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Tropicals & Tender Perennials: Begonia maculata var. wightii. Hardier than usually thought?

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Forum: Tropicals & Tender PerennialsReplies: 5, Views: 174
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Alameda, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 29, 2011
10:42 PM

Post #8529561

About a year ago I started learning that a number of begonias, essentially of all major classes are often hardier than usually or commonly thought. I'm of course particularly interested in possible candidates for my own outside garden, which is near the Northern California coast; a particularly cool Zone 9b. I've seen a number of cane and fibrous begonias survive our winters and even a Rex or two.

One begonia species I decided to experiment with is B. maculata var. wightii as it is a beauty indoors. The coolest climate reported in the DG PlantFiles, is 10b. Logee's, from whom I originally obtained my plant, also states the limit at Zone 10.

I planted a cutting that I rooted in early September into a partially shaded and protected SSE location in early November. Our winter proved to be cooler and wetter than usual, though the lowest temperature I noted at my location was 29. While the plant lost 3 of it's 4 leaves it survived and is now starting to grow again. Considering that the plant didn't have much of a root system, only spent about 2 weeks outside before planting and that it was planted in the ground so late, makes it's survival all the more significant. I would encourage others to try their luck at least in zone 8b or 9a.

In addition to any comments by others experience with this particular species and any hybrids derived from it, I would encourage others to discuss any other Begonias that can survive outdoors in climates cooler than normally reported.

The plant pictured here is the mother plant. It has been growing in a large unobstructed NNW window and is currently 30" tall. The leaves reach over 11 inches in length with beautiful metallic silver spots and are deep red on the leaf backs.


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Covington, LA
(Zone 8b)

May 4, 2011
9:08 AM

Post #8539145

You have the magic touch! I have been successful with canes in general, but always loose this one. It seems to hate everyting that I do. What is your soil mix?
Alameda, CA
(Zone 9b)

May 4, 2011
11:50 AM

Post #8539452


The soil is well-drained topsoil with some humus. Also the plant was pretty-well protected by a house wall and shrubs. From my limited experience with growing Begonias indoors, I believe the most important factors are soil with good drainage and some protection from the drying winter winds.

College Park, GA
(Zone 7b)

May 4, 2011
7:41 PM

Post #8540448

That is a very nice plant atisch. I have one now and looking forward to it growing like yours.
Saint Helena Island, SC
(Zone 9a)

May 6, 2011
2:13 PM

Post #8544199

We just went through our second coldest winter in history and the following have come back for me:
B. Boliviensis
B. Barbara Rogers
B. Grandis
B. Hericleifera
B. Richmondensis

I also had a B. Bellagio that lived outdoors for 3 winters but this last one did it in.
Alameda, CA
(Zone 9b)

May 6, 2011
6:58 PM

Post #8544757


Thank you very much for responding with your "Begonia Trials". Most helpful. B. boliviensis is one I hope to get.


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