Has your Rex ever done this....

gardengirl_17(z5 OH)March 11, 2007

I have a beautiful Rex 'Fairy' that has grown really well despite my general ignorance about these beauties. Several months ago I noticed that some of the bigger mature leaves were sprouting new leaves. The new leaves (in some cases 3 or 4 to a bunch) are coming up out where the mature leaf connects to the stem. I have read about propagating these from cuttings and it seems this connecting area is where the new plantlets emerge from. So, it looks like maybe I have plantlets sprouting while the leaves are still attached to the mother plant. Is that what's happening? If so, how do I go about taking one of these little guys and potting it on its own? Or should I just leave them alone? There are several leaves with this going on.

Thanks!

Kim

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seaecho1(SW CA)

Wow, you have luck with Rexes! Sorry I can't answer your question, but just wanted to congratulate you on your success in making these notoriously difficult begonias happy. I recently bought five different Rexes from Lowe's and so far they are doing well, but I've only had them about two weeks. Certainly, if yours are sprouting little leaves, they must be doing well!

Randi

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 2:59PM
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hcmcdole(z7)

Kim,

You must be doing something right when you start getting new leaves growing from the sinus on your old leaves while still on the plant. It happens but is usually rare. You can cut these older leaves with an inch or two of stem still attached and either water root them or pot them in a moist medium and you should see roots in a couple of weeks.

Here are some of my pictures of recent begonias. I have found that humidity is so important on most begonias so I use plastic cups, containers, sheeting and glass tanks, cookie jars, and bubbles. Plastic wrap seals most of the glass bubbles and tanks.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 4:03PM
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gardengirl_17(z5 OH)

Thanks hcmdole! I may cut a couple and try to root them. If I try the water rooting method I should just keep the bottom of the plantlet just touching the water? And as far as rooting in medium, would a soiless potting mix work or do you think I should go with something like perlite? I have some of the tin lasagne pans with plastic lids that I use in winter to start seeds for winter sowing. They make nice little green houses. I could certainly do that for the begonias don't you think?

BTW, I LOVE this photo of your begonias and the great shots of your propagation on your website! The Begonias are all so colorful! I just bought my third one this week at our local conservatory. Unfortunately it doesn't have a name tag but I know it's one I've seen before. It has red on the leaves that is very metallic looking. My other Begonia is Snow White. It has had a harder time getting established but it is doing pretty well right now. I wish I could make some claim about my skills but they get filtered light and I water them now and then. Mostly I don't fret over them and it seems to be working.

Thanks again for responding to my post!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 5:29PM
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hcmcdole(z7)

Kim,

I tried water rooting this year after the last few years of struggling with rooting in soilless mix. After seeing the great success of one of the members of our local begonia club, I gave it a try. It worked great!!!! Just do it like an African violet. One big secret is to keep the cutting covered while it is in water. This way it has plenty of humidity and you don't have to change the water (if you leave it uncovered you will have to change the water often and your success rate will go down). I still try the old way but I'm still fighting a losing battle (too wet, too dry, too warm, too cold, who knows).

Anyway get a cup of room temperature water, cover with tin foil or plastic wrap (you may need a rubber band to keep the plastic wrap in place), make slits to receive the leaf stems (petioles), make sure the water is almost to the top so it won't dry out, put your leaves in place, and cover with a plastic bag (I like the zippered ones so I can easily zip it fairly tight). Place under lights and watch for roots. Once roots are half an inch long or longer, plant it up and keep the humidity up! I've had several begonias sit in the same cup for months with no water change or addition using this method. This is the only way I have successfully propagated several varieties such as 'Martin's Mystery', U508, 'Comtesse Montesquieu', chloroneura, 'Challenger', 'Texas Red Star', and countless others. Rexes are very easy this way.

The lasagna pan works too but using rhizomes is a better way to go using this route. I have 3 'Bunchii' rhizomes going right now in an aluminum pan and a Jiffy lid on top and did several rhizos last year this way. Leaf cuttings are a bit riskier this way but it can be done (a fine line between drying out and rotting in this case).

Another method I am trying is disposable drinking cups. I get 9 oz and 16 oz clear cups. I use the 9 oz for planting in and either cup for the humidity dome depending on the height of the plant. Drill holes or use a soldering pencil to burn holes in the bottom for drainage. Works great for small starts!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 10:31PM
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