How to Grow and Propagate Bouvardia, the Firecracker bush?

Bouvardia is a lovely flowering plant. It is a short perennial that produces small beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers. These magnificent flowers are also known as the Firecracker bush or Hummingbird plant. The flowers are rich in nectar that attracts lots of natural pollinators like Hummingbirds, bees, and Butterflies. Hence they got their popular name hummingbird flower. It is very easy to grow the Bouvardia flowering plant. Today we will discuss how to grow Bouvardia. Keep reading to know more about the propagation of these beautiful flowers.

How to Grow and Propagate Bouvardia, the Firecracker bush
How to Grow Bouvardia, and Propagate the Firecracker bush

Check out my previous post: How to Care for Southern Belle Hibiscus?

Is Bouvardia Perennial or Annual Plant?

Bouvardia is a perennial flowering shrub. It belongs to the Rubiaceae family, the family of 30 other flowers. These plants are native to the tropical Mexican climate and the Sonoran desert. Bouvardia is hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11. In these warm humid areas, this flower can bloom throughout summer till winter.

It can survive temperatures as low as 10degree celsius. Although it can die at temperatures below 15degree celsius if exposed for a longer duration. The cold can cause sudden frostbite to the soft tender branches leading to its death.

Overall Bouvardia is grown as a perennial in warm zones and annuals in cold frigid zones. It can be grown as an indoor flowering plant with indirect bright light.

Bouvardia plant & Flower Info

  • Common Name: Hummingbird flower Plant, and the Firecracker bush.
  • Scientific Classification: Bouvardia spp. or Bouvardia ternifolia, hybrida and many more
  • Family: Rubiaceae
  • Climate: Tropical warm and humid climate if best to grow Bouvardia flowers.
  • Origin: Native to Mexico, central and southwestern America.
  • Varieties: 30 Flowering plants with similar common names in this genus.
  • Hardiness Zone: Perennial plants in USDA 9 to 11. It can be grown indoors or annually in colder zones.
  • Plant size: small and compact 2 to 3 feet shrubs.
  • Flowers: Small trumpet-shaped Red, white, pink, or yellow flowers at the end of each stem.
  • Temperature requirement: best grown in temperature above 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees Celcius. 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 20-25 degrees Celcius is ideal for the best blooming in Bouvardia.
  • Soil Requirement: Neutral to slightly acidic, soft, loamy well-drained soil is best for the firecracker bush.
  • Sunlight: It requires 3 to 5 hours of bright sunlight. It can grow in partial shade with bright light. Although blooming may require bright natural light for a couple of hours every day.
  • Water requirement: Moist soil is good for growth. Water once or twice per week as required. let the topsoil dry before the next spill. Overwatering can be harmful so take care.
  • Benefits: Attracts lots of natural pollinators to your garden. Bouvardia is commonly grown as an ornamental flowering plant.

Bouvardia humming bird flower

Also read: How Much Sunlight Does Lettuce Need?

Propagation of Bouvardia

Most Bouvardia varieties can be propagated in three different ways. You can either chose-

  1. Seeds.
  2. Stem Cuttings.
  3. Root Cutting.

Bouvardia seeds are very tiny hard to collect. These seeds are rare to find on Amazon or at any seed store. Still, it is the most common natural way of propagating the Humminbird flower. Similarly, the root of the Firecracker bush or Bouvardia contains nodes that can grow into new plants.

Commercial gardeners always use root cutting as they grow faster and healthier than other means. These are also easier to find, collect and grow.

Finally, we have the stem cutting. Bouvardia can also be grown with healthy stem cutting. It is an effective way to propagate Bouvardia although this is not a natural technique. This requires manual effort with specific tools and rooting hormones to form roots.

Preparation to grow Bouvardia

  1. Select Container or pot for Indoor gardening. Start with a 6-inch pot with a proper drainage hole in its bottom. Choose a well-lit outdoor garden area to grow Bouvardia. The garden spot must have a minimum of 2×2 feet area open and clear for the new Bouvardia plant.
  2. Prepare Soil mix for rooting in Bouvardia Cuttings. Use 50% sand and 40% garden soil with 10% Cocopeat or peat moss for rooting. Use compost instead of cocopeat in a cool climate.
  3. Prepare Soil mix for First Transplant: Use 30% garden Soil, 30% sand, 30% compost with 10% Cocopeat. This soil mix is sufficient to support Bouvardia for the first growing year. From the next year mix 60% Soil with 40% organic compost to grow Bouvardia.
  4. Dig holes in the garden a couple of days before plantation. In fact, you must sundry the soil and let the holes dry and aerate for the best result. Also, dry out the pots and containers in full sun to avoid fungal spore growth.

