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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some have mentioned this begonia not rooting when using a leaf cutting---I have had such experiences in recent past. I found a work around for those of you with this one who would like to start more plantlets but loathe cutting into the plant's main rhizomes. This will also help those of you with other plants that have a similar issue with leaves rotting before they can set root.

First off, use only half to full-grown leaves for cuttings as these are thicker and live longer than young ones.

Despite mainstream advice on making leaf-grown cuttings in general, do not cut into the main part of the leaf with delicate plants such as this. Instead, cut about a half-inch of the stem away from the leaf and dip it in a rooting hormone (I use one made for bonsai tree cuttings). This way, if rot does set in you can remove the tip and try again.

Place the leaf in loose substrate that is moistened but not very wet, and bury the last fourth of it, stem down into the substrate. If it begins to rot, it is too wet--make the substrate looser and drier than it is.
Keep humid until rooted. It may take 2-3 weeks to set root, so be patient.

I have also had good success with hard-to-start transplants using the product called Employ Hort and Turf. It stimulates the plants' immune system and they grow in a more robust manner. The manufacturer claims it helps to resist certain diseases and pests as well.
I did an experiment using B. amphioxus with this product and in 2 weeks this plant was growing much faster and had much more chloroplasts than a nearby specimen which had not undergone the treatment. All I did was paint the solution on the leaves and let it dry, for one day only.
 

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I'm glad you started this thread Susan, I was just starting my own experiments with different methods of rooting Begonia leaf cuttings. So far I've found that some of the stuff on the internet by "experts" isn't all that useful, but I haven't tried enough different methods yet to decide on which one is my favorite. Have you ever tried rooting them in water? That was going to be my next experiment.
 

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cloning is a snap!

taking a clone from a single leaf can be somewhat challenging, and some plants require extra help. a good hormone powder can be useful for some, although most viv suitable plants seem to root very easily w/o hormone.

for something fun look at tissue cloning. cutting small leaf sections out and planting them ;) it works with some begonias. ive had small tissue clones from b. manaus root and start whole plants with ease.

james
 

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I've got a beautiful african violet at my parents house that I propogated from a section of leaf almost 7 years ago. I know, not a begonia, but just wanted to throw that out there. It produces really cool metallic-flecked flowers regularly now. Next time I go home I really want to take some leaves from that plant and see how they do in my vivs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I'm glad you started this thread Susan, I was just starting my own experiments with different methods of rooting Begonia leaf cuttings. So far I've found that some of the stuff on the internet by "experts" isn't all that useful, but I haven't tried enough different methods yet to decide on which one is my favorite. Have you ever tried rooting them in water? That was going to be my next experiment.
Some will root in water if there is some stem or rhizome and it is not completely submerged---some rooting hormone in the water will help accelerate this so that the plant will not rot.
There is a product called Oasis that holds water (it seems similar to the super-absorbent polymer used to hydrate crickets) which helps to root plants, and seems to be equitable to water. I have not used it--if you do, let me know how it fares. Another product I have used that has worked very well are called Root Riot cubes. With begonia cuttings I cut them into fourths so that the roots can get good nourishment as soon as they are rooted.
Some begonias (like hoeheana) will not root from a leaf simply b/c their leaves are thinner than paper. In this case you have to use a rhizome cutting, and there is generally greater success for the larger specimens than the smaller ones that you use.

@James---I am doing some tissue culture with leaf tips. It works well with incisa and bipinnatifida, some of the 'fern leaf' begonias, and other faster-growing types. Manuas is pretty viv-hardy and has a thicker leaves, so I see how it would work with that one, too.

With vining/trailing/scandent begonias and plants, sticking them in substrate simply will not work--they'll rot on you. The trick is to lay them on the soil with the cut tip above it, keeping the humidity very high, so it will root for you. The begonia 'Lita, Ecuador' is such a one that needs this treatment.

With cane begonias like chlorosticta and amphioxus, I make a sort of pit in the substrate and leave a bit of air pocket around the tip but do not put the substrate on it whatsoever--again, keeping it very humid. Laying the cutting on top of the substrate on its side is good, too.
Plant leaves will grow thicker if given periodic ventilation, and also be easier to root over time. I have found it nearly impossible to make new cuttings from chlorosticta when its leaves are thinner than paper and dissolve within two weeks.
 

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Someone gave me some begonia leaves today. I know nothing about propagating from leaf cuttings, so I found these photos and instructions online.
Some people recommend laying the leaf on the surface of the substrate, but this is a little different.
Just not sure if I can trust the instructions from an Ex-Con.

Leaf Layering – A Good Way to Propagate Begonias - The Martha Stewart Blog
 
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