I love perennial Begonias. The colors and leaf formations are delightful and the surprise little blooms that pop up on long stems are lyrical. However, they can be pricey, especially if you are buying them in the spring on top of all your other spring garden store purchases. A wonderful gardening trick is to make plants with plants, by propagating from what stock you already have you can increase your collection. Besides adding to your own houseplant treasury this makes a beautiful teacher or hostess or holiday gift for the upcoming months.
All you need is a begonia plant, if you don’t have one check out your local nursery they may have some still left from their spring. If they don’t, you may have a friend who has a few pots and would be willing to donate a leaf or two.
Supplies you will need: Begonia, Potting mix, Perlite, Spray bottle and a Container.
I used a seed starting tray, but a simple terra-cotta pot would work just as well or you can recycle a plastic salad container and the lid as a starting tray.
Mix 2 parts Perlite to 1 part potting mix. Add the mix to the container you will be using and lightly moisten. You want the mix to be at least 2″ or more deep. Take your begonia leaf and cut with a clean pair of scissors or shears. Place cut side of leaf into damp mix till it’s about 1/2″ deep and the cut side is completely in contact with the potting mix. I just use my finger to make an indentation and then gently push the mix up against the leaf.
Keep in a brightly lit, warm room out of direct sunlight. Mist a few times a day with room temperature water to keep the mix damp (not wet). If you don’t have a humid room to place the tray, cover with plastic wrap until the leaves take root (I would recommend this). You will see condensation form, which is fine, don’t worry. Leave the cuttings covered until the leaves take root, and start to create a few shoots, then uncover. Once you have leaves growing from the shoots you can replant your new Begonias in a decorative pot. Once planted in their pots you can now place your new Begonia in a room with lots of indirect light to enjoy through the long winter months. When spring arrives and the last frost has passed you can move your Begonias outside to enjoy.
Remember that giving plants to friends and family make unique and special gifts.