Florida Gardening forum: Bonfire Begonia, Begonia boliviensis

Views: 239, Replies: 4 » Jump to the end
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
Image
rattlebox
May 24, 2016 10:11 PM CST
Does anyone have experience growing Begonia boliviensis in Florida?

Out of a few seed-grown plantlets last year, I ended up with one plant which held on through the winter. It was doing OK, was about six inches tall with maybe half a dozen leaves. It hadn't yet bloomed, but I was hopeful it would take off this summer. However, a couple weeks ago, it fell apart.

First the leaves dropped, then the stem fell apart into segments. I feared overwatering, so moved the pot into a dry area. Today I was dumping old pots into a tub to reuse the soil. The begonia hadn't resprouted so I figured it had died, so I dumped it as well. There was a large rootball in the dirt, which on closer inspection turned out to be a large and quite healthy tuber. Large, considering the parent plant had only been a single six-inch stem. The tuber was about two inches in diameter and about one inch thick.

It was quite healthy (no soft spots) so of course I replanted the tuber into fresh quick-draining soil.

I've read B. boliviensis can go dormant in winter then regrow in spring. But this is Florida, and a lot of things don't follow northern rules. I've also read B. boliviensis doesn't do well with heat.

So I'm wondering if I have to wait until cool weather for the tuber to sprout, or can I expect regrowth soon?
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
May 27, 2016 7:19 PM CST
I've grown a bunch of begonias, Ron, but not that one. I try to avoid the tuberous ones because they do like it cooler. I'd be inclined to give it a dormant period over the summer, since it seems to have just gone to sleep.

Keep it in the house, somewhere low down, (as cool and dry as possible) until maybe September then see if it will grow well during the cool weather.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
Image
ardesia
May 27, 2016 7:26 PM CST
It as been my experience that the Boliviensis does much better than the typical large flowered tuberous but when they decide to fall apart they just do. I had one growing outside for several years and then one day, oops, it was history. They are known to be fussy plants.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator Hummingbirder Salvias Butterflies Birds
Plant Identifier Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Seed Starter Cat Lover Region: Georgia
Image
Danita
May 27, 2016 9:14 PM CST
Hi Ron,

It sounds like your plant just went dormant. It scared me to death the first time it happened. The stems on my gorgeous hanging basket of Begonia boliviensis started to look a little yellowish one day in fall, then the leaves fell and the stems shattered at the nodes (just as you described.) It went from blooming beauty to dormant in about a week. Thankfully, I also noticed the healthy tubers before tossing the pot.

I'm not in Florida, but Begonia boliviensis takes the Atlanta heat with ease even in part sun. That isn't the case for the traditional tuberous Begonias. They go the way of the Fuchsia when summer heat arrives. Sticking tongue out ----> Angel

While it is dormant you'll want to keep it cool-ish and dry. I keep mine in their pots and dribble a very small amount of water on the soil if the tubers are looking desiccated. They also like good drainage while growing and can get root rot if they stay soggy. Due to winter, I keep mine in the basement or garage in a dormant state for around four months. They are always trying to pop up before I really want them to, so they probably don't need to stay dormant nearly that long. They should be hardy here, but finding/making a place with perfect winter drainage and no pine vole access was harder than just tossing them in the basement over winter.

My original 'Bonfire' plant seems to be more sun and heat tolerant than the other orange form that I have. 'Bonfire' has a more cascading habit with smaller leaves, too. Shrug!

Out of curiosity, did you get the seeds from me in the Piggy Swap?
[Last edited by Danita - May 28, 2016 10:30 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1162661 (4)
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
Image
rattlebox
May 28, 2016 4:24 PM CST
Thanks everyone for your input.

I just went out to see if the tuber had by any chance started growing again. From your answers I figured if there was no growth I'd put it into semi-dry storage for a bit.

Nothing had broken the surface if the soil, so I gently uncovered the tuber. I'm glad I did. No growth, but I discovered about a third of the tuber had turned to mush. I must have damaged it when I was trying to break apart what I had thought was a dirt clod/root ball.

I cleaned it out as best I could, then used spray from the hose nozzle to get a better clean. I put it under cover to dry. As I write this I'm thinking I'll go back out and put it into a baggie of dry peat. The peat will help to kill fungus and bacteria. Not sure the tuber is salvageable at this point. Damn!

Guess I'll have to sprinkle the remainder of my seed and try again!

Hi, Danita! And yes, the seed came from you in the Piggie Swap, but not directly. I received the seed in the 1:1 section of the swap. BTW, my member name on that site is RedLeopard. Thanks for having offered up the seed! From what I had read of it's heat tolerance, sun preference, and hummer attractiveness, I had long wanted to try B. boliviensis. I don't know why I didn't go after those seed in the main swap, but was sure glad when I received them!
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Florida Gardening forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Dianthus 'Nyewood Cream'"