Ease of propagation is one of the reasons begonias and cyclamen are so popular. Both plants have many varieties and species and come in colors ranging from white to yellow to maroon. The most common cyclamen has shell-pink blossoms. Begonia flowers are sturdy and often wax-like, either showy single blossoms or clusters of tiny flowers. Cyclamen and begonia grow well in bright shade, and many varieties thrive in full sun. There are several methods for propagation of begonia and cyclamen plants.
Cyclamen belongs to a genus of 23 flowering plants that are native to the area from the Mediterranean to Iran and Northeast Africa. There are over 1,500 species of begonia, and they are native to sub-tropical and tropical moist areas of the world. Begonias and cyclamen are easy to cultivate and propagate; there are hundreds of hybrid varieties. Their blooms are long lasting and they do well indoors. Both can be propagated from seeds and cuttings.
Cyclamen are tuberous plants that spend part of the year in a dormant state. During the dormant state the tuber can be lifted from the ground and cut into pieces for propagation. The tuber is a swollen root with growing buds, called "eyes," and roots. The portion cut off the parent tuber for propagation must have both an eye and roots.
Begonias are fleshy-stemmed plants that also grow from tubers or rhizomes. Begonias have many types of flowers in a range of color and size. They are prized for their long bloom periods, much like orchids. Begonias can be propagated by seed, leaf cutting or tuber portion. Propagation by leaf cuttings is the only way to make copies of new begonia hybrids.
Propagation is accomplished with stem, tip or leaf cuttings and a rooting medium. The rooting medium is perlite or vermiculite and sometimes sand. Rooting mediums are extremely porous but allow the correct amount of moisture retention. Delicate new roots grow easily in perlite or vermiculite without danger of rotting. Sometimes a rooting hormone compound is used to stimulate root growth.
Leaf cuttings are taken for both cyclamen and begonia propagation is several ways. All parts of the leaf are capable of forming a new plant. The only requirement is that the leaf portion contain part of the main vein. Full leaf, wedge shape and cone cuttings are the three types usually described. The advantage to cone cuttings is that a fuller new plant is created.