The Complete Guide to Propagating Begonias: Step-by-Step Instructions from Start to Finish


Propagating begonias is a rewarding and cost-effective way to expand your collection or share your favorite varieties with friends. Whether you have cane-stemmed or fibrous-rooted begonias, there are several methods for successful propagation. In this step-by-step guide, we will take a look at how to propagate begonias from cuttings and rhizomes, as well as tips for troubleshooting and overwintering.

First, it’s important to choose the right candidate for propagation. Look for healthy begonias with strong stems and vibrant leaves. It’s best to take cuttings from early growth or late summer when the plants are most active. Make sure to use clean and sharp tools to avoid damaging the plant.

To propagate cane-stemmed begonias, start by selecting a suitable plastic pot or container filled with a well-draining potting mix. Take a cutting with at least two nodes from the mother plant, making sure to include a leaf or two. Remove any lower leaves and place the cutting into the potting mix, ensuring the nodes are covered. Mist the cutting with water to help with root development.

For fibrous-rooted begonias, it’s best to propagate from rhizomes. Carefully remove a healthy rhizome from the mother plant, making sure to slice it at an angle to identify the top and bottom. Plant the rhizome onto the potting mix with the top facing up, and gently press it into the soil. Water the rhizome regularly to keep it moist, but avoid overwatering.

After planting the cuttings or rhizomes, place the pot in a warm and brightly lit area. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Be patient, as begonias can be slow to root. In a few weeks to a few months, you should start to see new growth emerging. Once the roots have established and the plant is growing well, you can transplant it into its final container or into the ground outdoors.

When overwintering begonias, there are a few things to keep in mind. Cane-stemmed varieties can be brought indoors and treated as houseplants, while tuberous begonias can be stored in a cool and dry place. Fibrous-rooted begonias can be overwintered by bringing them indoors and cutting the stems back to about 6 inches. Make sure to check on the plants regularly and water sparingly during this dormant period.

In conclusion, propagating begonias is a fun and rewarding process that allows you to create more of your favorite plants. Whether you choose to propagate from cuttings or rhizomes, following these step-by-step instructions and tips will help you successfully propagate your begonias and enjoy their beautiful blooms for years to come.

How to Propagate Begonia Step-By-Step Guide With Pictures

Looking to propagate your begonia? There are several methods you can try, but one of the most common and effective methods is propagating from stem cuttings.

The first step in propagating begonia is choosing a healthy, single stem to take your cutting from. You want to make sure the stem is not too woody or too young, as this can affect the success of your propagation. A stem that is about 4-6 inches in length is usually ideal.

To take the cutting, you will want to make a clean slice just below a leaf node. Gently twist the cutting to remove it from the main plant. If you are propagating a cane-stemmed begonia, you can also take a cutting from the tip of the stem.

Once you have your cutting, it’s time to prepare it for propagation. Remove any leaves from the lower portion of the stem, leaving only a few leaves at the top. This will encourage the cutting to focus its energy on growing roots rather than supporting leaves.

If the stem is large, you can slice it into smaller sections, each with a leaf node, to create multiple cuttings. This can increase your chances of success if some of the cuttings fail to root.

Now it’s time to get your cutting ready for planting. Dip the cut end of the stem into a rooting hormone powder. This will help stimulate root growth and increase the chances of success.

Fill a small container with a well-draining soil mix. Make a small hole in the soil with a pencil or your finger, then place the cutting into the hole, burying the bottom node of the stem. Gently firm the soil around the cutting, making sure it is secure.

Water the soil lightly after planting to settle it around the cutting. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.

Place the container with the cutting in a warm, well-lit area, but avoid direct sunlight. Begonias prefer bright, indirect light. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and mist the leaves occasionally to provide humidity.

Over the next few weeks, keep an eye on your cutting. If you see new growth emerging from the stem, it’s a good sign that roots have formed. Once the cutting has established a good root system, you can begin to care for it like a mature begonia plant.

As your begonia grows, you may need to repot it to a larger container to accommodate its roots. Choose a pot that is slightly larger than the current one and fill it with a well-draining soil mix.

If you have multiple propagations, you can also choose to plant them together in the same pot. This can create a fuller, more lush look for your begonia arrangement.

In addition to stem cuttings, there are other methods of propagating begonias, such as leaf and rhizomatous division. Leaf propagations involve taking a leaf cutting and placing it on top of moist soil until roots and a new plant develop. Rhizomatous division involves separating the roots of an established begonia plant into smaller sections that can be potted individually.

Some begonia varieties may also propagate from bulbs or bulb-like structures. These bulbs can be planted in separate containers or in vessels with other plants for a unique arrangement.

If you are overwintering your begonia cuttings indoors, they can be placed on a windowsill or in an area with bright, indirect light. Keep the soil lightly moist and avoid overwatering during the dormant months. Once spring arrives, your begonias should start to grow again.

Although most begonias can be propagated using the basic methods mentioned, there are some hybrids that may require specialized care or propagation techniques. If you encounter any issues or have questions, it’s always best to consult with an experienced gardener or horticulturist.

