Begonia propagation for newbies

Mari11(z5a Toronto)October 31, 2005

I saw questions from newbies on how to propagate begonias by leaf cuttings. I am not very much experienced on growing begonias, but I've done leaf propagations many times and love it.

There are pictures step-by-step on propagation of rex begonia:

1)Choose a healthy mature leaf (I use sometimes young leaves also)

2) Cut the edges

3)Make 2-3 wedge-shaped cuttings

4)Plant them in the mix of peat moss and perlite 1:1 in little pots, water and tent them for a few weeks

5) There are new plants grown on leaf cuttings planted on Sept,29

Rex begonias are very easy to propagate this way. Other rhizomatous begonias can be propagated by whole leaf, it may take up to 2 month until new plants show up.

While under cover they need very seldom watering, but check to avoid drying.

After babies are formed you can take off cover.Water sparingly.

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Job Well Done! 'Fireworks' is one of my favorite rexes, too. Kudos.

How's the canes coming along?


    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 8:27AM
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I'm new and so thankful of your post. It really answers a lot of questions. Please tell me if you can do this with a "cane" and do all canes have silver on them?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 9:29PM
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Mari11(z5a Toronto)

canes can't be propagated by leaf, only by stem cuttings.I usually cut stem with 3 leaves, take off lower one and put to the glass with water for 4-6 weeks. When roots are about 1/2 inch I pot it. Nothing can be easier!
There are few cuttings:

Your second question about silver on canes - ask Butch! He has a great collection and knows for sure.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 7:41PM
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Thanks again for the example. I'm going to give both a try today. I don't know who Butch is but if he's reading this please send me an e-mail. Nina

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 2:27PM
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janellojr(ZONE 5)

I just pulled up my fibrous rooted begonias, (NORTH WEST IND). If I dry the root mass and store will they reroot in the spring or is this not the way to store them. Also had beautiful Coleus and trying to save it also.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 1:49AM
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Mari11(z5a Toronto)

janellojr , I don't think this is a good way to save begonia. Start a new topic with this question. Coleus is easy: I usually take a few cuttings, root them in water and pot. By spring time them become quite leggy, so I take cuttings again and after rooting plant them outside.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 11:07PM
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I just wanted to let everyone know that it looks like my "babies" are begining to form. I can see the intense red starting. Not too bad for a newbie. It will be four weeks this thursday. Thanks again for the steep by steep guide.
I also tried the cain. And it too looks like a root forming.
I can't wait to trade them!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 12:09PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

Thank you for a nice post. I will try this.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 1:44PM
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barbcoleus(z10 Cape Coral,Fl)

This is great information!!!! If there was FAQ for begonias, this should be on it!!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2006 at 1:08PM
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Can I try this method of leaf propagation for rieger begonias as well? I live in Malaysia which has equator climate (sunny with plenty of rainfall).

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 1:05PM
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Update on my propagation. I had taken off the cover of the leaf begonia and my babies did nothing. Once I put the plastic back they shoot off.I guess they like a warm and humid inviorment. Not all of the leaf cutting made it. I started a new bach.
Mari11 what type of cane begonia is that? That is the one I have. I have one rooted and decided to try some more.

I would like to look up a company to see if has any feedback from garden web. Can someone tell me how to do that? Thanks

    Bookmark   January 9, 2006 at 10:47AM
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mingtea(z9 Tucson)

juantia: rexes typically respond better to a humid, warm environment--which is why i grow very few rexes!

constant overhead fluorescent lights also seem to help, as does gentle bottom heat. i do all my propping in terrariums.

great pictoral guide, maril! i agree: this should be a FAQ article!


    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 8:44PM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

I've been having 'puter problems and should have commented sooner about how to treat fibrous begonias for the winter. I think fibrous begonias were my very first houseplants, back when I didn't even know they could be used for bedding (and maybe wouldn't have done too well in that climate anyway.) They make very good plants indoors in a reasonably sunny window, and as said above are easy to start as cuttings when they get leggy. I think I gave everybody who didn't run away screaming pots of begonias.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 10:55PM
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Thanks for the easy step by step. This looks much more efficient (less "iffy") than cutting through the veins and pinning to soil. I'm going to do this for sure and hope for some to share with others. Is the purpose of cutting around the outer leaf just to make it easier to keep them upright? Thanks, Sandy

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 5:37PM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

