Angl wing begonia prop. from leaf cutting

spiderplantSeptember 25, 2006

I read somewhere that you can propagate angel wings from leaves. Can you help me out? Thanks.


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I've started new angel wings many times, mainly when my main plant is getting leggy. All I do is snip off a branch, remove the bottom leaves up to the water line that I am using, and just stick it in plain water until roots appear. I like to transplant it in soil while the roots are still very small, then keep the soil wet at first, then gradually letting it become used to drier soil as the roots grow. It's actually one of the easier plants to root. (My purple heart is still in first place for ease of rooting)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 3:27PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Drew, to answer your question....yes, begonias can be propagated by leaf cuttings. This can be done several ways. I'll explain a bit about how I've done it, and I'm sure that others will jump in with some pointers, as well.

First of all, use a mature (not old or young), healthy leaf from a plant that has been properly watered the day before. Prepare your rooting medium in advance by watering it thoroughly and letting it drain completely. I use a shallow flat for something like this, and either perlite or a coarse soil-less mix with added perlite.

The new roots will emerge from the larger veins. You can make little nicks across those veins (in the back of the leaf), and place the entire leaf, back side down) flat on the rooting medium, securing it with several bent wires, pebbles, toothpicks, etc. Or you can cut your leaf into several pieces, burying each segment about 1/2 into the medium. I have even used a paper punch to cut numerous discs along the veins of each leaf, using those as propagating material. You can get a lot of new begonias with that technique, lol!

Mist the leaves well, cover with a sheet of plastic or glass cover (cracked to allow for air circulation), and place the flat or other container in a warmish area with decent, but not strong natural light.

The attached image shows examples of a whole leaf and leaf segments.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 4:24PM
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HUH....never knew that you could do Angelwing/Cane types from this method.

I've done Rex's and rhizo's like this, wish I'd seen your instructions & pics earlier...took me a while to get it right from other instructions I've found on the web. Yours describe & show it so clearly.

I still lose quite a few this way....I have better luck with Rex's by just rooting the whole leaf & stem, and getting new plants grow from the rooted end of the stem.

I'll have to try it on one of my cane-types and see how it works....course, since it's so late, that may have to wait till next spring...I've got enough to try to tuck away for winter.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 8:22PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

They can be propagated by seed, stem and leaf cuttings, and by root division. ;-) Can't miss with begonias.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 10:02PM
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notanatural(z6 NY)

oh wow- that's so cool to know because mine needs a severe pruning. I basically need to cut it all the way down to a stubby cane because the only two canes that my miserable plant has, are so long they are bent over. There has been absolutely no branching.

I have a begonia 'bubbles'. All this while I thought it was doing okay because I didn't even know what mine should look like LOL. Till recently I looked up some images and was shocked to see how full they can be. And all this time I was so pleased with my two pathetic canes which are completely bare till half way up.

Anyway, so I thought if I did cut down most of the two canes, down to stubs, I could try rooting the stems as well as some of the leaves. Is this a really bad time to do so? I successfully root different jasmines and my potato vine in water throughout the year- and also the wandering jew. But those are the only ones I have been successful with. I don't think I'm very good at rooting things in soil- tried gardenia and hibs that way but they all died. I don't know how easy the angel winged begonia will be.

I know I should probably wait till spring to chop it down, huh? But it just looks so pathetic right now I can't wait all the way till next year- ugghh!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 4:25PM
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Nota, why not try a couple leaves now, and save some for spring? Spring meaning the end of Feb beginning of March. Those you root now will give you something to do this winter. Also, it'll be good practice for those you root in spring..Toni

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 4:32PM
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notanatural(z6 NY)

So you're saying that instead of chopping it almost to the stubs, I should just give it a small pruning now and try a few leaves?

I coulda sworn I read some other postings about pruning the cane types- and someone said something about them looking kinda ugly when the tips are pruned and new growth starts. Is that true or am I just imagining that I read it?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 5:00PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I don't know what you read, but I suspect that you are not imagining. Dormant buds will break only so far down the stem, leaving gawky 'legs' instead of a nice, full, compact plant. I'm a total believer in chopping plants like this to very short stubs, but I am not sure about the appropriate timing. To me, seems like the major event should take place in the early spring.

Some people have a fear of severe pruning, when in fact, it creates a very productive response in plants.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 10:30PM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

I've been preparing to give a program on begonias, and the book says very few cane (Angelwing) begonias will grow from leaves. Sometimes they'll root, but never grow plants. The few that do grow from leaves have a rhizomatous ancester. But cane cuttings are so easy, and if you have a leggy plant it needs pruning, and then you can root the prunings. I suppose it's easier in the spring, but I'm right in the middle of doing a lot of them myself. I've been woefully remiss this very dry summer about keeping them watered, so a lot have gotten leggy. They probably root faster in the spring.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 1:42AM
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ara133(central PA)

How long does it take to propagate new begonias from leaves?

I'm currently trying the leaf propagation method with a few different begonias and, actually, some peperomias (just in case it works!). I was only able to obtain (ie pilfer) leaves of these. So I slit a few of the larger veins on the leaves and set them into a sand/vermiculite mixture and held them down with toothpicks, and i also cut up other bits of leaves into triangles (had read about that technique also) and set them into the sand. The whole tray is inside a big baggie. Does that sound about right?

It's been almost two weeks and not much is happening... how long should it take before I see something?


    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 12:21AM
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Hello. I have had my angel wing begonia for about a year now. I have many times rooted out a leaf in just a glass of water, did have a few that rotted out. I am now trying the stem method in a glass of water, and also by scoring a leaf and using toothpicks to tack it down. My plant is beautiful with 2 new shoots starting to come up (there has been others). I didn't realize though that they should flower. Mine ofcourse never has. I have a hard time growing anything that is suppose to flowere again after the first itme it blooms. Any suggestions I'd appreciate it. Thank you.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 1:50PM
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Camogirl, I find the more sun a begonia gets, the better chance of blooms. My begonias are kept in a west window, adjacent south, and about 5' across is a plant light. 3 different begonias are now in bloom.
Summers outdoors, in a semi-sunny spot should help, too. Toni

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 4:46PM
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notanatural(z6 NY)

Hey at least you have new shoots coming up- I get plenty of flowers but only managed one new shoot in the whole year that I've had my angel wing. And that too, I had cut off one really hung over shoot right before that- so I was back to even.

Strangely, I do really well rooting the stems in water. I root a lot of stuff in water and most take about 3-4 weeks minimum whereas the begonia takes one week to start showing roots. I've never tried just the leaf but I can't see how it would survive in water. I know there are special ways of rooting begonia leaves and I've read great instructions somewhere on this site before- but not sure if it was in this forum.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 7:41AM
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I have started many rhizomatous (and rex) begonias by water rooting leaf cuttings. For cane (angel wing) begonias, it is very easy to water root the stems - never the leaves on this class of begonia.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 3:34PM
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