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Re: Another begonia

Here is the culture info I gathered for BB for our sales.  I have more info
on propagating them but it will have to wait til later as I'm leaving for a
family dinner.

Beefsteak Begonia
Begonia erythrophylla, a rhizomatous Begonia
        Waxy rounded leaves  with a bronzy top surface and reddish color
underneath.  Easy to grow.

To grow rhizomatous begonias well, use a shallow pot, preferably clay (but
if your water is high in salts, plastic pots may be better), and a standard
coarse, fast-draining planting mix. Don't overwater or overpot -- move a
plant up to a pot only one size larger at a time and only when the roots
have filled the present pot.  During spring through fall, the time of active
growth, water only when the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch.
Most rhizomatous begonias are not fussy about humidity. About 50% is
sufficient, but lower humidity does little harm.
Rhizomatous begonias are "cool temperature" plants, doing best in the range
of 58 to 72? F.
A "complete" fertilizer should be applied according to label directions
unless the plant is in dormancy. During dormancy, don't feed at all.
Rhizomatous begonias grow nicely when given adequate light without strong
direct sun. A window free of direct sun also will suffice. You'll know when
light is insufficient because the leaf stems will elongate and the plant
will grow lanky, but too much light will bleach leaves.
Flowers appear in airy, cloud-like clusters on stems well above the foliage,
usually late winter through spring. Some plants bloom at other times.
Pruning usually consists of replanting an old plant that is crowding itself.
Rhizomes often will grow over the pot edge. This forms a nicely rounded
plant and, unless you find it unattractive, need not prompt pruning. Some
rhizomes grow upward and may require pruning to keep the plant in bounds. In
any case, pruning yields rhizome cuttings which can be rooted in a medium
such as sand or perlite to create new plants.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "cathy carpenter" <cathyc@rnet.com>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Saturday, November 29, 2003 2:47 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] Another begonia

> While we are on topic begonia, I have a question. Last year I was given
> a "Beefsteak" begonia, grown for its foliage, as its flowers are
> relatively small and it doesn't seem to bloom often. My problem is that
> the leaves grow out of a thick "stem" that keeps elongating. It is so
> long now that if the plant wasn't propped against a wall, the pot would
> tip over! What does this plant think it is? A vine? A ground cover? Is
> the only solution rooting a new plant from the leaves and then pitching
> the mother? Any other ideas? I have two stems one extending 12" from
> the pot, the other 24".
> Cathy

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