So, if you’re looking to propagate your begonia, give stem cuttings a try. With a little patience and care, you can grow a whole new plant from just a single cutting!


If your begonia cutting is not rooting or if the leaves start yellowing or dropping, there may be an issue with the rooting process. Check that the soil is well-draining and that you are not overwatering the cutting. You can also try using a rooting hormone powder to stimulate root growth.

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History and Culture of Begonias

Begonias have a rich history and cultural significance. They are native to tropical and subtropical regions, particularly in South America and Asia. The name “begonia” was given by French botanist Charles Plumier in the 17th century, in honor of his colleague Michel Bégon.

Begonias have been cultivated for centuries, with evidence of their cultivation dating back to 1400 BC in ancient China. They were highly regarded by gardeners and botanists for their striking foliage and beautiful flowers. Over time, begonias have become increasingly popular among gardeners and horticulturalists worldwide.

Today, there are hundreds of different begonia species and hybrids available, each with its own unique characteristics and requirements. From fibrous begonias with their small, delicate flowers to tuberous begonias with their large, showy blooms, there is a begonia suitable for any garden or indoor space.

When it comes to propagating begonias, there are several different methods that can be used. Taking stem cuttings is one popular method, where a healthy stem is cut just above a leaf node and placed in a suitable growing medium. This method allows gardeners to create new plants from a single begonia, ensuring that they can continue to enjoy their favorite varieties for years to come.

Choosing the right materials for begonia propagation is essential. A clean, sharp knife or scissors should be used to make clean cuts, and a rooting hormone can be applied to encourage healthy root development. The cuttings should be placed in a suitable growing medium, such as peat moss or perlite, and kept in a warm, shaded area with good airflow.

Monitoring the cuttings is important, as they need to be kept moist but not overwatered. Over time, tiny roots should start to appear, indicating that the cuttings are taking root. Once the cuttings have developed a healthy root system, they can be potted up into their final containers.

When it comes to keeping begonias happy and healthy, there are a few key tips to keep in mind. Begonias prefer bright, indirect sunlight, so placing them near a window or on a well-lit windowsill is ideal. They also like to be placed in areas with high humidity, so misting the leaves or placing a tray of water nearby can help create a suitable environment.

Adequate watering is another important factor in begonia care. They prefer to be watered from the bottom, by placing the pot in a tray of water and allowing the plant to soak up the moisture. However, it’s important not to let the plant sit in water for too long, as this can lead to root rot. A good rule of thumb is to water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

In colder areas, begonias are often grown as houseplants or brought indoors for the winter months. They are not frost-tolerant, so they should be moved indoors before the first frost. Keeping the temperature around 60-70°F (15-21°C) and providing adequate light will help ensure that they remain healthy and continue to grow throughout the winter.

In conclusion, begonias have a long and fascinating history, with a wide variety of species and hybrids to choose from. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner, there is a begonia that is perfect for you. By following the basic steps of begonia propagation and providing the right care, you can enjoy the beauty and elegance of begonias in your own home or garden for years to come.

Tools for Propagating Begonias

Propagation is an essential part of begonia culture, and having the right tools can make the process easier and more successful. Here are some tools that can help you identify and propagate different begonia varieties:

  1. Sharp blade or knife: This tool is essential for taking stem cuttings or leaf petioles from the parent plant.
  2. Rooting hormone: Applying rooting hormone to the cuttings helps speed up root growth and ensures successful propagation.
  3. Planters or pots: Plastic or clay planters are ideal for holding the cuttings while they develop roots. Make sure to choose ones with good drainage to prevent water logging.
  4. Twist-tie or rubber band: These can be used to secure the cuttings in the planters or pots.
  5. Sprayer or mister: Regularly misting the cuttings with water helps maintain humidity and promote healthy root growth.
  6. Rooting tray or container: A shallow container filled with a suitable rooting medium (such as perlite or vermiculite) can be used to root the cuttings.

When propagating begonias, it’s important to keep a few basic tips in mind:

  1. Choose a healthy parent plant as your candidate for propagation.
  2. Take stem cuttings or leaf petioles from the parent plant, making sure to include a few nodes.
  3. Remove any flowers or buds from the cuttings, as they can divert energy away from root development.
  4. Lightly dip the cut end of the stem or petiole in rooting hormone before planting.
  5. Plant the cuttings in a rooting medium, making sure to position the nodes above the surface.
  6. Keep the cuttings in a warm and humid environment with good airflow.
  7. Ensure that the rooting medium stays moist, but not waterlogged.
  8. Monitor the cuttings regularly and watch for the development of roots.
  9. Once the cuttings have rooted, carefully repot them into individual containers with well-draining soil.
  10. Provide the newly propagated begonias with proper care and follow a guide to ensure their healthy growth.

Using these tools and following the proper techniques, you can successfully propagate begonias and expand your collection. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced begonia enthusiast, propagation is a rewarding and enjoyable process that allows you to create new plants and share them with others.

✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.