Known for their beautiful leaves, begonias are colorful plants that were particularly popular for their hardiness during Victorian times, when homes tended to be chilly and drafty. Their leaves can measure anywhere from 1/2 inch across to more than a full foot and can be rounded or shaped like a star, with a texture that’s either smooth and glossy or soft and fuzzy.
Begonias thrive in locations with strong, filtered light, and they do best when exposed to early or late direct sun. It’s also important to protect begonias from strong winds. Almost all begonias are considered tropical plants, though some are native to the rainforest, while others hail from drier locations. Overwatering is the greatest problem associated with growing begonias.
One of the easiest ways to make more begonia plants is to propagate them using this simple leaf-cutting technique.
- Fill tray with loose potting mix.
- Water gently.
- Turn a leaf on its back.
- Cut into wedges with clean, sharp knife. You can trim the size of the wedge so it doesn’t lose too much water (remember, it has no roots right now). Each piece should have a vein in it.
- Insert leaf wedges into the tray on an angle, all facing the same direction—that way, they won’t cover the growing plant.
- Place the plant in a humid area, or in a plastic bag out of direct sunlight. Mist sparingly, several times a day at first; after a few days, mist only as needed. You do not want water sitting on the leaves all the time, particularly at night.
- A plant should root in approximately 3 to 4 weeks. At about 6 to 8 weeks after propagation, the new plantlet will start growing actively and should be transplanted.