How to Propagate Plants

Plant propagation is a lot of fun. You can share plants with friends, fill in your own garden and make exact genetic duplicates of plants you really like. The major methods of asexual propagation are cuttings, layering, budding and grafting. Cuttings involve rooting a severed piece of the parent plant; layering involves rooting a part of the parent and then severing it; and budding and grafting involve joining two plant parts from different varieties. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden has an excellent illustrated article on how to propagate plants asexually by three methods: division, stem cutting and leaf cutting.

I love begonias. I mean I really, really love them. Begoniaceae is one of the largest flowering plant families with some 2000 different species that belong to three broad types: tuberous, rhizomatus and fibrous. Mature begonia plant range from a mere few inches to over 12 feet high. They are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, South America, and Central America. Most of them are succulents. The gamut of begonia flowers, foliage colors and sizes is incredibly diverse, and spectacular. They can be used in hanging baskets, flowerpots, and garden beds, as well as in the landscape. Visit McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach when it reopens and see their gorgeous, huge shade begonias incorporated into the landscape. I love propagating begonias. Begonias are easy to hybridize. They are also easy to propagate. In late December I placed the petiole of a healthy leaf from a favorite begonia in a small pot with soil. Here are photos to show how rapidly it grew.

A new leaf & the “mother” A second leaf - mid February

Four leaves - late March April 20th – 15” and growing

If you want to know more about these beautiful plants, see: A Beginner's Guide to Begonias: Classification and Diversity Their leaves, which vary to show- case patterns, designs or color. They are often used as hanging baskets, flowerpots, and garden beds, as well as in the landscape. This new publication of the UF/ IFAS Environmental Horticulture Department is intended for Florida gardeners and horticulturalists hoping to learn more about the different classifications of begonias as well as those interested in learning more about this potential landscape or houseplant. American Begonia Society Tuberous Begonias The ABC’s of Soil Health – I’m including this again because now you have time to enjoy it. It’s educational but fun and a great way to get young people interested in the subject.

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