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Begonia Bonsai Propagation

 

from the Logee's growers

Begonia Bonsai Propagation at Logee’s

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin



 
 

Begonia ‘Richardsiana’
(Begonia dregei ‘Richardsiana’)

Begonia 'Richardsiana' forms a bulbous trunk in a short time, is easy-to-grow and makes an attractive miniature bonsai tree. Its leaves are delicate and pointed with white flowers appearing from spring through fall.


Another plus for 'Richardsiana' is its ability to thrive under dry conditions. I was in our propagation range the other day and caught up with our begonia grower. We propagate Begonia 'Richardsiana' two ways at Logee’s. The first method is by cutting and the second method is by seed. Here is how we do leaf cutting propagation. Although this way is quicker for the begonia to take root, it takes longer to form the nice bulbous trunk.





Leaf Cutting Propagation 


begonia richardson propagation
Overgrown trays of Begonia ‘Richardsiana’ that will be sheared off and used for cuttings


Shearing the present crop has two purposes. First, we harvest cuttings for the next crop. Second, the plants that have been sheared become much fuller and healthier.

Pile of cuttings for propagation                      Begonia cutting with several leaf nodes


Choosing a cutting with more than one leaf node gives the cutting a greater chance for successful propagation.


An Oasis Tray for the multi-node cutting


We stick the begonia cutting into Oasis cubes far enough to hold the cutting upright.  The leaf node, where the new growth starts, is typically above the planting medium. Once cuttings have roots, they get moved into 2.5” pots.


Seed Propagation


begonia male and female


The male and female flowers have to pollinate. This happens by air movement in the greenhouse. However, if you were doing this at home, you may have to brush your hand over the flowers every day to ensure pollination.


The seed pod grows out and down


Inside the seed pod are hundreds of small seeds, much like cayenne pepper. Simply put the seeds on a creased piece of paper to gather the seeds in a channel. Then sprinkle them in a seed tray.


begonia seed tray

 

Each one of these are separated and put into their own bonsai pot where they will grow for nearly a year before they are sold. When they are sold, they will have nicely formed bulbous trunks.



It takes 2-3 years to develop a Begonia ‘Richardisiana’
bonsai from a cutting.

 

The Begonia ‘Richardsiana’ propagated from cuttings can be sold in 6-8 weeks in a 2.5” pot. They make wonderful houseplants because they can tolerate extreme periods of dryness. However, if it is a bonsai you are after, it takes 2-3 years to fully develop the thickened caudex on the base of the plant.