27 November 2011

Propagate Begonia Stem Cuttings in water - Cane-like Angel Wing Begonia

Propagating by stem cuttings is just about the easiest way to make more begonias for next summer's garden. During the fall, I regularly trim off 3-node long cuttings and put them into the growing pots where they take root.

Now that cold weather has arrived, I root the stem cuttings in a vase of water. It's a great way to produce more pots of Begonias for next summer's garden.

Water the plant well the day before.

Take a cutting about 4-inches long, with 3 nodes, from a healthy stem.

Use a perfectly clean container. Rinse the container with a drop of bleach if you are uncertain about its spotlessness.

Remove all but the top leaf or two. There should be no leaves in the water.

The cutting should  have a healthy leaf node at the bottom. Don't leave a stub below the node. Place the cutting into the water, and place the container out of the sun. In a couple of weeks, you will see new roots beginning to form.
Check the water periodically to make sure it is still fresh. If it begins to smell, pour it out, clean the container, gently run water over the cuttings and put them in fresh water.

Angel Wing Begonia rooted cutting
When the cuttings root, keep an eye on them. If they are left in water too long, the stem will rot.

Notice the long roots on the cutting on the right. Those little leaves grew under water!

Prepare planting pots by filling with potting soil. Make a hole with a pencil. I sprinkled some moisture retention crystals in the hole.

Water well and let the water drain out. The soil will settle when you water. You may have to remake the hole and add more soil.

Remove all but the top leaf or two from each cutting. Large leaves can be cut in half.

A few of these stem cuttings could or should be shorter, but they'll be OK. When they get settled in their pots and new growth emerges, I'll pinch it off to encourage branching and leafing out.

Even though their flowers are very pretty, Cane-like Begonias are grown mostly for their beautiful leaves. I keep pots on the kichen windowsill in the winter and in a shady seating area in the summer.

To keep your plants full and attractive, pinch off the top growth. Fertilize with half-strength houseplant fertilizer.

The photo on the right is the pan with two-types of Cane-like Begonia cuttings potted and ready to grow in the shed

There is a lot more to learn about Begonias at the American Begonia Society webpage - here.


Anonymous said...

Nodes?....Nodes?,...explain nodes, I'm not some gardening genious but I've got this huge 4 foot baby that grew from a 10 inch dead-ish looking "thing" over the summer and people are screaming for babies off of it. I'd like to oblige them over the winter.

Nathan Simmons

Martha Stoodley said...

Nodes are where the leaves emerge. After the leaves fall off they are little bumps on the stem. Cut 6-inch pieces of those old stems with a node on the bottom of each piece. Stick them in water that covers the bottom two nodes and change the water regularly.
Plant in sterile potting soil when roots emerge.

Look at the photos here - http://www.bradsbegoniaworld.com/prop.htm