How to Propagate Rex Begonia
Rex begonias are marvelous herbaceous plants that come in a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes. Their flowers are not particularly showy, but they have been popular indoor plants since Victorian times. In warm, humid climates, they grow well outdoors and make a lovely border or accent plant. Regardless of their endless variety, all rex begonias may be propagated through a single method: leaf cuttings. It’s fairly simple to do if you pay attention to light, soil, temperature and moisture requirements. An initial investment of one mature rex begonia can easily yield many more plants.
- Moderately Easy
things you’ll need:
- Potting soil
- Rex begonia leaf
- Humidifier (in dry climates)
- Prepare a small pot with a mixture of one part potting soil to one part vermiculite. Moisten with water and set aside.
- Pinch a healthy leaf from your mature rex begonia. Pinch off most of the stem, or petiole. Plant it in the soil to the base of the leaf. Add more water, and make sure the pot drains well from the bottom.
- Place the cutting in a window that gets filtered light for most of the day. The leaf cutting will begin to root in about a week. Continue watering during this time, allowing the soil to drain well and become somewhat dry before each watering. Keep the cutting away from hot air registers, and turn on a humidifier if your indoor humidity is less than 50 percent.
- Watch for tiny plantlets to begin forming at the base of the leaf. These are your new rex begonias, beginning to grow. When they grow to a height of an inch, pinch them away from the original leaf and repot, keeping them in the same soil medium and on the same watering schedule.
- Leave the original leaf in its position, where it will continue to sprout new plantlets.
Tips & Warnings
Rex begonia can be propagated from seed, but the new plants will likely be a different shape or color than the parent plant and possibly not as healthy.
Never let rex begonias sit in water. Their roots will rot quickly.