The flowering season for my Mexican and Central
American begonias is coming to an end Pictured below is B.
nelumbifolia in bud, it is one of the largest rhizomatous
begonias in section Gireoudia. It is found from Mexico to Columbia
at elevations from sea level about 1000m. It has peltate
leaves [40 x 30cm] and the petioles are covered in small white
of my favourite things about begonias is that they are easily
propagated and there are may ways to do this.
A recent article in Begonia
Australis the journal of AABS listed 7 techniques for vegetative
propagation. These methods will produce genetically identical
replicas [clones] of the original plant. These are the
techniques that I use to propagate begonias;
Take a healthy section
of rhizome, cut a way any old or damaged leafs and then pot in
potting medium [see March] and water. Place in a warm light place.
It may help to place the pot in a sealed plastic bag or propagator
to raise the humidity. The cutting should start to grow within a
few weeks. Alternatively, you can root the cutting by placing it in
a plastic box with an air-tight lid with some moist chopped sphagnum
moss and perlite [see April].
There are some
shrub-like species [e.g. B. kellermanii] and more unusually
rhizomatous species [e.g. B. goegoenis] that can only be
vegetatively propagated this way.
My current favourite
propagation technique is to place a petiole cutting or leaf wedge in
a small plastic container with an air-tight lid with some moist
chopped sphagnum moss and perlite [see April] and place in a light
place until it roots, then pot-on using standard potting mix. I
have read that some people prefer to use moistened kitchen towel
rather than sphagnum moss.
Petiole cuttings, in my
opinion, produce the best results because it gives you plants with
multiple growing points.
Leaf wedge cuttings are
useful if you have a plant gets into trouble [gets too wet or too
cold] you can use this technique to save your plant. Note, however,
the smaller the leaf section the longer it will taken the new plant
Leaf wedges are useful
for species or hybrids with very large leaves, which, makes using
the whole leaf impractical. Although, it is possible to remove most
of leaf blade with a sharp knife.
It is, of course,
essential to make sure you wash your hands and that all tools, pots
and containers are cleaned/sterised prior to use.