Hmmm...found this on Glassworks:
"Although aggressively marketed currently, we find this exceedingly beautiful creature to be an imperfect houseplant as it needs very constant humidity levels, constant bright light and good air circulation to perform adequately. "
Maybe as a houseplant it might be good to pass on it but if you move it outdoors and keep it adequately watered it will be worth it. It may defoliate in winter like a rex but bounces back next spring (again depending on water and care).
I figured it would do better in the house since they make it sound so finicky. But I'll give it a try. I plan to order it. If it's a success outside it will be like opening a whole new area of gardening. I have other plants that I keep outside during the summer and then just let them rest inside during the winter. Thanks, Kyle
I bought mine from Rex Begonias LTD but the shipping is expensive. Then I found them really cheap at The Barn Nursery in Chattanooga (a lot bigger plant on sale for $2.99) and bought five - 3 for me and 2 for my mother. I've also seen them at Pike's Nursery in the Atlanta area but the Pike's I went to had burned leaves.
Here is an earlier one I had for a few years until I did something wrong. The smaller one was bought mail order and the bigger one I found around town. The big one went into the dark, cold garage for two winters where it defoliated and was watered maybe once a month, then in spring moved outdoors and watered well. Not a problem. Maybe the last winter when I had it in the basement is what did it in. With warmth and some light and lots more water.
Benitochiba sounds familiar. I can definitely see B. luxurians in its parentage. I've never succeeded overwintering that one. I wonder if B. helmsleyana figures in the mix? It's been rather dry this summer, but very humid. Dry as in no rain, I mean. So if this one likes heat and humiditiy that would explain why it is doing so well. I will try letting it go dormant in the fall. It would be worth the effort to keep it. Thank you for the information, everyone.
I have a few rex begonias that live insided year round...for several years. I have another group that I take outside once the weather has warmed up, and then bring back inside at the end of summer. They tend to go a bit dormant during the winter, but do not drop all of their leaves, and sometimes send out a flower or two for me. In the summer they just go nuts once they get outside.
Marie!!! Those are awesome! Please tell us your exact recipe for their potting mix, please? Those in the bathroom-how much light do they get? I have never been able to grow Rexes like yours so far.
That pic with the Ivy with the Begonias is spectacular.
I wish that I had a secret formula for growing them. I use whatever potting mix I happen to have on hand which is usually one of those with the moisture retention crystals like Schultz Moisture Plus. I'm afraid that mine seem to thrive on neglect. Shamefully, some of them have been in the 4" pots that I bought them in for a couple of years, and none of the group in the plant stand have been repotted for at least 5 years. If I bothered to check, I am quite sure that all of them are root bound.
The one thing that I am particular about is giving all of the outside plants a good soaking with insecticidal soap before I bring them back inside in the Fall. Spider mites, etc., have been a problem in the past, and this ritual takes care of it.
About once a month (if I remember) I put some liquid Schultz plant food in the water when I give them a drink. I sometimes only remember to water them when I see the leaves getting limp.
The ones in the bathroom get good indirect light all day from an east facing skylight. The outside plants are in a sheltered north-east location and get no direct sun at all because of all the oak and ash trees around them.
So much for my 'True Confessions'...I must just be very lucky.
Most of mine will get a shot of direct sun each day. There are a few slits in the canopy where the sun will shine through and hit the begonias head on but I haven't timed how long an area actually receives direct sun as the slit moves with the travel of the sun.
Canes on the other hand get at least 2 hours of sun a day,
Back to my original post - I found the tag for this beauty after bringing it inside in the fall. It is called 'Savannah Bay' (var. Savannah) part of the Caribbean Dreams series, grown by DS Cole growers. Not marked as patented, or ppaf, but the name is trade marked. Legalities aside, it appears to be in typical rex dormancy. I cut it back and the pot is sitting next to a floor vent in an east window. I keep it just barely moist. I am cautiously optimistic about reviving it in the spring.
I don't completely understand the registered name and trade name practice, other than that they are separate and are designed to allow different growers to grow the same plant with their own trademarked name. 'Benitochiba' is an old cultivar, isn't it? I guess DH Cole doesn't want anyone to know these are the same plant. I'll have to check out the discussion at Yahoo for more insight.
Well, if you can market the same thing with a new exciting name, is it more likely to sell? Does Savannah Bay sound better than Benitochiba? One of the latest discussions on the Yahoo group is B. Gryphon yet Burpee seed company is selling the same (fairly new) begonia under another name (Tropical Nites).
I kinda like Benitochiba. Sounds vaguely Japanese. Of course Savannah is lovely too. I tried to convince my son to apply to Savannah College of Art & Design just so I'd have an excuse to visit on a regular basis. He didn't go for it. He's a homebody and Savannah is just too far away.
I'm happy to say that Benitochiba, aka Savannah Bay came back this summer after going dormant over the winter. This is good to know if you are like me and have limited space with sufficient humidity and light to keep a Rex happy over the winter. I'm going to try the same approach to overwinter another mixed pot of what I'm assuming are also Rex begonias.
About pronunciation of "Benitochiba": "chome" is the Japanese word for street or avenue. They pronounce it "ko-may." Following that patttern Benitochiba would be pronounced "Benitokee-ba." That's just an assumption. Old habits will prevail and I'll continue to say Benitochee-ba.
In the other mixed pot are Venitian Red, Merry Christmas and Hilo Holiday. I misplace the tag for the one at the upper left. There's also a red-flowered kohleria in there.
My Benitochiba grew really well for a while then just started declining and died. :-(
Seems that's the way it goes with all my rexes. Some of them are doing the same thing now. Nothing about their cultural conditions has changed. I have no clue why this happens.
Maybe they have just gone dormant? I have been surprised by rexes that I thought were gone for good only to have them re-appear several months later.
HC: At 6 o'clock in the pot is Peperomia japonica. It makes a great creeping ground
cover in pots, but needs warmth and humidity. Not really weedy. The other plant in there is very "vigorous". It is labeled Callista Itsy Bitsy Inch Plant, but I'm not sure if that name is correct. There is also a small sprig of Hedera helix also called 'Itsy Bitsy' at 9 o'clock.