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Rooting Bougainvillea

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
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by msgvb on August 15, 2005 12:00 AM
my girlfriend got a couple of huge bougainvilleas at a local nursery a couple of weeks ago. the pots were pretty small and they were spreading sideways; not very flattering, so I cut them back. I'm hoping they'll grow upwards a little bit more now from the reduction in weight, and that they'll sprout two new buds at least where the cut was made.

I just repotted them last night in slightly larger pots using a well draining mix of Scott's peat based potting soil, fine pine bark conditioner and a little coarse sand. (I have the scars to prove it. have you seen the thorns on these things?!? they're like that basilisk tooth Harry Potter had stuck in his arm in that one movie.)

they weren't taking water prior to breaking up the root mass a little, and upon repotting, even though I'd just watered them the night before, the root ball was pretty light, dry & spongy. I read that they have a fragile root system and that the root mass shouldn't be disturbed upon repotting, but I figured they weren't getting enough saturation anyway, so...

okay, so here are my questions:
I'm reading on about rooting cuttings, and the guy says a sub-terminal cutting works best. what's sub-terminal mean?

Can I expect to see two new shoots on the existing branches where I made the cuts?

How do you/can you make them back-bud along the branch?

I'm still not getting a firm feel for which part of a cutting to use for rooting though. I've read about using both new shoots and old wood cuttings.

Is it too late in the season to do this? I'd hate to waste the cuttings I pruned last night. they really needed to be cut back.

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msg ::novice houseplant taker-care-of-er:: - msgvb
by Cricket on August 15, 2005 11:45 AM
I don't know anything about bougainvilleas but I think I can get you started on the question of sub-terminal cuttings. Terminal cuttings include the tip of the branch ("terminal" simply means "end"). So, for example, if you take 5" cuttings, the terminal cutting will be the first 5" inches from the tip, sub-terminal cuttings will be subsequent 5" cuttings.

Place the cuttings in moist sand/peat rooting medium, tent with plastic to retain humidity and place in bright indirect light. Tip: To prevent fungus growth, inflate the bag before closing so that very little leaf surface touches the plastic. Also, if you notice droplets of condensation forming, open the tent to allow some humidity to escape. Too high humidity can lead to rot. Keep the rooting medium moist but not wet.

According to your cited reference, either soft or hardwood cuttings can be used to propagate bougainvilleas depending on the time of year; green softwood cuttings in the spring and early summer, and older hardwood cuttings in autumn and winter. Hardwood cuttings take longer to root, so be patient.

I hope this is of some help. I'm sure someone with bougainvillea experience will be along soon with more information. Good luck!

by Bids on August 24, 2005 06:21 PM
bougainvilleas can be pruned harshly and they thrive on being left alone. Do not water excessively as they flower profusely in the dry summer months when everything else here is wilting.
I have stuck many cuttings of bougs directly into the soil and they have taken.

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Lack of space never stopped a serious gardener.
by D on August 29, 2005 12:29 AM
I have made my first attempt with bouganvilla cuttings. I've cut the greener tips just above a leaf where the woody part is and dipped in root stimulator and stuck it directly into the same pot. Some of them have rooted and are growing. I have also attempted to get them to root in water and that is slowly but surly working too. For the water ones I bought a liquid rooting solution. Im hoping to get enough different kinds to grow big enough to plant along a fence to give me some privacy from neighbors but not completely block my view of the area. Good luck with yours I hope my 2 cents helped.


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