Gardens

Rex Begonia: How to Propagate

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Rex begonia requires a little patience and attention to detail to successfully propagate, but the results will be well worth the effort. Just follow these steps to propagate the rex begonia, whether the goal is a couple of plants or many.

Rex begonia is one of the few begonias that will send up a new plant from a single leaf. The leaf portion must contain a main vein. There are 3 types of leaf cuttings that can be used to propagate rex begonia: full leaf, wedge or cone cutting. This article covers wedge cuttings.

Tools And Materials Required:

  • Garden scissors or razor blade
  • Rex begonia leaves
  • Mixture of peat and perlite
  • Small pots or containers
  • Plastic for tenting
  • Fluorescent lighting

Step 1: Choose Healthy Leaves

Ideal leaves for propagating rex begonia are mature ones, but not too old that they're past their prime and not too young that they won't stand up. Remember that many wedge cuts can be taken from a single leaf.

Step 2: Make Appropriate Cuts

Using sterile garden scissors or a razor, cut off the edges of the rex begonia leaves, leaving the inner portion of the leaf. Then make about 2 or 3 wedge-type cuttings in the leaves. Garden scissors can be sterilized with a 5 percent bleach solution to remove any diseases they may have picked up in the garden. That's why a fresh razor blade is best. It's already sterile, is very sharp and will make precise cuts.

Step 3: Using Peat Moss To Grow Roots

While some gardeners prefer to root rex begonia in water, another popular method is to use a 1 to 1 mixture of sterile moist peat moss and vermiculite in little pots. Stick the leaf wedges into the mixture.

Step 4: Cover And Tent

Once all the rex begonia leaf wedges are planted in the peat moss/vermiculite mixture, cover all the pot with a piece of plastic or plastic bag secured with a rubber band. The idea behind sealing with a plastic bag is to keep the leaf wedges moist for a few weeks. They will seldom need watering, but check frequently to make sure the mixture hasn't dried out.

Step 5: Place Pots In Appropriate Light

Put the containers or pots in a spot that receives indirect sunlight or fluorescent light. When using fluorescent lights be sure to leave them on at least 14 hours a day.

Step 6: When To Remove Plastic And Repot

After new growth appears, take off the plastic covering and water sparingly. When growth is sufficient that the newbie rex begonia requires a new pot, transplant to a larger container. If the wedge cuttings are already growing in separate pots, transplanting may not be necessary for quite a while. Leave the baby rex begonias until they're good and ready to move elsewhere.

Growing a couple or many rex begonia plants by using the wedge leaf cutting method identified here is an easy and relatively trouble-free way of ensuring a continuous supply of these spectacular foliage begonias.

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  Photo copyright Wikimedia Commons (http://commons.wikimedia.org)