Can Begonias grow in water? yes, you can grow begonia in the water right in your living room to create beautiful bouquets of different begonias in jars. This article is all about the process and the little, but crucial things you need to do and avoid to do get it right the first time.
For many, questions like, ‘Can Begonias grow in water?’ throws up images of complicated hydroculture or hydroponics processes. Fortunately, propagating and growing most species of begonias is pretty straightforward.
Begonias, like most plants, are naturally wired to reproduce new plants when they come into contact with water. They do this by sprouting new roots. This is a survival instinct embedded in plants to perpetuate the species especially in less than ideal growing conditions.
Table of Contents
Can Begonias Grow In Water?
When it comes to growing begonias in water, the leaves with their thick, succulent petioles (the small stalk connecting the leaf to the main stem) are the primary resources. Most gardeners invested in growing houseplants consider Begonia water propagation not only the easiest way to birth new plants but also the most convenient means of growing them into maturity without using pots and soils.
Also, growing Begonia in water is recommended for people who have had little success cultivating them in soil and/or don’t want to deal with the dirt that comes with using soil to grow plants. Using only water to grow Begonias is as tidy as it can get.
Begonia species that are very accommodating to the idea of propagating and growing exclusively in water include common varieties like Rex begonias, Begonia maculata, hardy wax Begonias, and Tuberous Begonias. The common property that promotes growth in water is the nodes that easily sprout roots in water.
The Begonia can become established as a matured plant in about a couple of months give or take a week depending on the Begonia variety and growing conditions.
Growing Begonias in Water – Growing Conditions & Tips
- The quality of water is important. You want to use filtered, borehole, or spring water. Tap water with low ppm would also work.
- The light source is another crucial consideration. Begonias love their light but don’t do well in direct sunlight.
You can keep the plants in a bright but shaded area outdoors or close to the window in a brightly lit room.
Another option, if the room is not bright enough, is to place them directly under LED lights. These lights mimic natural daylight to help growth.
Grow bulbs and ‘daylight’ lights for plants are also very reliable. These are available for purchase in most garden stores.
- Begonias are tropical plants that grow best in warm areas. In terms of humidity and temperature for optimal growth, you are looking at levels around 50% and 75°F respectively.
If you are. growing a bunch of the Begonias together, the humidity would be probably higher than 50%. But that is okay as long as the humidity in the area is neither too high nor too low relative to the ideal.
- Plant food or fertilizer is not necessary for a new Begonia leaf to sprout roots in the water. You can start adding a little bit of fertilizer after the roots become established. We recommend hydroponic fertilizer you can purchase from garden stores.
The dosage and application depend on the brand but you want to make sure you stick to the instructions. Keep in mind that you don’t need much of the hydroponic fertilizer at a time. So a little container can go a long way.
No matter the brand you are using though, a quarter of the recommended dosage would be sufficient.
- To avoid bacterial and fungal infections that can inhibit growth, change the water weekly when the Begonia is matured with established roots.
Simple Steps to Grow Begonias in Water
Things you would need:
- Begonia plant
- Small jar of water, preferably transparent.
- Cutter (Pruner, scissors, or shears)
- Sterilize your cutter using rubbing alcohol. Dishwashing soap is also an option. Rinse and allow the cutter to dry.
This step is necessary to prevent transferring harmful bacteria from the cutter to the Begonia while pruning the leaves.
- Look for and select any matured Begonia leaf. Cut the leaf from the parent plant. You want the pruned leaf to include the petiole or leaf’s stem.
There is a bit of disagreement among gardeners about the length of the petiole that should be attached to the leaf. Some insist a shorter petiole is better because the resources required to transport processed energy from the leaf down to the end of the petiole for root formation is less. And it is also less stressful for the plant to transport water from the tip of the petiole to the leaf.
However, the petiole’s length doesn’t really matter. Long or short, your Begonia leaf would produce roots as long as the growing conditions are in place. And the time difference or growth rate is not that significant.
You can cut as many leaves as possible to increase the chances of success.
- Drop each leaf cutting into the jar of water making sure only the stem is in the water. The leaf should rest on the rim of the jar for support.
- Place the jar containing the Begonia leaf cutting or cuttings in a lighted area.
- About 7 – 10 days later, the Begonia leaf should start to put out roots from the tip of the petiole inside the water.
- The only task now is to ensure the area continues getting the ideal Begonia growing conditions in terms of light and humidity.
- You don’t have to change the water at this point. Some experts claim changing the water is bad for the plant. The theory is that the water at this point contains important plant chemicals released by the leave to aid the growth of the roots.
- By the third week, the roots should start getting bigger. If you are fortunate, you’d start seeing new plantlets complete with tiny leaves growing from the roots inside the water.
In about 6 weeks, the leaves at the top would also become noticeably bigger. The growth trajectory of the new leaves would continue.
- When the roots are big and are looking mature, you want to make sure that not all parts of the roots are. submerged in water. Allow about a third to be above water, the air would be good for the plant.
- In time though, you might have to transfer your growing Begonia plants to bigger jars. Getting healthy beautiful leaves shouldn’t be an issue if you stick to the proper Begonia care routine explained above.
Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Begonias In Water
Would Begonias Root in Water?
Yes, Begonias can root in water easily. The ease the various species of the plant can shoot out roots in water is the principle underpinning the propagation of the plant using cuttings from the leaf or even stem.
Also, because they can root in water, Begonias are among common houseplants that can be grown exclusively in water from the young plant to maturity.
How to Root Begonia Cuttings in Water
You can root Begonia cuttings in water using either leaf or stem cuttings.
Each cutting must come with a growth node from where the roots would sprout in water. It takes about a week for the roots to start sprouting.
To get the best results, distilled water in a jar is recommended. You could also use spring or borehole water.
Simply dip your Begonia cuttings in the water, place the jar in a brightly lit area away from direct sunlight, and wait for the magic to happen in the coming weeks.