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 October 2019 Begonia cornitepala by Freda Holley
For the past several years I have been growing Brazil begonia seed from Mauro Piexoto (brazilplants.com) for any begonia that I have not yet grown to test their hardiness for Louisiana or other hot climate areas. B. cornitepala (Fig. 1) is one that I have found quite heat hardy that has other traits that make it desirable as well. It has long, slender leaves that tend to be a bit succulent and is quite tall. It has attractive and interesting white flowers that have short white, reddish tiped white hairs on the tepal backs and ovaries. I think it is one that anyone who likes the cane-like begonias would want. Although it is horticulturally identified as shrub-like, I find it behaves more like other cane-like begonias since many shrub-like begonias are not heat tolerant for me.
Its description was published in 1953 by Irmscher and was found in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. It is in the Section Pritzelia. It has white flowers and likes as much light as you can give it for better bloom.
I have been growing it for quite a few years now, but have only managed to obtain one seed pod which I got from a plant I grew in isolation from other plants, Here, I cannot give it as much light as it wants for ample bloom or seed set. When I planted seed from this one seed pod, I obtained seedlings (Fig. 2) that were identical to that plant except for one seedling you can easily identify. Of course it could be from one stray cane seed, but because it was the only seed I planted at that time I am going to assume that somehow pollen from a cane made its way to the flower despite my isolation efforts. From this, I will also assume that this plant has 56 chromosomes although it has not been identified as such, and would offer cane and shrub hybridizers new material for crosses. I think this seedling is attractive and it will be interesting to observe as it grows. In the IDB, no progeny has been identified so perhaps this seedling will be the first.