Fibrous begonias often puzzle new gardeners who wonder whether they should tackle the task of propagation. The truth is that propagating techniques for a fibrous begonia aren't all that difficult. Just follow these simple steps.
Types of Fibrous Begonias
There are literally thousands of different varieties of begonias, but only a few are considered fibrous. These include
- Bedding begonias
- Wax begonias
- Semperflorens begonias
You can propagate any of these varieties through seed, by division or cuttings.
Seed Propagation Method
Seeds of fibrous begonias are so tiny that this method is a bit problematic for some home gardeners. Some hybrid varieties, however, can only be propagated using seed. Make sure the seed comes from reputable growers. Use a prepared mixture of perlite, vermiculite, sphagnum moss or peat moss. Begonia aficionados suggest using whatever is easily available and will allow sufficient air and water to reach the seeds.
Wet the planting mixture, and then sprinkle a few seeds in each pot or container. Do not cover the seed—it needs light in order to germinate. Mist the seeds after planting. Place the pots or containers under artificial light that remains on for 14 hours at a minimum. Seeds will germinate in as few as 4 days to as long as a month, depending on variety.
Although you may be tempted to immediately transplant the newly-emerged seedlings, resist! Wait until about a week after their first leaves appear. The first leaves aren’t true leaves, but are only the seedling leaves. Their purpose is to nourish the plant until roots are formed. Experts say that when the first leaf is about 1 inch in diameter, it’s the right time to transplant. You will need to transplant again about a month and a half later. At this point, use 1½-inch pots or containers.
Propagation Using Division
You can also successfully propagate fibrous by dividing the plant. Division involves simply cutting the plant into a series of pieces. Cutting a healthy begonia section is the first step. Make sure that each section contains some roots and/or eyes. Make a cut directly above a leaf node. Dip the cutting into rooting hormone powder. Prepare a potting mix of peat moss and perlite and water well.
Next, place the section into a 3-inch pot and fill with the moistened potting mix.
Enclose the pot with a clear plastic bag and set the pot in an area that gets bright, filtered light. New growth will take about 3 to 6 weeks, at which time you can remove the plastic bag.
Propagate Fibrous Begonias by Leaf Cuttings
Choose a healthy leaf, one that is vigorous, dark green in color, not too young and not too old. With a clean, sharp knife, cut a clean leaf from the inner rosette of leaves. Then, make a “V” cut in the end of the stem. Dip it in rooting hormone and place cutting into prepared potting mix. Roots will form in 4 to 6 weeks. The new fibrous begonias can then be transplanted to larger containers.