Rex leaf cutting propagation

neuf(5 Indy)June 22, 2014

As you can see in the photo, I am getting growth in my first attempt at leaf cutting propagation. It is in a plastic take-home Chinese food container, so it has been in a moist biosphere environment but the growth is starting to hit the clear plastic lid.

Time to move it?

Don't really have a clue what I'm doing, so please help.



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Let it get bigger than that before transplanting. It is okay for the plants pushing the lid (make sure the lid is not anchored down so the plants can move the lid.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 7:15AM
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I start a bunch of cuttings in Jiffy peat pellets and when they get some good sized leaves I move them up to 3 inch pots (photo above).

Here is a photo of one tray of cuttings.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 7:20AM
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neuf(5 Indy)

Thanks for your reply!

Your plants are very impressive.

Do I have to keep them covered or in a biosphere, or can they start to get used to a household or outdoor atmosphere?

Must the soil stay moist?

Thanks again,


    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 9:01AM
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Outdoors (if you have high humidity) you can do without a plastic cover (make sure you have drain holes though). Indoors you probably need to keep a cover in place until the plants get some size.

Never let your soil dry out. Too much water will cause rot but too little will cause roots to dry up and die. A balancing act at times but I find if you have good draining soil you will do fine if even overwatered (try to let them dry out some before the next watering). Outdoors you are at the mercy of the weather but again I don't find it a problem if the soil is wet every day as long as you have good drainage. After a storm I inspect all my pots for standing water (the drain hole gets plugged from mud and tree roots sometimes). I have all mine on the ground since stands are cost prohibitive at this point.

Here is a small section of some of my collection from a day or two ago.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 10:06AM
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neuf(5 Indy)

Wow...what a cool assortment. What kind of lighting are your plants in? Do you bring them in to overwinter?

My soil was a 50/50 mix of Perlite and Sphagnum. The container has many holes, but the medium may be a bit moisture retentive compared to the Tapla 5-1-1. I typically water from the tray up as opposed to the surface down.


This post was edited by neuf on Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 10:39

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 10:29AM
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That is a just a small part of them. They are in high shade but I try to move them to brighter light as summer winds down. Yes drag them in and out each year (early May to late October). I am running about 75 shoplights in winter and the basement is full.

I just use Miracle Gro now - no mixing of anything else. Fertilize every now and then. Repot when they look haggard or need more space. I may start some in perlite since I bought a huge bag a few years ago and need to use it when I can.

Here is a community cutting pan with very little water, no drainage and using Jiffy seed starting mix. It is much too easy to rot begonias with this set up so watering is quite tricky.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 11:27AM
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My newest project is a begonia wall. Easy to do if you have a wall built or use a pallet like I did. Using plastic pots makes it much easier to squeeze the pots into the open spaces of the pallet but watering is a pain at times.

Ten rexes, 3 Santa Cruz, 3 Dragon Wings, and maybe 5 or 6 coleus.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 11:31AM
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neuf(5 Indy)

Again, I am blown away by your extensive collection of so many plants!!!!! They very, very cool! I only have one two-plant Rex in a pot that I have had on our kitchen table, so I am just a newbie.

Thank you for the conversation. I really am learning a lot from it.

Are these mostly stem cuttings in your last picture? I put my vein cut leaf on the mix that I use for starting seed under light. It took from early May until now to get as far as it has. With it being my first attempt, I have no way to measure any results.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 11:39AM
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neuf(5 Indy)

The begonia wall is a great idea. All shade? Are the Santa Cruz the orange "Bonfire" variety?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 11:43AM
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Some of the plants in the photo of the community pan were stem cuttings and some were leaf cuttings. The more you do the more you will learn. This seems to be more of an art than a science (for me). I've lost so many over the years but you learn from your mistakes.

The begonia wall is propped up on a young oak tree so there is dappled sun on it from morning until after 2 PM.

The Santa Cruz are another variation of boliviensis which is the parent plant of Bonfire as well.

I have been into begonias for around 40 years but only in the past 15 have I really dived into this diverse group. Join the ABS when you can and attend a convention at your earliest convenience. That way you can meet people of a kindred spirit and start buying plants you will never see in most nurseries.

Here is another shot of some of the begonias I have in my current line up.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 12:26PM
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lorabell NC(8)

How stunning. Especially that pinkish one. I'm in my first year of growing begonias and started with a couple beauties.. Little brother Montgomery , black snail, dregei, etc and they have done so well and I'm hooked!

I've a newbee question.. Is it best to throw into dormancy or grow under lights for the winter months... Or does it depend on the type of plant? I don't want to loose these by mistakes...

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 7:53AM
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I find it best to keep them going under lights. There are some that go dormant such as tuberous. You can winter over in a cool garage with dim lighting but I find it sets the plants back some.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 9:16AM
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lorabell NC(8)

Thanks , that's what I was hoping. I was reading the posts on forcing dormancy and was really not looking forward to that..

Speaking of that pinkish begonia, any chance on an ID for me? Ha. You really have an amazing selection..very impressive.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 11:37AM
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If you grow tuberous then you need to abide by the folks who grow those types.

The begonia in the center of the last photo is Robert Golden. Earlier it was sold as Andrea Prado.

The biggest problem is having more plants than lights. Tall plants must sit on the floor and get whatever light they are near to. Here is a tall cane about five feet tall next to benches with lights.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 11:57AM
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gregsytch(z9b Tampa Bay)

For better chances of success, you can use whole leaves with the petiole (where the leaf meets the stem) just buried. I never use pieces. I grow in shadehouses outdoors, and just put my leaves under the benches for a few weeks to root. The whole leaf will produce a larger plant quicker, but using several wedges in a small pot will also work. I do use Rootone. I am in Tampa Bay, so from May thru Oct, my whole outdoors is like a greenhouse!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 6:29PM
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