September 14, 2012
Leaf Layering - A Good Way to Propagate Begonias
Last week, I posted a blog called, “Propagating Hydrangeas From Cuttings” and we received so many wonderful comments. By the way, I love reading your comments and encourage you to leave more! Today, I’d like to show you another easy way of propagating new plants using a method known as leaf layering. This works especially well for plants like begonias and African violets. I first became interested in begonias when I visited my maternal grandparents in Buffalo, New York, when I was just a little girl. Grandma had several large begonia plants on her sun porch and dining room windowsills. I loved their convoluted leaves, their unusual colors, and their scaly and hairy stems. It was Grandma who first showed me how to leaf layer, as she wanted me to have beautiful begonias like hers back home in New Jersey. So lately, we’ve been propagating begonias and other plants in the greenhouse. I had some new pots from master potter, Guy Wolff and Ryan McCallister, my gardener, planted them with begonias made from leaf layering. It's a great way to propagate, multiply, and even give.
1 As you may know, in my greenhouse, I have a large collection of beautiful begonias, many of which were grown from leaf cuttings.
2 Begonia leaves root easily. All you need to do is snip a leaf, push its stem into potting soil, and keep it moist. After a few weeks, or more, you should start to see new leaves emerge. When the roots are fully established, you can pot up the new plant.
3 When rooting leaves, we like to fill flats with a mix of sand and potting soil and cover the mix with a layer of perlite, which provides support to the leaf cuttings.
4 An alternative to rooting from the stem is a process called leaf layering, which gives you multiple plants from a single leaf.
5 My gardener, Ryan McCallister, used a sharp slicing blade to cut around the stem of a begonia leaf.
6 Technically, each of the green veins in this leaf could form a new plant.
7 However, Ryan included two or three veins per leaf section to obtain faster results and more roots.
8 He then formed slits in the potting mix using a metal ruler.
9 Ryan then placed a leaf section into each slit and watered them gently, never allowing the potting mix to dry out.
10 Eventually, as seen in this photo, new leaves have formed, creating an entirely new plant!
11 In addition to begonias, Ryan also rooted succulent plants in much the same manner.
12 I say, we have many fine and healthy specimens to share with family and friends. Now they just need to be divided and potted.
13 I thought it would be nice to pot the begonias in some of my special white clay pots made by expert potter Guy Wolff.
14 Occasionally, and quite sadly, a pot or two will fall over and break, but the pieces of those pots are saved for potting purposes.
15 A shard of pottery goes over the hole in the bottom of each pot to keep the potting mix from escaping, but still allowing for water to drain.
16 A good potting mix is scooped
17 And placed in the pots.
18 Notice that M. Stewart was stamped on each of these pots. No need for a gift card!
19 Ryan began lifting and dividing the begonia plants, carefully pulling apart the root clumps.
20 You can see the original leaf cutting in his left hand. Look at the plant one small piece of leaf produced!
21 The yield is very impressive!
22 Ryan placed each plant into a pot and covered the roots with potting soil.