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How to Air Layer an Angel Wing Begonia

Written by Mindy on October 7th, 2017

While propagating an angel wing begonia can be done through tip or stem cuttings, it can also be achieved by way of air layering. This technique can be a little challenging for a beginning gardener but it is fun just to try your hand at this approach.

layer.angel.wing.begoniasTo begin the process, you will need to get a few supplies. This includes an angel wing begonia, toothpicks, rooting hormone, a small paint brush, sphagnum moss, plastic wrap, twist ties, and a small sterilized knife.  Once you have your supplies, you can begin the air layering process.

The first step to do is to examine your angel wing begonia. What you are looking for are healthy stems that are leggy. Once you have found them, make a cut halfway through the stem between two leaf nodes. A leaf node is the area by which the leaf attaches to the stem. Next, you will need to hold open the cut with a toothpick. Dip your small paint brush into your rooting hormone and brush the inside of the cut with it.

Once the cut is made, take some sphagnum moss and moisten it with water. You want it evenly moist so that it sticks together but not dripping wet. Take the moistened sphagnum moss and place it around the cut. Your goal in this step is to make a four to six inch ball of sphagnum moss that surrounds the cut. After that has been achieved, take the plastic wrap and wrap it around the ball. Using the twist ties, secure the bottom and the top of the plastic wrap to the stem. When doing this step, make sure that the twist ties are tight enough to hold the sphagnum moss ball in place but not so tight that it cuts the stem.

After this last step has been completed, you have now experienced air layering. To keep tabs on the progression of your cutting, loosen up the plastic wrap once a week and mist with water if the sphagnum moss feels dry.

This type of propagation will take a few weeks to take root. Once roots appear, simply cut below the roots and pot up.

While this propagation technique may seem a little advanced for a simple angel wing begonia, there are some advantages compared to a stem cutting. First, the cutting continues to get support from the mother plant compared to a severed cutting like a stem or tip cut. Second, while leggy stems are not always the best choice for a stem or tip cutting, they are useable for air layering. Finally, giving this propagation technique a try improves ones gardening skills.


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