With over 1,000 species of begonias, it is no wonder it's such a popular plant. Available in variety of sizes and shapes with foliage that ranges from green to bronze and blooms in shades of white, pink and brilliant red, begonias brighten shady nooks where other annuals may suffer from lack of sun.
The wax begonia grows in a dense mound, making it ideal as a bedding plant or for window boxes and planters. Propagation by stem cuttings, often referred to as slips, quickly produces plants identical to the mother plant.
Select healthy stems free of signs of disease or insect damage. Look for firm stems and well-formed foliage.
Clip the stem to a length of 4 to 6 inches. Make a cut 1/4 to 1/2 inch below a leaf node (the point where new leaves form at the stem). The leaf node contains enzymes that speed root formation. Remove foliage from the bottom 2 to 3 inches of the stem.
Place the stem cutting in a jar or vase filled with water. Check that leaves rest above the water level, as submerged foliage decays quickly and contaminates the water. Remove additional leaves, if necessary.
Put in a sunny location that receives bright filtered light. An eastern or northern window is ideal, as afternoon sun from southern or western windows may overheat the water and damage the stem cutting.
Change the water twice a week or more often if it becomes stagnant. Keep water to the original level by refilling as it evaporates.
Watch for new roots to form within a week or two, depending on the cultivar and the water and air temperature in your home.
Plant in a mixture of equal parts peat moss, all-purpose potting soil and perlite once roots are established.