Successfully Propagating Unrooted Spectrum Begonias

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Successfully Propagating Unrooted Spectrum Begonias

Since most varieties of hiemalis (Spectrum) begonias flower naturally under short day regimes they are an ideal holiday crop. If you have the proper equipment to get them off to a healthy start, unrooted begonias will provide you with proven Oglevee quality at a lower initial cost compared to rooted cuttings. To get the best performance from unrooted cuttings you must be equipped to properly handle them. The following are all essential components of successful propagation:

  • root zone heat
  • automatic misting
  • sterile benches
  • sterile pots and soil

Ecke begonia cuttings will ship as a leaf cutting rather than a stem tip cutting.  Advantages of propagation leaf cuttings are:

1. Leaf cuttings are more vegetative
2. Leaf cuttings are more vigorous

3. Better basal branching
4. Same crop time as stem tip crop timing
5. Clean CVI – no Xanthomonas
6. Test TSWV every 4 weeks

Unpack cuttings immediately and place under mist in a shaded area.

Use a peat mix that is well drained. Wet soil thoroughly before cuttings is stuck. Bottom heat is beneficial and will enhance rooting.  Maintain media temperatures at 72° F (22°C).

Gently stick 1 cutting (1.25 cm) deep in the previously wetted media pressing only enough to hold them upright. Rooting hormone is not necessary.

Do not allow foliage to dry for the first three to four days. Decrease mist 5% each day on days four through eight. Decrease mist 10% daily on days nine through 14. By day 14 cuttings should be rooted, and will no longer require mist. For areas with low humidity or during hot weather, continue to mist rooted cuttings two to three times daily for three weeks to reduce stress.

Light: Supplemental lighting should not be necessary.
Summer – 800 to 1200 foot candles
Winter – 1500 to 2000 foot candles

Begin feeding anytime after Day 10 or when base of cutting is calloused. Use 150 ppm N and 75 ppm K.

Maintain pH between 5.6 and 5.8. Use constant feed program consisting of 15-5-15 at 150- 200 ppm.

Plant Growth Regulators: Apply Florel® at 500 ppm weekly starting on Day 7 to encourage basal branching.

Night-68°F (20°C)

Day – start venting at 75°F (24°C)

Rooting Cycle: 5 weeks

© Ecke Ranch 2011

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