Louisiana growers dedicated to the worlds slowest art form
Every gardener has their favorite plant. Sometimes we get a beautiful plant at the nursery, bring it home and put it where we think it looks great, only to watch it wither and die no matter what we do. Sometimes that "perfect" spot was perfect for us, not the plant. Sometimes we can be the cause by killing with kindness. Too much light, or not enough? Too much water? Wrong soil? What happened? If you have enjoyed those delicate plants with the fancy colored leaves but have been afraid to try one, or you brought one home and pampered it only to watch your hopes and wishes melt into the dirt, or had success and want to try more, you should be with us!
If you have a shady spot where nothing seems to grow well There's a Begonia for that!
Bayou Begonia of the Month April Begonia Turrialbae by Freda Holley
This is a begonia discovered by Kathleen Burt Utley in Costa Rica at Cartago: about 7.2 km E of Tuis and 5.3 km E of Platanillo along rd. to Bajo Pacuare and Moravia, at 2900 ft., according to the International Database of Begoniaceae or IDB. That 2900 ft. is significant to know because in our climate we can just about be sure that anything above about 1,000 to 1,500 ft. will demand that we grow it in a terrarium. It can probably also be grown in a heated greenhouse in the winter to spring, but it is may be easier just to keep it in a terrarium where I am growing mine. Kathleen Burt Utley is a botanist who taught until retirement at the University of New Orleans; she now resides I believe in Florida. She also served as ABS Nomenclature Director for a while. It’s leaves are quite beautiful. It is said that these are best in low light. It has a thin, creeping rhizome. It can be propagated from pieces of rhizome or from leaves which is how I did mine. The photo above illustrates that it propagates and grows well from small pieces of the leaf as you can see from the photo of my propagation box. You can also see I should have transplanted these cuttings to a terrarium long ago although they do survive well in the crowded conditions. The flowers which have not yet appeared on my plant placed in a terrarium are white with both male and females open at the same time which is helpful if we want to self pollinate our plants to get seed. You should leave the terrarium open for an hour around noon, before brushing the female flower with the male flower pollen. The humidity in the terrarium makes the pollen damp and not transfer well if at all. Since this plant is among the American rhizomatous species, the female bloom would likely also cross well with other American rhizomatous species. Although I am not fond of growing in terrariums, the beauty of this plant does make it worth the extra effort. I think you would enjoy it. Pictured is the plant I have placed in the terrarium. You may see other information on the ABS website, www.begonias.org, or as it links to the IDB visit there for more photos.