Save money by rooting your own begonias!
I am not a horticulturist by education, I am just a person who enjoys discovering ways to get new plants for nothing. Yep, I conduct a lot of experiments and I also learn by accident. This page chronicles my attempt to propagate begonia stem cuttings so I do not have to spend a great deal of money on my flower beds this year.
Follow along on this adventure (or science project) to see if my efforts succeed.
By the way, the begonias I am trying to root are not tuberous begonias; they are Bronze Leaf-White.
Begonias are easy to propagate!
Last year I bought a pack (cell) of six begonias in the springtime. I put them all in one pot and it made a beautiful display on my deck. When the weather began to chill in November, I moved the pot to the basement near a window and kept those beauties watered. After the threat of frost, I moved the pot of begonias back outside. The plants were a bit leggy, so I pinched off the tallest stems but instead of throwing them in the trash, I decided to try to root those stems. Using a cutting to root is the most common way to propagate this kind of plant.
Image of the begonia to the right is mine. Unless otherwise stated, all of the images belong to me, Mickie_G.
The most common way to root a begonia cutting~~in a small container of water!
Begonia stem cuttings will root in water, oh yes they will.
According to one of my sources (see the links at the bottom of the page), the most common way to root begonia stem cuttings is to put them in a small container of water. Baby food jars or small bud vases are recommended.
The cut stem begins to emit a hormone that stimulates roots and the smaller the container, the more concentrated the hormone.
(I read an article here on Squidoo, that suggested putting an aspirin in the water might aid in root stimulation.)
I put three stems in my glass containers. Two weeks later, I had roots! When the roots are an inch long, you can put the begonia stem in soil. Remember to water your transplanted rooted cuttings every day if there is no rain.
Image is of rooting begonias belongs to me, Mickie_G.
Need more information about rooting plants?
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Best Cutting for Rooting Begonias:
The cutting should be a terminal (tip) stem, 2 to 4 inches long with 4 to 6 leaves.
How I am rooting begonias in soil:
This is the experimental propagation part for me.
I had a flat that was given to me by my son-in-law. Yes, there were a few creeping Jenny plants in it when he gave it to me. When I had that bunch of begonias in my hand that I had pinched off of my mature plants, I had a light bulb moment. Why not try and root these stems in dirt? I've got the flat; I've got the dirt (not sterile, though)--so why not see how many will root? Thus my experiment was born.
For my first flat, I did not use a rooting compound on the stems. I used the soil from a container I used last year. That is probably not a good idea, but I am trying to save money. I do have new potting mix, and I will wash out the containers with a mild bleach/water and will hopefully plant my rooted begonias in them. I did read that most begonias do have a good chance of rooting in the kind of soil I have used. Yea!
Remember to place the flat in a shady spot. Too much sun will dry out the soil quickly and discourage roots from sprouting.
FYI: the cuttings have a greater chance of rotting in soil, that is why one should probably use sterile soil. Less than 2 weeks later, the trimings were doing well. I will be transplanting them this weekend.
Steps to root begonias in soil:
- Pinch a tip that is 2 to 4 inches long with 4 to 6 leaves.
- Have your growing medium (potting mix, etc) ready. Use your finger to poke a hole in the soil then gently put the cutting in that hole. Tap gently to keep stem upright.
- Place finished flat or container in a shady spot.
- Gently water the rootings. Use a watering can that has a shower attachment like the one I have.
- Keep rootings moist, but not sopping wet.
- When the rootings start to grow, you can move them to a permanent home for the summer. Begonias like sun or shade.
My flat of begonias rooting--I hope! - (click on small images to see gardening tips)Click thumbnail to view full-size
Supplies for propagating your plants can be found on Amazon:
The following products have been recommended for use in rooting cuttings.
I re-used some square plastic pots that I saved over the winter. This year, I might purchase a few peat pots and be a greener gardener. I have some lettuce seeds that I want to start inside.
FYI: I get a small commission if you purchase any of these products from the list below.
Just like the nursery uses. I reused some of these trays to root my begonias. I need some new ones this year.
My favorite Gardening Tool: My Haws Watering Can
Haws Watering Can to water your begonia babies-- - plus a tip from me--
I love my Haws Watering can. My daughter gave it to me over 10 years ago (see it featured under the Amazon photo below). I made the mistake of leaving it outside all the time! Do not do that. The sun will cause the plastic to deteriorate and break.
This watering can comes with two attachments to control the flow of water.
Learn about Begonias before you grow them:
There are several excellent pages on hubpages or the web where you can learn about the history of the begonia and how to grow them successfully in your garden or in containers. I will not re-tell you something that is explained well someplace else. That being said, check out these pages below:
Educated sources for propating begonias
The following pages provided much of my scientific information about propagating begonias.
- Begonia Propagation Page
Begonia Propagation Page by Brad Thompson This page will describe the various ways to propagate begonias through cuttings. Starting begonias from seed is covered in another chapter so won't be addressed here. Rooting cuttings to form new plants is ba
- Timely Tips for Propagating House Plants
A pdf with great information from the Universtiy of Arkansas.
If you have ever rooted or propagated a plant, let me know if you have any tips. I do not claim to know it all. As stated earlier, this is a learning exercise and I am also trying to save some money.
Check back often to see how my baby plants are fairing. UPDATE: about half of my begonia cuttings rooted in the soil containers. I planted them this week (June 9th) in the ground or in bigger pots. Will see how they fare and take pictures for you.
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