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How to: propagate begonias


You don’t often see these plants for sale in commercial nurseries, so the best way to introduce them into your garden is to find a friend who is willing to share, and practice your propagation skills.

We are in love with begonias. We always want more! Their ability to flower in full shade is remarkable and once they start they never seem to stop.


Here's how you do it.


Propagate from leaves

Leaf cuttings are the easiest method of propagating rex begonias. 


Photo - Eve81/

Select a healthy leaf. 

Remove the stem with a sharp knife and slice the leaf into wedges, each piece with a main vein. You may get several cuttings depending on the size of your leaf. 

Dip each piece into hormone rooting powder and shake off the excess. Place each leaf cutting on the surface of a tray of moist seed raising mix. Pin into place with wire. 

Give cuttings bright light but no direct sunshine. Check in eight weeks when new plantlets should emerge from the veins and show good root development. Pot up each plant individually.

Propagate from stems

Stem cuttings are the easiest method of propagating cane begonias.  


Photo - Linda Ross


Select a healthy piece of stem about 10-15cm long. 

Place two stem cuttings into a glass of water. Cuttings are held in place with tape. 

Wait until roots are growing through the base of the stem. When they reach a few centimetres pot up your rooted cutting into individual pots.

After 6 months plant your new plant into the garden and watch it flower.


Begonia care tips

Begonia biggest enemy is frost. Planting them under other shrubs will help protect them. Pots can be brought close or into the house over winter in frosty regions.

Use the best potting mix available and add 20% perlite to lighten the mix, which allows better drainage and and reduces the risk of fungal problems during wet weather.

Powdery mildew on leaves can be controlled with Baycor.

Prune plants whenever they get leggy.

Watch for green looper caterpillars that find the taste of tender begonia leaves tempting.


Text: Sandra Ross

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Author: Sandra Ross