Terrarium begonias

Amsterdam, NY(Zone 5a)

Has anyone tried Begonia 'Buttercup', Begonia quadrialata subsp. nimbaensis, Begonia versicolor, Begonia chlorosticta, or Begonia limprichtii? Can I grow them outside in the summer and in a wardian case in the winter?
And those dratted rexes. If I put them in an aquarium in my greenhouse, do you think they might survive (although thrive would be my choice)?
I think I'm going to start cruising craigslist in search of aquariums that have a broken seal.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

I've seen my mentor grow Buttercup, versicolor, and quadrialata in salad bowls / glass bowls under lights with excellent results.

I have chlorosticta since May and it is growing quite nicely in a plastic lettuce container. I have no intentions of growing this outdoors. B. limprichtii has been a stinker for me. I have it under a clear cup but it is sulking. If it ever starts growing I might have a different opinion of it.

The problem with rexes in aquariums is that often the aquarium is not big enough. One particular rex I decided to grow in an aquarium is Pink Diamonds. It has thrived in this tank (120 gallons). The bad thing is it is shading out rajah. So the answer is yes, rexes can thrive inside a tank but often it is not big enough since the begonia can grow bigger in this environment rather than outdoors or in normal house air.

Here is a picture of one of my mentors' many tanks. This one has several rexes in it plus U404. When her begonias become too big, she starts a new one and used to hand off her big one to her husband to grow outdoors or winter over in a fiberglass greenhouse.

Thumbnail by hcmcdole
Amsterdam, NY(Zone 5a)

so, if I grow the rexes in an aquarium for the winter, how do I prepare them for life outside in the summer? Gradual opening of the top, or just push them out of the nest?

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Gradual is best if indoors. If moving to the outdoors ASAP then it may be okay. They will be shocked either way - going outside or inside so they might look pretty haggard for a couple of weeks.

I grew some in a terrarium before that looked excellent and then I pulled them all out - they died in a week or so by keeping them indoors.





Thumbnail by hcmcdole
Amsterdam, NY(Zone 5a)

I was just going to put the pots in the aquarium, but I see that you have a layer of soil. Is that for moisture or are some of your begonias planted in it? I have sphagnum moss that I could use for moisture retention. What do you do about pm?

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

You can put potted plants in and also put the plants directly in the soil. There are advantages for either way.

PM is not a problem if you have sterile conditions to begin with. It only becomes a problem if you put an infected plant in and it spreads to other plants. In that case start spraying with a fungicide (or Milstop). The biggest problems I've faced are rot from too much moisture and drying out. Fungal outbreaks can be disastrous but usually occur when it is very moist and rotted leaves are allowed to become breeding grounds.



Amsterdam, NY(Zone 5a)

How often do you water? And do you leave standing water in the bottom of the aquarium?

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

I water if I see wilt. You should never ever have standing water. You want to water very sparingly because once it is wet, it becomes difficult to remove all the excess water.

One suggestion by a terrarium guru is one tablespoon of water at a time. In other words sprinkle in one tablespoon of water, cover, and come back a little bit later (an hour?) to see if the plant(s) have perked up. If not, then another tablespoon.

Personally I don't go by this little nugget. It is good to start with but pretty soon you get an idea on how much to add at a time. If you add too much then it is harder to get the excess out than add some more in. If you vent too long, it can dry out faster than you think. If you added too much you will see how much condensation there is. It is a balancing act. My medium sized tank can stay pretty dry in the middle but the walls can stay quite wet. I use a turkey baster to squirt some water in the middle, then vent to get rid of some of the wall moisture.

In other terrariums, I just place the potted plant in the jar or tank. Then when it is time to water I lift the potted plant out, water the pot like I would normally, let it drain, then place it back in the vessel (sometimes I wipe the container out to clean excess moisture and any algae growth). There will always be excess moisture this way but no standing water. I may water every few weeks with this method.

Here is a picture of my bipi in a tall jar. Lots of condensation after watering a few days earlier. If you see rot, then vent the top a little bit.


Thumbnail by hcmcdole

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