It's pouring here, the begonias are growing like weeds (well most of them), and it takes me nearly two hours to water them all by hand. Just did my first fert app this week (don't want them to grow out of their pots). Milstop seems to work fairly well on mildew but I continue to see small pockets of mildew coming back on the same plants - noticed that the black marks on the stems of Lucerna are from mildew (who would've thunk that?) I finally got around to sowing seed of 40 different begonias yesterday - talk about tedious!! Most were from Dr. Rekha Morris (very generous), 4 I bought at the S.F. convention, a rex mix from Kartuz, and 3 of my own collected seed. Hopefully I will get at least one plant from each pot but would prefer lots more to share with others. Time will tell.
Here are some of my seedlings I started back in the summer. I thought it was something totally different like Lady Brown but it appears to be from Boomer or something similar. The very large one is the only dark colored one and is a monster compared to the rest. Of the other seedlings I grew at the same time: I found the pot of Caravan seedlings looks just like Caravan so nothing exciting there and the canes are a mixed bag - some look new and interesting while most are standard run of the mill.
Hcmcdole, your picture of your dark leaf begonia is amazing. How do you collect your begonia seeds? I'm a newbie growing these plants and want to learn how to propagate them. I also have some cuttings that broke off one of the plants that seem to be surviving in water. How long will it take to root? Annette
Everyone thanks for the comments. I will keep you posted on this particular begonia. I would post some pictures of the canes but mildew has kind of messed up some of the leaves which makes it rather ugly. I sowed some seed I collected from maculata which is definitely prone to mildew. My crassicaulis didn't germinate at all so don't know what happened to it.
Hi Annette, I see you are from GA too. If you are into begonias you should plan on coming to the Atlanta chapter meeting next month (I will provide a date and time later when I find out). Charles Jaros (world famous begonia geek and ex president of the ABS) is supposed to be there and give another one of his presentations plus he usually brings in some plants for sale too.
Anyway to answer your question about seed - you would gather the seed after the seed pod turns brown and is close to splitting on the plant. The seed is very tiny (dust like in some begonias) so there should be thousands of seed in each capsule. Tear away the outer skin and sprinkle the seed on moistened prepared seed mix, cover with a clear lid and place under lights or close to a window. If the seed is fertile you should start to see little green dots in a week or more (some folks have reported that some species may take months to germinate). Be patient, overly patient and you may be rewarded.
As for broken stems you certainly may water root them and for canes, roots should appear in a few days. For best results keep the water closed to open air, i.e put a baggie over the cuttings or put aluminum foil or plastic wrap over the mouth of the jar/glass/cup and poke holes in the covering just big enough to push the broken or cut stems through. I believe a lot of water rootings rot due to water being open to germs in the air.
Here is Munchkin that started out with two small leaves from Lauray of Salisbury back in the early summer. It is in the same original pot it came in and has been in a terrarium from day one.
I didn't realize that you got plants from Judy. I try to get down at least once a year to her greenhouse. My favorite canes from her - Elizabeth Lahn and Nokomis. I think I'll walk over to the succulent bench next time I visit.
You are having an issue with mildew that doesn't succumb to milstop?
I've ordered from her 3 times. The first two times didn't come out so good due to my ignorance on the small size she sends out. I like a lot of other impatient hobbyists moved them up to a bigger pot and then introduced them to the great outdoors, etc., etc. I have noticed a lot of hobby growers on line grumbling about small sizes of mail order begonias from a few growers but in their defense I can say that 1) the seller states the size of their plants up front usually and 2) if you treat them like baby plants you can grow them to a mature plant.
Now that I know better I keep them in the original pots for a few weeks and baby them along until I see some new growth. Anyway I moved them all outdoors except Munchkin which was the most doubtful of them all (Judy mentioned that it was pretty small and she was right) and gehrtii. The others were nigravenia, nelumbiifolia (lost my first great big one a year ago and have been pining for one until I couldn't take it anymore), Essie Hunt, aconitifolia, salicifolia, Nokomis, diadema, and deliciosa. She didn't have any paulensis at the time so I said I would wait on that one. Anyway they all came through with flying colors. Now that they are back inside for winter, nelumbiifolia and nigravenia have some ugly spots on them and diadema dropped all its leaves (I think it must be semi-dormant - parent to Little Brother Montgomery?).
She didn't have paulensis when I was there last January. I've also come to the realization that I pot up much too quickly. I bought a boatload of begonias at the Logee's November sale ($5 each), and I just left them in the small pots for the winter. I think (fingers crossed) that I will finally overwinter Looking Glass, Margaritacia, Pink Minx and Maurice Amey. At Logee's, Byron says the trick to their plants is to always under pot. And he loves clay. I have a lead on 400 or so 4" - 6" clay pots. I'm hoping that will help with some of the more fussy begonias.
