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 2020 Begonia melanobullata by Cindy Moran
Begonia melanobullata seems to be THE hot begonia of the year on the internet and I have seen it listed for $35 at a commercial grower plus being OUT OF STOCK. So I am propagating to make it available at our annual Louisiana meeting in June-much less than $35 I promise. I actually find it fairly easy to propagate from leaf cuttings.
This rhizomatous species is native to a mountainous area in North Vietnam and was described and publicized in 2015 by Taiwanese botanist C.I.Peng and his associate C.W.Lin. They compared it to a similar species from Southwest China called ferox, but went on to describe differences between the two. Apparently, the melanobullata displays its bullae(dark cones bristled at the tip with a hair) at a much younger age and also retains the hairs while ferox eventually drops them.
Looking at the photo you can see why it is called “Chocolate Chip” begonia! This lime loving cliff dweller needs constant humidity and probably will only succeed in a terrarium. It also need good light so for a terrarium that is usually an artificial source-mine grows under a double strip LED about 8” above it. The species name describes it in Latin-melano meaning dark and bullata meaning cones-well, Chocolate Chip begonia might be easier to remember. So if a begonia can be described as delicious, this is it!