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Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to graft a bougainvillea to get multi-coloured bracts

How to graft a bougainvillea to get multi-coloured bracts

By Wan Chwee Seng

  Here are a few simple steps on how to get multi-coloured bracts on a single bougainvillea plant.

Things required for grafting (Pic.1)

1. Clean knife or blade
2. Plumber's tape
3. Transparent plastic bag


Pic.1 Plumber's tape, knife, plastic bag


1. Find an established, healthy bougainvillea plant for the rootstock. 
2.Cut off the upper portion of the trunk and wait for a few shoots to sprout.
3.When a shoot is big enough cut off the upper portion of the stem and strip off the leaves.
4. Make a clean cut, about an inch long down the stem.

Pic.2 A young stem from a rootstock

5. Get a young stem from a bougainvillea with a different colour for the scion.( Pic.3)
6. Remove all leaves, leaving three or four leaves at the top portion of the scion stem.
7. Carefully shave the skin at the lower portion of the stem.

Pic.3 Scion to be grafted to the stem on the rootstock

8. Carefully insert the scion stem into the cleft of the host stem.
9. Wrap the two stems firmly with a plumber's tape.(Pic.4)

Pic.4 Scion stem and host stem wrap with tape
10. Cover the grafted stems with a transparent plastic bag.(Pic.5)

Pic.5 Grafted stems covered with plastic bags

11. Remove the plastic bags after ten to twelve days. 

Stems that have been successfully grafted

Notes: It is possible to graft five or more scions to a rootstock. However, they may not bloom at the same time.

Photo of the grafted stems taken in 2015


  1. I just tried a 2 flower graft. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will work.

    1. Hi HM,
      Wish you every success and hope you will let us know the result. Do make sure the stems to be grafted are neither too young or too old. Any question will be welcome.
      C S Wan

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Where can I purchase a 4 color grafted bougainvillea tree online? My Mom wants one :)

  4. Hi, I am not sure if you can purchase bougainvillea with multi-coloured bracts online. If you are from Malaysia you can try the garden centres, as I have seen these bougainvilleas at the garden centres in Melaka.

  5. You can try World Farm, just bought a grafted mushroom bougainvillea for S$68. There are 4 colours. http://sgmygardenisgood.blogspot.sg

  6. What is the best months or time in year to graft bougainvillea

  7. Hello Wan, this coming to you from Toronto, Canada.
    I happened to check out Batu Berendam in the '50s via Google and came across your Blog re your stay there during the Japanese occupation.
    And your very eloquent posting of your young days at your grandfather's house was in many ways similar to my own experiences. We too hid out there during the Japanese occupation.

    My grandfather too had a house, attap roof and earthen floor, well for water at the rear, very close to the airport back in the early 40's, 50's. His house with lots of fruit trees, an acre of land was 100 yards from the main road, and close to the intersection of road leading to Malacca town, I've forgotten the name but remember the kedai kopi where my grandfather used to spend his time with friends buka cherita. He was then a Station Master in Malacca.

    He later moved to Pokok Mangga road, Malacca, near Tanjong. My parents house nearby at Limbongan, a stone's throw from Happy Land hotel.

    My relatives, mom are all resting in peace at Bukit Jelutong.
    Thanks for the memories, Wan.
    Best regards, you keep well.
    ps, I studied at ACS, HM then was Mr Shoemaker.

    1. Hi Lee, My sincere apology for the very late response as I had problem with my server. It was a pleasant surprise to hear someone all the way from Toronto who hailed from the same village. Thanks for the compliments and for sharing your experiences Melaka has undergone a lot of development and most of the houses at Limbongan have been demolished and turned into housing estates. Will find out from my cousins if they know your family. Will be grateful if you can share more your experiences. Hope to hear from you.

  8. What is the best months or time in year to graft bougainvillea. thinks