Does your friend have a beautiful Begonia that you would love to have, too? Ask her/him for a leaf with stem and start your own plant for free!
Just plunk that leaf’s stem into a jar with water and refresh the water once a week. Put the container in a window with lots of light, but not hot sun. Clear glass seems to do the job best. Before you know it, little roots will start to grow out the bottom of the stem.
Once roots appear, your Begonia is ready to transplant to a pot of its own. Mix up a houseplant potting mix with quite a bit of water. Remember your Begonia is transitioning from all water to soil. So, a wet mix is good to start off with.
After planting, put your new plant in lots of light, but avoid hot, direct sun again. Fluorescent growing lights are great for this purpose, but not necessary for success. Let the soil dry until just slightly moist before watering again. Then water as you would any houseplant.
Start a new batch of leaves in water to keep making new, free houseplants. Many plants are able to be propagated this way: Pothos, Christmas & Thanksgiving Cactus, Night-Blooming Cereus and African Violets among them.
For a time, it will look like nothing is happening. Then, one day, a few tiny leaves will appear, pushing up through the soil at the base of the stem. Here’s a Begonia that is only 6 months old!
Within a year or less, your Begonia will be lush and lovely. Here are a couple mature Begonias started using this leaf technique. Keep a few “parent” plants on hand and start new plants from them for all your friends and family.
This is a great way to start new plants that are difficult to find or expensive to buy. I just found these beautiful African Violets at a church bazaar. They had been grown from leaf starts as well. Follow suit and have starts for your next charity organization’s sale!
Pretty soon I will have lots of new plants started to fill up the empty spots in our greenhouse. I’ll be growing them for our annual Master Gardener fundraiser sale. For just the cost of a little soil and your time, you can have lovely gifts or fundraising items, too!
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