begonias propagate well from leaf cuttings. A young plant will erupt from tissue along the leaf veins and then root into the compost. Then you simply separate each new plant from the mother leaf and pot it on.
A single leaf can produce many young plants, which you can use to increase your own stock of begonias or give to friends. This technique can be used for all begonias but is particularly useful for foliage plants such as Begonia rex.
However, you cannot propagate a cane begonia leaf.
Start with a healthy begonia leaf.
A clean, sharp knife.
Free-draining compost, equal parts multi-purpose and perlite.
Clear polythene bags .
1. Cut a clean healthy leaf from the base of your plant, cut off its stalk, leaving about 1/4 " from the base of the leaf.
2. Place down in moist soil and cover with plastic bag. Place in warm, bright area, avoiding full sun.
1. Remove all of the stem.
2. Make small slices along health veins on the underside of the leaf.
3. Pin down to the top of moist soil.
4. Cover with plastic bag and place in warm, bright area, avoiding sun.
Roots and new plants will develop from the vein at the base of each cutting or from the bottom of the leaf near the stem, depending on which method you chose.
A tip cutting has to have certain elements in order to grow a good plant. As a general rule, begonias won't send out new growth from a node where they have previously had a bloom. Nearly all begonias that won't grow from leaves won't send out growth from a node that had a bloom. This doesn't apply to tuberous, rhizomatous or rexes, as they will send out new growth from any rooted part of the plant.
On a begonia stem, there is a node above each leaf. This node can have a bud that will grow into a new stem someday, a flower cluster or remain dormant. Any node that doesn't have flowers or the scar left after the flowers have fallen off, has a bud inside.
A good cutting needs to have one or two nodes that have not bloomed in order to grow into a proper plant. Roots will grow from the bottom node below the soil line and new branches may grow from nodes above the soil line. The best cuttings are tip cuttings that have nodes that have never bloomed.
Elements of a good tip cutting.
When taking a tip or stem cutting, cut the stem about half an inch below a node that has not flowered. If the cut is closer, then the cutting may rot instead of rooting. When rooting the cutting, remove any leaves from the lower nodes first, since these leaves will be buried and will rot.
Put the cutting as low in the pot as possible covering at least one good bud. The buried buds will eventually grow into new shoots. Without a buried bud, the cutting will of course still root and grow. It won't be able to send up new basal growth however. It will only be able to branch somewhere above the pot.
The only time you should use cuttings without buds to bury is if you're going to grow a begonia as a standard. Since a standard should be just one main stem, ordinarily bad cuttings are perfect for that purpose.
For begonias that are ever-blooming and hard to get good cuttings from, one tip is to first prune the plant. Then take cuttings from the new growth when it comes up.
These types of cuttings are not commonly used but they do have purposes. There isn't much difference between the two and the mallet has less chance of errors or rotting so you shouldn't use the heel version unless you have a specific purpose.
A mallet cutting will allow you to make a type of leaf cutting from plants that ordinarily won't start from leaves. Since the leaf cutting contains a portion of the stem with a growth bud it can be used for any type of begonia. It's mostly useful for creating as many plants as possible of a certain variety.
Say you have a cane with one stem that has several nodes with good buds. If you propagate by stem cuttings you might only get one or two cuttings. By using mallet cuttings you may get a dozen, depending on how many nodes and leaves there were.
Varieties of canes that drop their leaves easily may not be good candidates because the leaf may separate from the stem before the mallet roots. Treat mallet cuttings as you would whole leaf cuttings following the same procedures. After rooting a shoot will grow from the bud on the cutting.
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