It only takes two steps to learn how to collect begonia seeds. Collecting begonia seeds will be a valuable skill to have when growing begonia from seeds because you can take advantage of your existing plants. Even though it’s not the most popular way to start begonias, you can make the most of the seedpods that your plants will develop after the flowering period.
Speaking of propagation, it’s worth considering growing begonias in the UK indoors. Remember that some types struggle in certain climates, so you’ll have a better chance of starting begonias in the polytunnel to guarantee healthy seedlings. After all, growing any plant from seed requires stable conditions to ensure germination.
How To Gather Begonia Seeds
Step #1. Harvesting
You want to always be on the lookout for your seedpods so that you can harvest them on time. The plants should start developing them when the flowers begin to dry and wither. Wait for the seedpods to dry before taking them off the plant, but don’t take too long in letting them dry as they might split open, and you’ll end up losing seeds to harvest.
Step #2. Drying and storage
Once you collected the seedpods, open them over a piece of paper so that it’s easier to pour them on a container later. Fold the paper to create a funnel and pour the seeds into a sealed container for drying. Let your seeds dry in this container for a week before the next step.
After you have dried the seeds, you want to remove the chaff so that only viable seeds for planting left. You can do this by using two sheets of paper to make the separation easier. Finally, store the viable seeds into an envelope, seal them, and mark them for use next season.
How To Propagate Begonias
According to the American Begonia Society, you can propagate begonias via stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, and division. These are excellent methods for those with existing mature begonias, so you can save time instead of using seeds. More so, you may have an easier time with begonia propagation if you start in the polytunnel because of the stable and controlled conditions.
We all know that you can root begonia either in water and soil. Rooting makes them one of the plants that are easy to propagate from stem cuttings, even if you have no experience. Please start by selecting a healthy parent plant as your cuttings source to ensure that it won’t get stressed afterwards.
Cut sections below a node around 4 inches long, but ensure that it is free of any diseases and damages. Cutting is also the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate your leggy begonias to provide the cuttings for you. However, use a sharp and sterile tool to ensure a clean cut.
Before rooting, prepare the cutting by removing all the lower leaves that can rot when you stick the cutting in water or soil. It would help if you also pruned off all the flowers to direct the cutting’s energy to root development. Then, place the cutting in a glass of water or pot of moist soil to allow them to root.
Besides stems, you can also root begonias from leaf cuttings. Choose a healthy mature leaf with plump central veins, but don’t worry if it looks somewhat tattered as long as you have seen a healthy underside. Cut the leaf with some stem intact, and then remove the stem for rooting.
Flip the leaf and make a half-inch cut across the most prominent veins with a sharp and sterile knife so that you can see where the begonia leaf will develop plantlets. Some UK gardeners also cut every vein an inch from the central vein. Then, turn the leaf over and press it into your medium.
Secure the contact between the cuts and the medium by pinning the leaf down, but be mindful not to damage a vein. Ensure rooting by covering the container with plastic and maintain soil moisture. You can also place them in the polytunnel and provide fluorescent lights for faster growth.
Finally, those with more mature begonia plants can divide them for propagation and also maintenance. Remember that your plants will show fewer flowers over time but grow more large tubers ideal for the division. Therefore, consider dividing begonias early in spring so the buds have swollen enough for optimal growth.
Dig around the plant to make it easier to lift from the ground and divide the tubers into sections. Ensure that each division has at least one bud and that it is large enough to flower quicker. It would be best to let the tubers dry before planting and treat them with a fungicide to prevent diseases.
You can then bury the divisions in a pot where the shoots are above the ground to help it grow easier. The cut sections should also be well-buried and in contact with soil to avoid fungal diseases. You can keep the divisions in the polytunnel until they are ready for transplanting.
You can propagate begonias from stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, or division. However, you can make the most of your plants if you know how to collect begonia seeds and make use of the faded blooms after the flowering season. It’s as easy as collecting the seed pods, drying them, removing the chaff, and storing them in a sealed envelope.