Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rex Begonias from leaf cuttings

Isn't leaf propagation exciting?!?! No? Well, keep reading...

So you have a plant that looks like this:

Begonia rex 'Stained Glass,' I think. If anyone knows the variety of this guy, let me know!

And it's awesome so you want more of them. While rex begonias (aka Begonia rex) make great houseplants, with leaves like these you will obviously want more of them to throw in your annual flower pots this summer. You can buy more, or you can grow your own by asking for (or snitching) a leaf from a friend's plant or municipal flower bed.

Step 1 - Select a healthy leaf or two.

Step 2 - Trim the leaf so that the veins are exposed. You can use one leaf to get multiple pieces, just as long as there are some veins in each piece.

Step 3 - Stick your little leaf piece in some soil. It doesn't really matter which end is up, as long as some of the veins are in the dirt.

If you look close, you'll see little baby leaves at the top. So cute!

Step 4 - Keep the soil moderately moist for a few weeks. You don't have to have perfect light; I put my begonia babies on an east-facing windowsill and they did fine. Just don't keep them too moist, or they may rot. It may also help to cover the pot with a clear plastic baggie or something to keep the humidity up.

I've read in several places that rex begonias can take up to 90 days to root and sprout, but mine took after about 3 weeks. I'm not sure if this is because I used a variety that roots more easily than others or if I just got lucky, but either way it's a good idea to start now if you want plants for this summer.

My baby rex after about a month and a half. I'm so proud!

There are gazillions of rex varieties out there, so you can swap leaves with your friends like baseball cards. Speaking of which, if anyone out there has a fine specimen of Begonia rex 'Escargot,' will you share a leaf with me?


  1. Gretchen, your post inspires me to lead a life of plant crime, assaulting city flower beds.
    Awesome! And those leaves are stunning.

  2. Ha! Just don't bring up my name if you get caught!

    The begonia in the pics is a $2 cheapo from Lowe's. I get lucky and find some good stuff there every now and then.