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How To Propagate Begonias: The RIGHT Way!

Want to know how to propagate Begonias the right way? Here are 3 main ways to propagate begonias so they can continue growing happily!

Begonia is a genus of plant that refers to over 2,000 plant species, from houseplants to perennial backyard plants.

Hardy and traditional, begonias are one of the most common houseplants due to their minimal care requirements and tolerance to occasional neglect. Not to mention that with numerous species within the genus, begonias are endearing and gorgeous to look at. 

Buying new plants can be an expensive and repetitive task for hobbyists and plant lovers. What a lot of beginners don’t know is that you can grow your own begonias from a single plant in a process called propagation. 

Whether you’re new to propagating begonias or you’re new to propagating in general, we’ve got you covered. Here is everything you need to know about how to propagate begonias! 


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How To Take Begonia Cuttings 

There are three main types of begonias, which means there are three methods of cutting for propagation. These types are tuberous, rhizomatous, and fibrous-rooted.

It doesn’t really matter which cutting method you use for these types, so here are the three cutting methods for propagating begonias to choose from!

Regardless of the cutting method you choose to use, make sure that your equipment (scissors or a sharp knife) is properly sterilized to prevent spreading bacteria. 

Use a quality sharp grafting knife for quick clean propagating cuts!

  • Leaf cuttings

Simply choose a large and healthy leaf, and make a cutting where the leaf meets the leaf stem. 

  • Stem cuttings

This is the most popular cutting method as begonias are great at regrowing its cane-like stems. To complete this method, simply cut a 2-4 inch stem with a couple of leaves at the top. 

  • Rhizome cuttings

This method is similar to the stem cutting method, but it can only really be done for rhizomatous begonias. Simply make a stem cutting (it doesn’t need to have leaves, though) large enough to cut the rhizome into 2” pieces. These stems must have growth nodes to encourage propagation. 

Note– If you want to make your green fingers happier and your life easier, you can use this affordable 83 piece ultimate gardening set to help you repot like a pro!

How To Propagate Begonias 

Water Propagation

Propagating a plant using the water method is probably the most popular propagation method. This is because it allows everyone to see how the roots are growing, which only enhances the overall interest around how plants grow. 

  1. Once making your cutting, submerge the stem into clean, room temperature water in a container or jar. The leaves should be out of the water. 
  2. Place the jar or container on a windowsill where it has exposure to sunlight. Warm and light areas are the perfect growing conditions for propagation. 
  3. However, make sure the sun exposure isn’t completely direct, as this will heat up the water inside the jar, which the begonia won’t like. 
  4. It will generally take around 2-3 weeks for the roots to grow. Once they have grown an inch long, you can then move your cutting into a pot with soil.
  5. To make the potting mix, combine peat moss with perlite. This combination is rich in nutrients and has a good drainage system. 
  6. Simply plant the cutting into the potting mix inside a small container and ensure that the soil remains moist at all times. 
  7. After 3-4 weeks, the cutting can be moved to a larger container with a new potting mix, and then you can water it normally. 

It’s normal for a cutting to respond somewhat negatively when you first plant it into soil. This is because plants are prone to stress as a result of an environmental change, but they will soon adapt to their new surroundings. 

Place your plant cuttings in propagation test tubes for better root development and storage!

Soil Propagation 

While the water propagation method is cool to see how the roots grow, it’s not seen as a necessary step by some hobbyists. This is because the cutting will have to adapt to the soil propagation, which can often result in a period of dormancy until the cutting gets used to its new environment. This propagation method cuts out the middle man. 

  • Use as many containers as necessary (one for each cutting). Fill these containers with the potting mix, which is a combination of peat moss and perlite. 
  • Simply plant the cuttings in the soil about halfway down. 
  • Ensure to keep the soil moist but not damp. 
  • Place the containers in a warm and light place that doesn’t provide exposure to direct sunlight. 

The one downside with soil propagation is that you can’t see how the roots are growing. The water propagation method allows you to see whether the roots are growing successfully or not, which will indicate the success of the cutting.

However, as you can’t see how the roots are growing in soil, you won’t know whether the cutting was successful until it starts to grow. 

Leaf Propagation

  • Prepare a plastic seedling tray with the potting mix. 
  • If possible, dip the petiole into rooting hormone. The petiole is the part of the leaf that connects to the stem. 
  • Plant the leaf cutting into the soil so the petiole is covered, but the leaf itself isn’t. Some hobbyists like to pin the leaf down so the petiole is just touching the soil, but isn’t submerged. 
  • Move the plastic seedling tray to a warm and light area, or even a germination station if you have one. Ensure to keep the soil moist. 
  • After a few weeks, the cutting should grow its own root system to store nutrients and energy from the leaf. 

Rhizome Propagation 

  • Prepare the plastic seedling tray in the same way as the leaf propagation method. 
  • Horizontally lay the rhizome pieces on the soil and push them down into the soil. They should be half covered. 
  • Place the plastic seedling tray in a warm and light area and keep the soil moist. 
  • Over time, the submerged part of the rhizome cutting will sprout roots, while the exposed part will develop leaves. 

Place your propagated stem cutting under artificial grow lights for longer light exposure under controlled conditions!

When To Propagate Begonias 

The best time to propagate begonias is in spring just towards the end of the plant’s dormancy season. This is because the plant will have started gathering energy for regrowth, meaning the cuttings will store enough starch and nutrients to grow into a new plant. You can propagate begonias whenever you like, but propagation in spring will provide the fastest results.