January 11, 2023

Begonia cuttings: I may have jumped the gun

Begonias, or wax plants, are a staple among my plantings every year. My grandmother loved red begonias and I feel that keeping a red wax plant keeps my connection to her more alive. Begonias are easy to come by in the spring, so I've not always bothered with 'wintering over' a mother plant. Some years the day job got to me that much.

This year, I brought in two red and two white wax plants to winter over as mother plants. Last summer I noticed my veggie garden lacked some color and I want to remedy that in the 2023 season. My plan for this year included space for annual bloomers.  

I have a five-tier planter that was originally bought with strawberries in mind. That didn't work out so well. I think the planting cubbies are too shallow for berries, but they are perfect for begonias. I need fifteen plants to fill it. 

I may have jumped the gun.

A few days ago I noticed two of the mother plants were beginning to fade. My fault. I did something stupid and one evening turned on the space heater in my office without setting the plants in the other room. Sometimes plants don't do well around ceramic heaters and I suspect that's what happened. I ordered a tray of peat pellets and they arrived yesterday. 

I've gone ahead and taken cuttings from the two plants that were looking stressed. It may be too early for the cuttings to grow, but established wax plants are tough enough to rebound if judiciously cut back. It'll be a win/win if all goes well. I'll still have the mother plants in their red pots and I'll have enough young plants to fill the planter. And I have two large wax plants that don't seem to be affected by exposure to the heater. 

With any luck, I'll be able to get the begonias in the planter around mid-April, and let them harden off in the greenhouse for a few weeks. That should give them a good start. 

It's only the second week of January. Did I start the cuttings too soon? Maybe. But since I needed to trim the mother plants, I'm only out a few peat pots if the cuttings don't root. I think it was worth the gamble. 

The Lady of the Hideaway

Holly Tree Manor, The Hideaway, begonias, wax plants, gardening, rural living, country lifestyle, traditions, annual plantings, greenhouse

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