Is your Deliciosa going semi dormant?
Butch, your pics are so beautiful. Could you tell me what the other two plants are? The one at the bottom is an aechmea? What is the one on the right?
Have you ever registered any of your seedlings? Is the big black one significantly distinctive enough to register?
I sure hope you put me on the waiting list for it. Maybe I have something on my trade list you might like in exchange?
After seeing your pics of Munchkin and B. diadema I now have to have them. Do you know which nurseries might carry them?
db, that's a lot of clay pots. I used to be big into clay but now I'm swinging back to plastic. Both have their pros and cons. My deliciosa sprouted all new leaves since coming inside. I will post a picture of it on this post.
kill, I don't see an aechmea in the picture. Perhaps it is an earth star you are seeing (cryptanthus). The one on the right? Is it the small purple and green leaf one? If so that is some euphorbia (flame leaf?) that hitched a ride in one of GHW's orders a few years back.
I like it so I keep it around. I've never registered a begonia and I doubt this is going to be significant enough to even think about. If it does well, I will propagate it and hopefully get enough going to send you a small plant of it. I bought Munchkin and diadema at Lauray of Salisbury (http://lauray.com) and the other 8 I listed above.
Here is deliciosa taken two days ago in the small utility room in the basement. The small cane is probably 'Tom Ment' or something like that.
Hcmcdole, thanks for the info about the seed collecting and rooting, looking forward to the outcome and maybe generating some extra plants. Also, please post the info about the next ABS mtg when available. Annette
Hi Kill, I'm not into PlantFiles so for now I'm going to pass.
Annette, I will let you know as soon as I get the message to send out to our group. I'm pretty sure it is in late Feb (always a Saturday) and it will be at Hastings Garden Center (Peachtree Road). Usually it is around 2 PM but sometimes a bit earlier in the day.
Butch, would you mind if I entered Munchkin in the PFs using your pic? If not I can just enter it without a pic.
I'm so glad. Lauray of Salisbury has one Munchkin left and they will save it for me until it is safe to ship. It's one of the most beautiful plants I've ever seen.
I grew my first begonias from seed last winter - a coral-red noid wax begonia. I started a few seeds from different types. I can't wait to see what they look like!
To collect seeds, let the flowers dry on the plant until a brown seed pod forms and dries. It looks like a small tricornered hat. There are many small, dark, brown seeds in each ripe pod. The seeds look similar to poppy seeds, if that helps. I sowed the seeds on the surface of potting mix. They germinated well, but took time to grow. The resulting plants bloomed and produced seeds their first summer.
GardenQuilts, good to hear about your trials with begonia seed. Wax begonias are always a good starting point for most folks since they seem to be fairly easy to grow on most anything with enough moisture. I had one that germinated and grew a bit on the side of a clay pot until I moved it indoors. Tough little plants!
Here is an older thread with a little detail about begonia seed with pictures and demos by begoniacrazii.
Hi hcmcdole, my cuttings have rooted and I planted the seeds from the seed pods tonight in a plastic cup with perlite and covered with plastic wrap, no vents. I understand the seeds will need light to germinate. They were surface sown. I've now got the begonia bug, where's a good source for plants in north Atl? I'm interested in canes and rexes, love the leaf colors. Annette
If you are buying plants in the local area, then check out Pike's, Lowe's, and Home Depot. These are all hit or miss with spring time being the best time. Walmart will get some in sometimes. Small nurseries can have them too but most will not except wax begonias which is very disappointing. If you were in Cobb County, then I would say Lost Mtn. Nursery is an excellent place to find some. Hastings will usually have some. Our local Ace Hardware used to get shipments in several times in the spring at excellent prices and were grown out perfectly (more than likely grown by Harmony Foliage) but alas they went out of business twice and it looks like they are starting up once again but this time the greenhouse has been removed (bummer). The Barn Nursery off 4th Street in Chattanooga can get some interesting begonias in the spring.
That means to get serious you must:
1) buy mail order (Logee's, Kartuz, Taylor GH, Lauray, Rob's Violets, PHOE, and eBay plus some smaller operations)
2) start going to ABS conventions (sure it is an expensive route to go but you get a plethora of plants to choose from at below market prices, you get to meet like minded folks, see private and public gardens, and have a vacation doing something you enjoy)
3) travel to some of the begonia havens such as the nurseries I mentioned above. Florida being next door is an excellent place to visit with PHOE in Miami being one of the places you must visit. If you ever get a chance to visit a wholesale nursery then you are in for a real treat - Ades&Gish in CA and Harmony in FL are two that come to mind. Mom and Pop nurseries dot Florida so take a rest break and visit them.
