March 28, 2008

Begonias in my greenhouse, have a look at my photos!

Although there are thousands of species and varieties of begonias, they’re usually divided into groups based on the differing root structures of the plants.  Some are classified as tuberous, and others as fibrous.  But it’s the rhizomatous begonias that make stunning houseplants all year long because of the amazing colors, shapes, sizes, and textures of their foliage.  Leaves can be a half-inch across or measure more than a full foot.  They can be rounded, star-shaped, or look like bird wings.  Their texture can be smooth and glossy, or soft and fuzzy.  And although the foliage is often green and red, it can be splashed with silver, purple, and even pink.

These begonias are called rhizomatous because of their thick, fleshy stems, called rhizomes, which either spread out over the soil, or rise up in short gnarled trunks.  And new leaves can grow from every joint of the rhizome to form a solid canopy of foliage.  During the winter months, the plants will flower, but compared to the extravagant foliage, the blooms are modest.  Rhizomatous begonias are remarkably pest resistant, and thrive in warm temperatures, in bright, indirect sunlight.  And because the rhizomes store up quite a bit of moisture, the biggest mistake people make with these plants is over-watering.

I took these shots a few days ago with my Canon EOS-1D, I had some great light to work with!

B. Masoniana – ‘Iron Cross’

B. Maculata var. – ‘Wightii’

B. ‘Pawlensis’

B. ‘Curly Fire Flush’

B. ‘China Girl’

B. ‘Escargot’

B. ‘New York Swirl’

This is a flat of leaf cuttings for rooting purposes.

HOW TO ROOT BEGONIAS – Cut off a mature leaf leaving a 2-inch stem.  Dip the stem in rooting hormone and gently tap off the excess powder.  Make a pencil hole in a sandy potting mix and place the stem in the hole.  Mist the potting mix daily so it doesn’t dry out.  After about 1 month, the stems should have formed roots.  Check by gently tugging on the leaf.  If there are roots, you will feel a bit of resistance.  You can then carefully dig the leaves and their roots out and place each new plant in individual pots filled with new potting soil.  Keep the soil moist and new leaves should eventually sprout and grow into a full-size begonia.