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Propagate Begonias

Updated on February 10, 2017

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.

Image By Shed (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Terminal Tip for rooting and propagation
Terminal Tip for rooting and propagation

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!

The most common way to root a begonia cutting~~in a small container of water!
The most common way to root a begonia cutting~~in a small container of water!
Begonia cutting Image is mine--Mickie_G
Begonia cutting Image is mine--Mickie_G

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?

These books are available on Amazon. What I love about is that there is usually a "Look Inside" feature. A visitor can actually read some of the content that the book has. Sometimes I have learned enough by just looking at what is made available by the online seller to make an informed decision on whether the book is worth adding to my gardening library. I always like to check out a book before I buy it.

Both of the books listed below have the "Look Inside" feature and also receive lots of praise from purchasers.

Thank you in advance if you make a purchase. I do receive a small commission from Squidoo for every sale that is made as a result of a purchase being made from this article.

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:

  1. Pinch a tip that is 2 to 4 inches long with 4 to 6 leaves.
  2. 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.
  3. Place finished flat or container in a shady spot.
  4. Gently water the rootings. Use a watering can that has a shower attachment like the one I have.
  5. Keep rootings moist, but not sopping wet.
  6. 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
Original planter of begonias--begonias are great to grow inside, too.Terminal (tip) stemStem for rootingStick stem into soil (might need to poke a hole in earth with finger)Rootings and mother plantPlace flat in shady spotWaterRoot, little stem, Root
Original planter of begonias--begonias are great to grow inside, too.
Original planter of begonias--begonias are great to grow inside, too.
Terminal (tip) stem
Terminal (tip) stem
Stem for rooting
Stem for rooting
Stick stem into soil (might need to poke a hole in earth with finger)
Stick stem into soil (might need to poke a hole in earth with finger)
Rootings and mother plant
Rootings and mother plant
Place flat in shady spot
Place flat in shady spot
Root, little stem, Root
Root, little stem, Root

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.

Quantity of 1 Square Pot "Press Fit" Black Tray 21 1/8 Inches X 10 /8 Inches
Quantity of 1 Square Pot "Press Fit" Black Tray 21 1/8 Inches X 10 /8 Inches

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

My favorite Gardening Tool: My Haws Watering Can
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.

Haws V120 Practican Plastic Watering Can, 1.6-Gallon/6-Liter, Green
Haws V120 Practican Plastic Watering Can, 1.6-Gallon/6-Liter, Green

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.

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.

Don't forget to "like" this page.

Please sign my guestbook! - Begonias love admiring visitors.

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    • JessicaBarst profile image

      Jessica Barst 5 years ago from Dallas, TX

      Very informative! Thanks for sharing your experiment and showing me two ways to root begonia cuttings; it's always nice to save money!

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 5 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      Opps! Looks like I'ave already "liked" this lens. Oh, well. Too bad I can't "like" it again...

    • Ilonagarden profile image

      Ilona E 5 years ago from Ohio

      Getting new plants to grow from cuttings is always fun- and you have a great lens for everyone to get started doing it :)

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 5 years ago

      Wow, I will have to try this! As you saw, I love begonias! One of the best flowers I have ever grown, but I've never tried to propagate my own. I have grown them from seed and they turned out marvelous. People say they are hard to start from seed - not so! After all, if I can do it, others can, too! Now, though, I'm going after cuttings from my begonias.

    • PapaKork profile image

      PapaKork 5 years ago

      This is great! I'm just about ready to plant some begonias this week - thanks for the great info!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Excellent information - blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • Wayne Rasku profile image

      Wayne Rasku 5 years ago

      Great timing as Spring has come early. I really like fiddling in the yard. I think I will try this. And I love the watering can!