Thanks for the excellent information. Once we get the ice age meltdown from our winter storm this week, I'll start checking out some of the local nurseries that you recommended. I do get a lot of plants via mail order and have checked some of the online stores in the last several days you've recommended. Thanks again, Annette
Don't expect a lot in the dead of winter. You might see some rexes and of course Rieger begonias (seems like a popular thing around Valentine's but is considered an annual by most standards). Also if you come to the meeting(s) you will probably get some plants that way too.
Here are some dark begonias photographed yesterday. Bashful Bandit is the biggest one, Midnight Twist next to it, Island Magic is the rex on the right, and Valida front left (about threw this one out since I have so many).
Cem if you can come to the next Atlanta Begonia Chapter meeting on February 26th, 2:00 p.m. at Hastings Garden Center. You will not be disappointed. We have a good time and go home with even more plants from Florida. We have a member that comes from Tennessee. The Southeastern Flower Judges are there doing a presentation, new members join at that time and there are refreshments. Then we do drawings for begonia plants and give-aways of more plants. So, come prepared with a tote bag and large baggies too. A single membership are $20/couple $30.
There was a time I had lost my 100+ begonia plants in a no climate storage one year. I was to crushed when the door opened and the pots were just soil tops. There were three plants that showed life. The rest of my pots were dead.
My inventory is closer to 150 begonia plants now and counting. Going to the meetings and just putting out there my lost. Over time my inventory is way up. I also receive alot of Ebay plants. Even now with the weather I have 17 plants coming next week. The sellers will wrap them with heat paks or insulation due to our weather. Some charge the extra for it and others it is their wrapping style. So, even over this artic weather here in Georgia we have been having my latest plants look really good and healthy that I have received so far.
To add to what Mary just said - there won't be a lot of plants brought up from FL this year due to many guests occupying seats in Charles' van instead of plants. Hopefully there will be at least one plant to go around for each member and guest to purchase. Hastings may have some in the store but it is first come, first serve. Some members may bring in extras (if allowed).
This year the club membership fees will be applied to one year of the ABS membership. What that means is $5 from the treasury will be chipped in with the $20 fees for the club membership and will be used to enroll each (paying) member for the ABS. You will receive six issues of The Begonian for one year. After that you will be required to pay for the ABS yourself if you like it.
Thank you all for this great info. I joined the ABS already this past week and I plan on being at the meeting in February. I was able to find 1 kind of rex today at Lowes, I bought 3, have already repotted them and taken pictures. Now I just have to figure out how to load them to get help with the ID. Of course the plants had a basic tag but no specific name. Aarrrggg!!!! I checked Target, Publix, Kroger and Home Depot, but only Publix had some tuberous begonias. Kroger and Lowes said they'll get some rexes in the next few weeks. Annette
Spring time is going to be your best time for begonia shopping in Atlanta. Still a little early in the year and the weather is frightful.
Don't be discouraged if your rexes go into decline (they should look great for a few weeks). Don't keep them sopping wet, let dry a little between each watering so they don't rot. If the leaves turn ugly pinch them off and discard, new ones will come on after the plant gets happy with its new home. For best results, cut a few leaves off and propagate those ASAP if you love the plant.
Let's hope the weather is much better come late Feb. and we will see you at the meeting.
A bowl of rexes I put together years ago. Looked really nice for a while then I over watered them when the leaves started falling off. Easy come, easy go.
Amazing color combo hcmcdole. What's the name of the begonia with the red centered leaf, green stippling on the outer portion then edged in red on the top and bottom left of your picture? It looks similar to the plants I bought today.
The top one is probably Taurus (or one of the constellation series). The bottom left is Pink Champagne. Don't know them all but picked these up at the Barn Nursery in Chattanooga (2003) in 4 inch pots. Put florists foam on the bottom of the cobalt blue ceramic pot to give some height and then nestled each begonia in their own pot into the big blue pot.
Here is Pink Champagne, Shaun's Fantasy (or Dream) - the all green one, and Celia from this past summer.
Hcmcdole, I'm on a roll, I'm now the proud owner of 13 new rex begonia plants from my local Pikes, of course NOID, but I've been to the website of the grower, and should be able to name some of the plants. Yeah me:-) I've done as you've suggested and set up leaves to root on perlite, covered by plastic in case I loose any of the plants, as back up. I can now last untill the local chapter meeting since I've finally gotten some plants. Thanks for all of your great instructions.
That is our job here Annette! Get you excited about growing begonias. Now don't get dismayed if you lose a bunch your first few months. That is how we learn - by making mistakes! I guarantee if you stick with it you will be amazed at how easy it will become the more you do it. Kind of reminds me of learning to ride a bike - if I quit everytime I crashed and skinned my knees or hands then I would've never learned how to ride!