How to Grow Bouvardia Plants?

Grow Bouvardia with seeds

  • Bouvardia seeds are hard to find although if you find some then start with drying them in full sun for two days.
  • Then use a seedling tray at least 4 inches deep. Fill it with sand, soil, and compost in equal proportion. Then sprinkle the seeds evenly over the soil surface.
  • Sprinkle some soil mix over the seeds to keep them in position. Don’t overdo this. Heavy soil can slow down or completely stop germination.
  • Spray water over the seedling tray carefully. Use a fine spray nozzle and avoid any disturbance to the seeds. Never use a tumbler or mug else the water will flood the tray. It will wash off the seeds from their position.
  • Cover the seedling tray with transparent plastic wrap.
  • Put the container near a window where it can receive some sunlight.
  • Open the covering once or twice every week for aeration and watering. Always keep the soil moist and warm.
  • The Bouvardia seeds may take 6 to 8 weeks to germinate. So be patient and take care of the seedling tray.
  • Keep in mind plants grown from seeds can vary a lot from their parent Bouvardia plant.

Bouvardia firecracker bush

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Grow Bouvardia with Root Cutting

  • Take a thick mature Bouvardia root for this purpose. It should have 4 or 5 nodes in it.
  • Cut out the nodes in 2 to 3-inch pieces. Try to keep the nodes in the center of both cuttings. You can also germinate the entire root and separate the baby plants later.
  • Put the Root cutting in a Sand soil mix. Water the mixture and place the cuttings in it. Cover the roots with 1/2 inch of the same soil mix.
  • Again spray some water and cover it to maintain warmth. Try to keep the temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • These Bouvardia roots will germinate within 3-5 weeks. Meanwhile, keep the soil mix warm and moist.

Grow Bouvardia with Stem Cutting

  • Take 4-6 inch stem cuttings from a healthy Bouvardia plant. The stems must be clean and free from any disease. Otherwise, the disease can damage your new plant batch.
  • Remove some of the lower leaves from the cuttings.
  • Dip the lower end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder.
  • Take equal parts of sand, soil, and compost in a seedling tray.
  • Level the soil mix and water the soil to increase moisture.
  • Make some holes in the soil mix and put the stem cutting in these holes. Tap the soil to settle down the stems.
  • Cover the Soil and stem with plastic wrap to create a microenvironment. The wrap will act as a greenhouse and increase the temperature up to 80 or 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Open the wrap once in 3 days for aeration and always keep the soil moist.
  • The Bouvardia stem cuttings will develop roots in 6 to 8 weeks. The plant thus grown are identical to the parent plant.

Transplanting Bouvardia Plants

Bouvardia plants must be transplanted to 5 or 6-inch containers for the first 2 years. Retransplant them once every year to encourage stronger root growth.

  • Take out the plant from the pot with the root ball intact.
  • Cut off dead roots and extra branches. Also, remove the extra unwanted root systems without damaging the central root.
  • Replace the groomed Bouvardia plant back in the container with some compost.
  • Transplant the Bouvardia into a bigger 10-inch pot or container or in the garden after 3 years.
  • Once the Plant is fully mature and continues flowering the whole season, simply stop uprooting it. Instead, dig out 3 or 4 inches of the topsoil and fill the space with compost and fresh soil. Water thoroughly and leave the plant undisturbed for the next 8 to 10 months.

The easiest way to Propagate Bouvardia

The easiest way to propagate Bouvardia is by root separation. The mature roots will naturally develop lots of baby firecracker bushes. Once they are bigger than 3 or 4 inches, you can dig them out.

Use a sharp spade or just a knife to detach the roots from the parent plant. Take the baby plant out and away from the parent plant and grow it wherever you want. This is the easiest and most convenient way to propagate Bouvardia if you already have a mature plant.

I hope you have learned what to do to grow Bouvardia. If you know some other ways then let us know. Till then Keep reading keep gardening!


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

2 thoughts on “How to Grow and Propagate Bouvardia, the Firecracker bush?

  1. So well done, thank you. I just bought a mature bouvardia and am planting it in the garden, your information about this and propagation is much appreciated.

  2. I just did a load of cuttings from my Bouvardia plant. I have them on my AGA to keep warm. Thanks for your info. My favourite plant in the world ❤️

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