How to Propagate Angel Wing Begonia

Overview

The plant family Begoniaceae includes over 1,000 identified species and thousands of cultivars, many of which have been beloved houseplants for generations. One popular set of these cultivars is referred to as cane begonias, because their hollow stems resemble bamboo canes. But most people refer to these plants with their asymmetrical, pointed leaves as "angel wing begonias." Angel wing begonias are fragile, but their beautiful vari-colored foliage and ability to thrive in low light make them ideal houseplants. Propagating angel wing begonias from leaf or stem cuttings is easy, so you can share your favorite specimens with friends and neighbors or swap with other angel wing begonia fans.

Step 1

Place mesh liner in seed tray. Fill with potting soil. Water with rain water, but do not compress the soil. Allow soil to settle for 24 hours, then top off with more potting soil to level of rim of tray and water again.

Step 2

Remove desired number of healthy leaves from a mature angel-wing begonia. Cut the petiole from the leaf with a utility knife. Score the main vein on the underside of the leaf by slicing perpendicular to the line of the vein at several locations along the leaf. Alternatively, cut a healthy stem from the begonia with a utility knife and cut it into 3-inch sections.

Step 3

Lay the each scored leaf, cut side down, on the surface of the potting medium. Alternatively, stick each stem cutting into the potting medium to a depth of 2 inches. Moisten the soil around the leaves or stem cuttings daily with rainwater, but avoid getting water on the leaves.

Step 4

When small plants emerge from the stem cuttings or leaves and the original cutting piece begins to wither, line hanging basket or pot with weed cloth and trim to fit pot neatly. Lightly fill hanging basket or pot with potting soil, water with rain water, and allow to settle over night. Top off the pot, but do not compress the soil

Step 5

Gently transplant the tiny new plants with a trowel, taking a substantial portion of the potting soil from the seed tray so as to not disturb the new plant's roots. Plant these in the new pot so that the soil just covers the plant root and does not cover the newly sprouted angel begonia stems. Water the soil with rainwater and a highly dilute solution of liquid 2-1-1 fertilizer.

Step 6

Allow new plants to dry out between waterings. Fertilize no more than once a month, and keep propagated young angel wing begonia plants in diffuse or indirect light.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat-moss based potting soil
  • Seed-starting tray with mesh liner
  • Trowel
  • Utility knife
  • Hanging basket or pot
  • 1 yard square weed cloth
  • Rain water
  • Liquid fertilizer with approximately 2-1-1 ratio

References

  • Begonia, Fibrous Rooted, Michigan State U. Extension
  • Begonia Production Guide, Henley et. al, U. Florida Central Florida Research and Education Center
  • Questions on Begonia, Ron Smith, North Dakota State U. Extension

Who Can Help

  • American Begonia Society
Keywords: angel wing begonias, propagate begonias, begonia cuttings

About this Author

Cindy Hill has practiced law since 1987 and maintained a career in freelance writing since 1978. Hill has won numerous fiction and poetry awards and has published widely in the field of law and politics. She is an adjunct instructor of ethics and communications.