  • Roots as they begin to grow from the cutting
  • Roots that begin to snake around the bottom of the cup
  • New leaves along the cutting

These signs may be small, but they are a hallmark of a healthy plant!

After Transplanting

Once your bougainvillea grows and is large enough to transplant, the work is not over.

While you may feel excited that you’ve appropriately rooted a bougainvillea in water, there are a few other things that you can do to ensure healthy growth. 

It would help if you kept the pot that you transplanted in the same place as the cuttings for a few weeks. Your bougainvillea will not be shocked by the change in temperature and humidity. 

You can also use the water that the plant is rooted in to avoid shocking the plant with fresh water. Slowly add in new freshwater as your plant continues to grow.

How Long Does It Take A Bougainvillea Cuttings To Root In Water

It will take a few months for bougainvillea cuttings to root in water.

Generally speaking, it will take a long time for bougainvillea cuttings to root in water. In fact, it will take bougainvillea longer to root in water than in soil. 

Don’t expect to count down the hours to your bougainvillea cuttings to root. 

Bougainvillea cuttings will take four months or more to start to root, which is longer than most other cuttings.

Since you placed the cuttings in the water and not soil, you should expect to wait six months or more for the bougainvillea to properly root.

Go into this knowing that it could be an arduous process, but the result will be well worth the wait if it is successful!

Can You Cut A Branch Off Of A Bougainvillea And Plant It In Water

You cannot cut a branch off a bougainvillea and plant it successfully. 

A branch is not what you should take when planning to grow a bougainvillea. It sounds like the easiest option when you want to grow a plant from a cutting, but it will not work. 

For bougainvillea, the stem is necessary for the plant to survive because it helps the nutrients travel through the plant and supports the leave.

Taking from the stem of your plant means that there is a greater chance that you will have a “clone” of your original plant that you took the cutting of.

Since you have to wait so long for your bougainvillea to grow, you should take all steps necessary to make sure it grows as nicely as possible. No gardener – professional or hobbyist – wants their time to be wasted!

Happy planting!