Begonias (Begonia spp.) are a diverse group of flowering plants. The begonia genus contains more than 1,000 different species all around the world. With their gorgeous leaves and blossoms, these plants have been a perennial favorite in gardens for centuries. They are especially admired for their ability to tolerate shade.
A begonia that you love can be cloned by rooting a begonia stem in your garden or a friend’s garden. All begonia species follow the same technique. You get an exact copy of the parent plant when you do it correctly.
Begonia Propagation Info
Garden begonias come in three varieties: tuberous, rhizomatous, and fibrous-rooted. Begonia cuttings can be used to propagate all three types of begonias in the home garden, although professional growers utilize distinct techniques for each. To grow begonias, all you need are a few simple cuttings, and every seasoned gardener has an own way of modifying the fundamental techniques. Begonia cuttings can be propagated in two ways: stem and leaf. There is no harm in trying them both out to discover which one suits your needs best.
Begonia: Queen of the Shade Garden
No matter how sunny the garden is, there will always be a gloomy spot. Gardeners are always on the lookout for new plants to add to their shade gardens because flowering plants, particularly annuals, sometimes necessitate direct sunlight to thrive.
Begonias are commonly referred to as “the queen of the shade garden” in this type of conversation. Because of their wide variety and unique hardiness zones and cultural requirements, begonias aren’t well-suited to full sun exposure. In their natural habitat, many species are low-lying understory plants of tropical forests and do best in partial shade.
Types of Begonias
While the genus Begonia is one of the largest in the botanical kingdom, some species are more popular than others with gardeners. In the United States, the most common types of begonias for growing in the garden are wax begonias, tuberous begonias and hardy begonias.
Gardeners prefer certain species of Begonia more than others despite it being one of the largest genera. To grow begonias in the garden, wax begonias, tuberous begonias and hardy begonias are the most popular varieties in the United States.
The vivid blossoms of tuberous begonias (B egonia x tuberhybrida_) are a favorite of gardeners. It is possible to find them in a wide range of colours of red and orange as well as shades of pink as well as shades of yellow and white. In USDA zones 6 through 10, they grow as tubers and bloom all summer long in shady locations.
Propagation of Begonias
Begonias can be grown in a variety of ways, including via division, root cuttings, and leaf cuttings. Begonias can be propagated through stem cuttings (also known as “tip cuttings”), which can be rooted in the ground and grown into new plants.
Propagation in this manner involves placing a plant stem in water or a moist growing medium, and allowing the plant to clone itself by sprouting roots on the stem. Begonias are easy to root, so you can use the water-rooting method for many of them.
Starting Begonia Cuttings in Water
Rooting a cutting in water is the simplest way to propagate plants. Unlike woody plants, which tend to decay in water, most species of begonia are able to root in water. When you remove leggy stems for rooted, the “parent” plant looks better as well.
When rooting begonia cuttings in water, the first step is to select the right stems. Plants that are overly tall or leggy with a lot of stem between the leaves should be avoided. Snip stems about 4 inches long, just below the node where a leaf attaches to the stem, and plant the cuttings. Any part of the stem below the node that isn’t removed will eventually decay.
Lower leaves can be removed with garden scissors or pruners, with the exception of a few remaining at the cutting’s peak. Additionally, remove any blossoms from the cuttings to prevent them from wasting energy on seed germination when they should be working on establishing the roots. You can put many cuttings together in a single glass of fresh water if you choose. Wait until the roots have grown a few inches long before planting the plant in a pot.
Potting up a Rooted Cutting
It’s time for a begonia cutting to become a “real plant” when its roots are around 2 inches long. Since the cuttings may survive in water for long lengths of time, there is no need to hurry.
Consider the size of the roots while choosing a pot. Put enough moist soil in the bottom of the pot to place the cutting’s root base about an inch or two below the container rim after adding water to the potting mix until it is well saturated without being soggy. Fill the pot with soil while keeping the clipping in place. Prune back any new, tall growth to encourage a bushier plant if it has grown during the roots stage.
Make sure the newly potted cutting gets another sip of water and continue to do so until the pot is completely dry. Set it on a saucer in bright, indirect sunshine after it empties and watch it flourish.
Propagate Begonias from a Single Leaf
You can start with a single leaf of begonia if you want to propagate the larger-leaved varieties. Cut a mature leaf from the plant at the point where the leaf joins the stem with a sharp knife. To finish, sharpen the cut end using a clipper. Only bury the petiole (the stalk of the leaf), not the leaf. A new plant will emerge from the roots that form at the tip of the petiole after this method of rooting begonias has been used. To save money and show off your green thumb, you can propagate begonias using stems or leaves. Whether you use these methods for a windowsill garden or to grow your own flats for next spring’s outdoor planting, or even to save that begonia stem that has been sacrificed to the wind, propagating begonias through stem or leaf is an easy method.
Starting a Begonia Cutting in Soil
It’s a common misconception among some gardeners that soaking a begonia cutting in water can help it grow until it’s time to transplant it. A more robust young begonia plant may be obtained by attempting to root cuttings in soil. In order to root the cuttings, you will need a “forsythe pot.”
Vermiculite, an unglazed, tiny pot, and a 10-inch plastic pot are all you’ll need to get started. Push the clay pot into the vermiculite in the center of the huge pot once it has been filled with the vermiculite. Vermiculite should be moistened with enough water before the clay pot is filled with water.
Press the clipped stems of healthy, leggy begonia plants into the saturated vermiculite and take cuttings up to 4 inches long. Create a humid environment by putting the entire bowl in a clear plastic bag and securing it. Stay out of direct sunlight and keep the clay pot full with water. The cuttings should root and be ready for transplantation within a month.
Transplanting Rooted Begonias
Regardless of how you decide to root your begonias, keep in mind that you should only begin transplanting them once they are fully grown. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to wait until the roots are at least two inches long before planting them. It is safe to assume that your begonias will remain in water if you have rooted them in water.
What is the best place to plant begonias? Potting soil should be moist and the container should be large enough to accommodate the roots. Set the root base of the cutting one inch below the rim of the container.
Before placing the cuttings in a light location, water the transplant and allow it to drain from the pot. You may also foster a bushier begonia by pruning new growth when you detect it. Be aware that begonias are prone to root rot, so be careful with your watering habits.
Caring For Begonias
Place your begonias in a moist, warm, 65-72°F environment to ensure their success. Blooming is greatly enhanced by early morning sun. As far as fertilization is concerned, you only need to do this once a month and keep the soil moist at all times.
In order to avoid damaging your begonias, avoid overwatering and always check the medium first. Is it necessary to trim begonias? The plant’s blooms will last longer and be healthier if you remove the deadheads.
Cuttings from mature begonias can be used to grow extra plants for the home garden. Begonias can be rooted in water or soil, and root formation usually takes about a month. You may prefer to cultivate begonias in a greenhouse in order to protect them from changing weather conditions.
Rooting can be done in a 4-inch area. The lowest leaves should be removed to prevent rot, and any blooms should also be trimmed so that the plant can concentrate on rooted. When the roots have grown to a length of two inches, either place the cutting in water or soil and wait for it to be ready to transplant.