split-leaf propagaion

You can grow new begonias using the simple technique of split-leaf propagation.

Gardeners are always on the look out for ways to improve our gardens. Whether it’s buying new plants, tools, pots, soil or amendments, gardening seems to be a constant on the wallet. While gardening can prove to be a rewarding hobby, it can also prove to be expensive.

When I was in college, I worked for a retail nursery, and I wanted every plant we had for sale. Well, of course, I couldn't afford it, so I decided to sharpen my propagation skills through classes and I read every propagation book I could get my hands on. My hope was to gain more plants for a low upfront cost.

There are many different types of propagation. The two basic types can be divided into sexual propagation and asexual propagation.

Sexual propagation is the act of collecting and planting seeds, and asexual propagation consists of cuttings, divisions and layering.

One unique type of propagation is leaf cutting or split-leaf propagation. Here's how to do it on begonias:

  • Pull a few leaves off the begonia you would like to propagate. Do not to strip off all of the leaves — only take 10% or less at a time.
  • Make a slight incision on the radius of midrib of the leaf.
  • Place the leaf with the bottom side touching the potting soil. Use landscape staples or small pebbles to hold the leaf or leaves in place. Make sure the area where you made the incision is in constant contact with the potting soil.
  • Wait three to four weeks for new growth. When the new plant is about a half inch taller or more, carefully remove the plant without disturbing the root system from the potting soil.
  • Find a good spot plant in the yard, plant it and enjoy your free begonias.

Got a question?

Email gardennews@agcenter.lsu.edu. Follow Lee Rouse on Instagram, @rouses_horticulture.