Propagating Begonias

Make some baby begonias with these tips.
wax leaf begonia

wax leaf begonia

Try propagating your begonias to share or save.

Try propagating your begonias to share or save.

Birds do it, bees do it, and even begonias do it—they make babies. One way begonias make babies is with a little help from gardeners like us.

You can grow begonias from seed, but it’s much easier to propagate them from cuttings instead, and you can do this with most kinds of begonias.

To make babies from cuttings, start by snipping a few healthy leaves from your favorite begonia. Turn the leaves upside down, and slice them into wedges with a sharp, clean knife. (If you use a razor blade, be very careful!) Make sure you get a vein in each piece. You can get a lot of baby plants with this method.

If you’re only interested in getting a few new plants, you don’t have to bother with slicing the leaves. In that case, just remove some leaves from the parent plant, leaving ½” to 1” of the petiole attached to each leaf (the petiole is the stalk that holds the leaf to the stem of the plant).

To make a “nursery” for your leaves or cuttings, fill a tray with well-draining, sterile potting mix. You can use a mixture of perlite, vermiculite and peat moss, if you prefer. Stick the leaf petioles or wedges into the soil, and slip the tray into a plastic bag. Keep it out of direct sunlight, but in a warm, well-lit spot. Mist the soil as needed, so the cuttings stay moist, but don’t keep them so wet that water stands on them. This could invite disease or rot.

You should see roots starting to form in 3 or 4 weeks. In 6 to 8 weeks from the time you started, you’ll have baby plantlets ready to move into the garden or containers. 

begonia cutting in water

begonia cutting in water

A begonia cutting in water.

A begonia cutting in water.

But making baby begonias can be even easier if you root your cuttings in a glass of clean, fresh water. Baby food jars are the ideal size for this. It’s fine to put several cuttings in each jar. Once the roots are about ½” long, the cuttings are ready to transplant.  

Rhizomatous begonias—the kind that are often grown for the their beautiful foliage—will also grow from rhizome cuttings. Rhizomes are the horizontal, thickened stems that grow along or just under the soil. 

Simply cut a rhizome into pieces about 1” to 1 ½” long, and press them gently into moistened potting soil, or a moistened mix of perlite and vermiculite. As with the leaf cuttings, give them high humidity and keep them in a warm, well-lit spot out of direct sunlight until roots begin to form. 

Growing begonias from their seeds, which are as fine as dust, takes time and careful handling. Remember that if you save the seeds from your hybrid begonias, you won’t get baby plants that look exactly like the parent. That’s because hybrids are created by crossing varieties, so the seeds won’t grow “true.” Sometimes you won’t get any baby plants at all, if the hybrid seeds are sterile. 

Bringing up baby begonias is fun and rewarding, so enjoy your new plants. 

Keep Reading

Next Up

Daylily Division Tips

Spread the floral love by multiplying your flower supply. Dividing your lilies is easy!

Propagating Shrubs

Step-by-step instructions for propagating gardenias, hibiscus and azaleas.

Propagating Plants With Ease

Check out these techniques for stem, leaf and leaf-fragment cuttings, plus air layering.

Propagate Roses Quickly

Follow these easy step-by-step instructions on taking care of roses.

How to Propagate Succulents

Don't buy another plant—creating new succulents from existing leaves couldn't be easier.

A Guide to Rooting Cuttings

Learn how to root softwood and hardwood cuttings with these simple tips.

How to Propagate Ferns

Ferns are easy to propagate. Follow these steps to put more green in your garden—and your wallet.

The Begonia 411

We share some varieties to try in your home and garden.

Dividing Perennials

Follow these easy steps to divide perennials.

Plumerias and More

The plumeria can be grown in areas where it's not hardy if it's brought inside for the winter.

On TV

Log Cabin Living

6:30am | 5:30c

Log Cabin Living

7:30am | 6:30c

Desert Flippers

12:30pm | 11:30c

Desert Flippers

1:30pm | 12:30c

Desert Flippers

2:30pm | 1:30c

Desert Flippers

3:30pm | 2:30c

Flip or Flop

4:30pm | 3:30c

Flip or Flop

5:30pm | 4:30c

Flip or Flop

6:30pm | 5:30c

Flip or Flop

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Flip or Flop

8pm | 7c

Flip or Flop

8:30pm | 7:30c

Flip or Flop Atlanta

9:30pm | 8:30c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

Flip or Flop Atlanta

12:30am | 11:30c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

Flip or Flop

3:30am | 2:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.