How to Start Begonias


Begonias are a popular bedding plant, prized not only for their lush green foliage or bright blooms, but because they're one of the few flowering plants that will thrive in areas with very little sunlight. In spite of their beauty, begonias are low-maintenance plants, perfect for novices or seasoned gardeners. Take a cutting from a healthy begonia in late summer, and by spring you'll have a brand new begonia ready to be planted in your flower bed.

Step 1

Cut a stem with a sharp knife from a healthy begonia plant that is between 1 and 4 inches long, with at least 3 or 4 leaves.

Step 2

Fill a celled planting tray with damp sand or commercial potting mixture. Make a hole in each cell with the eraser end of a pencil.

Step 3

Remove two leaves at the top of the begonia, but don't remove the remaining leaves nearest the cut end. Dip the cut end of the begonia stems in a powdered rooting hormone and plant the stems in the holes in the potting medium. If the potting medium has dried out, moisten it with a spray bottle.

Step 4

Slide the planting tray into a clear plastic bag. Poke a few stakes into the tray to keep the plastic from drooping down on the begonia stem cuttings, and seal the bag.

Step 5

Put the trays in a warm room in low levels of sunlight. Don't put the begonia stem cuttings in a sunny window, because the heat will magnify in the plastic and burn the begonia cuttings.

Step 6

Re-pot the begonia cuttings into 3-inch containers filled with commercial potting soil when you notice new growth. Put the begonia cuttings in a sunny window, and keep the soil damp. Don't water until the potting mixture is soggy because excess moisture can rot the cuttings.

Step 7

Pinch the tips of the begonias occasionally to encourage the plants to develop bushy growth, instead of growing long and leggy. Plant the begonias outdoors when the weather warms up in spring and there is no danger of frost.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Celled planting container
  • Pencil
  • Powdered rooting hormone
  • Spray bottle
  • 3-inch planting containers


  • University of Nebraska: Using Cuttings to Start New Plants
  • UC Davis: Plant Propagation
Keywords: begonia, begonia plant, stem cuttings, how to start begonias

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.