Propagating Fuchsias, Begonias, and Geraniums by Jennifer Kok

Check your July 2022 Eardrop newsletter for the FULL ARTICLE!

Great information…
and an even greater reason to JOIN the BCFB SOCIETY!

“Propagating Fuchsias, Begonias, and Geraniums” by Jennifer Kok

What a treat… to have a such a knowledgeable horticulturist who is also the daughter of two of our long-term members! Jennifer Kok’s specialty started in annuals and expanded to perennials and nursery stock over the years. Now her focus is on indoor plants, pests, and disease control. Hoyas and Streptocarpus are among her personal favourite houseplants and she enjoys collecting and propagating them at home.
A special thank you, as well, to Jennifer for meticulously checking over this blog and clarifying/expanding several items!

Jennifer explained that spring and summer are the best times to propagate Fuchsias, Begonias, and Geraniums because the growth hormones are active.  Clean tools, 32-cell starting trays, and a sterile substrate are all recommended.  You will need bright indirect light and added humidity (without excess condensation).  An excellent option for a propagation set-up is the “Sunblaster Nanodome” which includes a propagation tray, grow light, and a vented humidity dome with a special recess on top for the grow light.

Jennifer informed us that fuchsias grow best from cuttings. Tip cuttings are the preferred method because they tend to root faster as all the growth hormones are pushing up. Remove any leaves on nodes that will be below the soil.  If the leaves on the upper part of the cutting are too big then you can cut them back half way in order to reduce moisture loss, but don’t remove them entirely.

Rooting takes about 2 to 3 weeks, but is slower in cooler, low light locations.  An electric heating pad stays at about 21 to 22 degrees and helps speed the rooting process. Monitor your plants carefully! If the roots dry out even once, you may lose your cutting.   Another method is rooting the cutting in water. Do change the water weekly!

Jennifer demonstrated a cutting from a scented geranium called ‘Bunny Brunch’.  (It has a carrot scent, of course!) Geranium cuttings are really easy to root in soil or in water, making sure that the leaves are kept out of the water.  Remove any flower buds.  If planting your cutting, first allow the cut to dry and callous overnight.  Roots develop faster and grow stronger in a smaller pot!

There are multiple ways to propagate Begonias, depending on the type of Begonia.  Stem cuttings (with a couple of nodes on them) can be made in many cases. Rooting hormone, humidity dome and heat mat are necessities.

Fertilizers / Additives
Jennifer was excited to tell us about her favourite “miracle ingredient”, Kelp!  Liquid kelp concentrate is mixed in water and can be added to any other fertilizers.  It is mainly potassium (0-0-3) but also contains many vitamins.  It speeds the rooting process, thickens the stems, helps plants be more resilient to bugs, reduces water loss, and helps reduce fungal issues like powdery mildew.  It can be used on all plants, both indoors and outdoors.

Jennifer recommended “Garden Pro” fertilizers to provide the macro and micro nutrients that the plants need to thrive throughout the season.  Fertilizers are rated by NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium), but may contain other important nutrients such as boron and magnesium.   Note that different fertilizers are used at different times of the year, depending on whether you are promoting roots, flowers, greenery, or tuber growth!

Jennifer noted that this year, with all our rain and cold, people are already coming into the garden centre for help with powdery mildew and other fungal problems!  Get a head start by spraying with Bordo Copper spray or Sulphur spray.

Thank you to Jennifer for such an informative and interesting presentation!  The members really appreciated you answering the many questions, and that you brought in so many plants to inspire our spring gardens!  We hope you can come back again with more ideas and suggestions!

Jennifer Kok (Speaker Bio by Melanie G.)
Our June 8th speaker is Jennifer Kok, Certified Horticulturist and currently working for Amsterdam Greenhouses.  She will bring plants and supplies to give us the latest propagating techniques for Fuchsias, Begonias and Pelargoniums.

Jennifer was trained at Kwantlen College, and brings a wealth of knowledge having worked for over 30 years in the horticulture industry, in B.C. as well as Alberta and The Netherlands!   Please join us for this informative talk, to learn various propagating methods for our favorite plants.


Amsterdam Nurseries

American Fuchsia Society – Taking cuttings

American Begonia Society – Vegetative propagation

The Geranium Page – Making a cutting

Geraniums Online – Propagating pelargoniums

Kelp Boost (only available at Garden centers such as Jennifer’s Amsterdam Nursery)

Kelp Man – Canadian Pacific Coast Kelp

DIY – How to make Bordeaux fungicide