The Thompson Begonia book shows that piece cut off around the edge put cut edge down in the prop box in a sort of semi-circle, just like the wedges. Works fine, and they say it makes a full plant quicker. Some folks say just throw it away. One thing I find is it's a good idea to label those cuttings even when you just put down a spare piece 'just because.' I was trying to figure what on earth was the nearly-black little begonia that started in one of those 'why not' pots, but after it had grown a few more leaves it began to have a pattern and turned out to be, to my amazement, masoniana, the 'Iron-Cross' begonia. And then in another surprise, a pretty little rosy star-leaved begonia with silver sprinkles turned into 'Little Brother Montgomery.' Labels are a great invention!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 11:57PM
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Some species may be easier propagated by seeds. Species that have adapted to a dryer climate such as B.partita, B. venosa, B. peltata or crassicaulis is what I have in mind for example.
For rare species it might be the only available option as there are no cuttings available or the source is too far away.
However, patience is a must when sowing Begonias; they are as tiny as half a grain of rice (or smaller) when they have germinated.
I am successful with this method:
Place a heating mat powered via a time switch under the clear topped propagator tray.
In case of lack of enough natural light or daylength shorter than 12 hours, place a fluorescent lamp with a time switch above.
Fill the tray with a mixture of coconut fibres and fine sand, do not press down the surface.
Let the soil mixture suck up (from below) as much distilled water as it can hold. (non-distilled water should be of an acidity of 5.5-5.8)
Test the installation until a constant temperature of around 25°C can be held.
Distribute the seeds evenly on the surface (light is essential for germination), close the cover.
Take away the condensed water on the cover daily.
Germination should occur within 2 - 3 weeks.
As of next irrigation the water should contain soluble fertilizer (half strength). Ideally, all water should be of PH 5.5-5.8 (or take rain water). Reduce irrigation, so that the seedlings have to grow longer roots.
The pace with which the plants can be acclimatised to lower humidity and/or temperature varies depending on the exact species.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 4:49AM
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"Why not" pots! Thats a great term. I'll bet most of us have done lots of them. In fact, I was just thinking in that direction.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 6:41PM
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Today I used your method to try and propagate 3 rexes. Thank you so much for the step-by-step instructions.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 4:50PM
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I planted mine on 3/4. Its a month today and nothing is happening. I pulled one out to see if anything was rooting and dont see anything. Was about to toss them but just saw they can take up to 2 months so I'll leave them there. I had just enough room to put a little hygrometer in the covered seed starter and its moist. Watered just a bit once. One rotted but the rest look fine. Maybe just not warm or bright enough? Sandy

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 10:16PM
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After almost 2 months I have wee little plants coming up. Glad I waited them out. Sandy

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 5:58PM
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Hi here a picture of
the angle wing begonia just put it in water and wait 3 weeks Anna

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 2:36PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA


I have two angel wing begonias and I have 4 large pots that I want to add them to this summer. Can I propagate them and have them at a stage of being able to put them outside in containers in a few weeks? Will the orignial plants, which are pretty small right now, recover from the pruning in time to make a showing in the containers this year?

If I just cut off a leave with part of a stem, will they just root in water?


    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 6:20PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Ooops! I guess I should have looked up. lol Sorry to ask what you just finished explaining. Thanks for the information!


    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 9:13AM
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Hi I planted some non stoping begonia leaves in a little container to try and get babies its got lots of roots the cantainer is full but no babies can I give it some fertilzer maybe the babies will hurry up and come or is it because its non stoping begonia I grow about 50 or more begonia a year i'am hoping to start now and get ahead for next year Anna Lisa

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 8:29PM
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Hello I am fairly new member, just have a couple of seed trade but I really like GW. I have Begonia conchifolia 'Bull's Eye' how can I propagate them from leave or stem ? please help!!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 12:59PM
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Secrets. I need your secrets. Seems like my leaf cuttings "fade out" and become limp in a couple of weeks. I'm putting them in a mix of about 50% perlite, 50% mixture of fine peat and Miracle-Gro. I moisten the mixture just until damp and lightly push my leaf cuttings into the mixture. They're kept covered in an assortment of translucent, lidded boxes in a north window. I see humidity grow and in a couple of weeks I peek inside and the leaf cuttings are faded and limp.

What's funny is a friend gave me a rhizome cutting that didn't make it. On its LAST LEAF I cut it off, pushed it down into soil and did nothing else but water it (kept moist). In a couple of months I had my baby sprouting up. No tenting, no sterile razors... Check out "Immense" now, just a year later on my begonia gallery!

Here is a link that might be useful: Fred's Begonias

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 3:30PM
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Bingo! I now have babies growing from my Chayo Begonia leaf!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 9:47PM
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