Begonia blues

Standoff at the succulent

I put this shot on top to cheer myself up and celebrate one month of plantkiller! I haven’t had this much fun writing…uh, ever. (And I’ve had some good times at the keyboard over the years, I’ll tell you what.)

That said, with this post I’m taking a break from my beloved garden crime and plant porn. (And oh, you all are in for some wicked green porno soon. Friends sent me some hilarious pictures this week!) Yep, today I’m going back to my roots (!) to hand-wring and navel gaze over some plants I may be killing. It’s hard to say, so I offer the following exhibits on some maddening wax leaf Begonias, who are NOT my friends — not now, not ever.

First, let me say this sentence totally pisses me off:

“Begonias are very popular plants because begonia care is so easy.”

This is one of the sentences that pops up often (or some version of it) when you google anything about begonias, such as “begonia care” or “leaves falling off begonias.”

Why am I so angry? Because all I can manage to do is damage or kill these plants. Apparently, I am not one of those people who EASY plants like. Last year, I killed a bunch of beautiful leafy orange begonias when I planted them in front of my too-sunny front porch and then over-watered them into soggy stumps. The proverbial dreaded “wet feet,”apparently. Some smaller wax begonias with wee red flowers neither died nor flourished on my patio last summer. Ho hum.

This year, against my better judgment, I bought two of the same wax begonias (big ones!) at Lowe’s. They were only $5 each, so I figured… what the hell. I put them on my shady “three-season” porch and this is what happened immediately. I think I over-watered them… again. (They looked thirsty!)

I knew where this was going, when those big soggy stems rotted out at the bottom and just fell off or came off in my hand. The Reaper lurked. Wet feet again.

But still, I clung to a little hope. I decided — after some reading — to let them completely dry out. And try a few locations: one would stay in its cheapy plastic hanger pot on the shady porch and the other would go into real dirt on my patio, in kind of a shady spot where Colius do well.

And this is what happened…

When I first transplanted the outside begonia about two weeks ago, it was rotting out but still had flowers and could stand upright.

The next day, it looked like a drunk girl in a too-short skirt who fell off a barstool with her legs open. Don’t ask me why. Trust me, that’s how it looked.

Five days later, some weird white rot had appeared on the chewed-up looking leaves. And the flowers… uhm. Bye bye.

And today, well… it’s standing up and has a kind of nice red color, despite the 90-plus-degree heat. But NO flowers.

And when you look close, there are little holes in the leaves, like someone’s been snacking.

Meanwhile, its twin on the porch is totally droopy.

But its leaves looks less molestered up close. And are those new little leaves sprouting? Is this plant actually trying? (Its soil is dry as hell, by the way. As hell.)

So… the question remains: is there hope for these plants? I would like them to live. I would like to read that line: “Begonias are very popular plants because begonia care is so easy” without getting all irked and insulted. I would like to succeed with an “easy-care” plant!

C’mon begonias, give me a little something… a bloom maybe?

On that note, I further celebrate one month of plantkilling in public with a wee report of success: my thriving Coleus garden, filled with $1 flea market plants!*

I heart Coleus!

Coleus, you complete me

*Pay no attention to the yellowing Clematis leaves on the left. You all witnessed that amazing purple bloom. That might be all she wrote this summer!

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About plantkiller

Paysha Rhone is a wife, mother, former-journalist-turned-PR-maven and bad mamajama killing plants in the Victorian splendor of Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
This entry was posted in Keep hope alive, Mo' plants, mo' problems, Wallowing in death and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Begonia blues

  1. LaNeia says:

    Yeah the Coleus look amazing. I need to hit the flea market. Of course, now isn’t the time to replant anything, but hey, maybe I can keep them alive through later in the season and replant? ah….maybe I should just focus on weed wacking and mowing. I can barely get that done so how can I take on more. But yeah, those look amazing. Not sure how Begonias care works. Let’s see how your Begonia experiment goes…

  2. plantkiller says:

    Ha ha, I replant everything all the time… hey, maybe that’s my problem! I think the Coleus are pretty hardy if you have a good shady spot, though, or make some planters! I love them. There are so many cool types, I want to look for even more unique colors and patterns. I *hope* I can do better keeping them as house plants this winter. I understand they’re good for that. A woman at the flea market said you don’t even have to keep the whole plant, just pinch off starters for next year. We’ll see… 🙂

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