A quick peek in my pottingshed tonight…..

Here’s a quick peek in my pottingshed tonight. I’ve been having a go at begonia leaf cuttings.


I’ve never done this before.  I had a look on the RHS website.  Then I placed the leaves on a chopping board and, using a sharp knife, cut through the main veins. I filled a seed tray with compost, topped with perlite. Laid the leaves on top, and pinned them down with my daughter’s hair grips -the only wire I had in the house. Sometimes you just have to improvise.


I put the seed tray in my Rainbow shallow trug and left it to soak up water.  I’m finding these trugs really useful in the pottingshed. I use them for collecting foliage for flower arrangements, and as a moveable potting station when I’m sowing seeds.

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My cuttings  were popped into a plastic bag and into my propagator. The best time to take leaf cuttings is in the summer. But when a friend gave me these leaves, I couldn’t turn down the chance to have a go. You never know- they might grow lots of  new little plants. Then I’ll pot them up into 7cm pots- and display them at the shaded end of my greenhouse. I’ve always loved the foliage of begonias. This might be the start of a new collection for me.


The RHS website says leaf cuttings can be taken from streptocarpus and eucomis as well as begonia masoniana and x Begonia Rex hybrids. I also found the National Begonia society handbook a useful source of information.

It was getting dark by the time I’d finished. I just had time to look at these snowdrops on the pottingshed window. They’ve burst into flower today. Such a cheerful sight on the last day of January.

Have you tried any new gardening techniques recently, or have any collections of favourite plants? I’d love to hear about them.

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31 thoughts on “A quick peek in my pottingshed tonight…..

    • Have you put the pot in a plastic bag, Brian? That might help. All the best with your cuttings. Just keep trying. I never give up- even if I am a little unconventional with my techniques and timings. I find that if I fuss over something and do it by the book- it sometimes fails. When I’m in a hurry, and having to make do- it often works.

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      • I only use them if they start to wilt, to rescue them. I give the pots one water only when I put the cuttings in, top off the pots with grit, water only with a dilute cinnamon water to combat rot, and insert little sticks in the pots so that bags don’t touch the cuttings. As soon as they look like they are standing up and not wilting, remove the bag. Use bottom heat too if you’ve got a propagator. I take my cuttings in August, but I always take some in March if my winter ones have not survived. I do hope yours survive. Let me know how you get on. They might be too cold on the windowsill to get going. All the best. Karen

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  1. I’m trying root cuttings of Perovskia for the first time . I wasn’t sure the plant would like to be moved so thought I would try a few root cuttings, no sign of life yet though, keeping fingers crossed!

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    • Oh, perovskia is so beautiful in late summer. Such a gorgeous blue. You are right though- it hates being moved. I do hope your cuttings take off. I often mist spray mine with seaweed extract, and that seems to kick start them. And any sign of mould, I spray them with diluted cinnamon water.Such a useful spray now there are no commercial treatments like chesthunt compound for damping off for seedlings, and mould in cuttings. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It’s much appreciated.

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    • Thank you Christina. That’s the thing I love most about gardening. Growing something from a scrap of leaf, or twig, or tiny dust-like seed. Plus it costs nothing. All the best with your propagating. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. It’s always appreciated. xxx

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  2. I can see why you’d want to at least try to propagate these Begonias…really interesting ones! Haven’t tried leaf cutting before, but might give it a go sometime…Still seems like one of life’s miracles that whole trees and masses of plants can grow from the tiniest seeds…

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    • Thank you Mike. They started to curl up at the edges, so I’ve had to weight them down with little stones. Fingers crossed. Have a great day. Too wet to garden here, so I’m sorting seed today. Love Karen xxx

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  3. That first picture is beautiful, Karen, with the darkening sky outside your productice potting shed. Surprisingly, given that this year was the first time I had really seriously taken cuttings, I too toyed with begonia leaves in the 70s! This year as well as penstemon, salvia and diascia I have taken root cuttings of phlox and leaf cuttings of sedum (the latter after Christina mentioned it). Oh and pelargoniums too, which rooted quickly into soil in pot with no problems at all. I am really taken with the shallow trug you have used – I have a selection of other trugs for general use in the garden and find them invaluable but this shallow one is something else! Using it at you do is certainly the first thing that springs to mind. Is there a local stockist, or did you get yours mail order? And a choice of colour – how exciting! Thanks for sharing this post

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    • Thank you Cathy. I thought I might have a go at phlox root cuttings next. I’ve got a particularly beautiful blue one that I’d like more of. I’m finding that shallow trug really useful in the garden. It’s just the right size to carry around wherever I need a portable working space in the garden. Plus, it’s good for soaking seed trays. It’s amazing when you suddenly find something that makes every job easier in the garden. It’s British made too. I got it from http://www.rainbowtrugs.com/?gclid=CJzptpj679ECFawp0wodue8MDA . It’s very strong and well made. Good luck with your propagating. Keep me posted. xxx

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      • When I came to take the phlox cuttings it was often easy to take a piece with an existing shoot as well. Oh and I took some stem cuttings as well, before I read that root stems were the way to go, and they mostly took too! Rainbow have an offer of ‘seconds’ at the moment, but it means buying 5 (or 10 or more!) – am tempted… 😉

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      • Thanks for the info. I’ve had a little dig around at the base of the phlox. I can see bits of shoot too. Now I feel a bit more confident to have a go. I’ll report back! I’m using one of my trugs to make a mini pond on the veg plot. Must try to attract more frogs this year as natural slug killers. I shall put a big stone in the middle, then the hedgehogs can climb out if they fall in. And the birds can use it for water too. Thanks for your reply. All the best. Karen x

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  4. They are amazing those leaves aren’t they. Definitely worth having a go at this time of year. Yes I’ve got some streptocarpus which I’d like to try the technique on. Its almost magical that you can get plants that way!

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    • It is like magic! I’m eyeing up my streptocarpus leaves at the moment. We had a terrible attack by vine weevils, so they are quite diminished. I’ve treated the soil with nematodes and they have picked up quite a bit. But I am thinking of starting afresh with leaf cuttings. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. All the best with your garden.

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