My begonia lab part I

Weird science

So… I mentioned I got some begonia cuttings and leaves from Wanda “The Butcher” Mcnair, right? The octogenarian American Begonia Society queen and revered speaker at Tower Hill Botanic Garden.

Well, time for some details on my booty and a little update. (For all you begonia aficionados out there, just dying to know… or the neophytes like me who just want to see what’s down the ABS rabbit hole.)

As reported previously, I rushed home Sunday afternoon with all Wanda’s little treasure baggies and potted them up right away. (All except the Barsalouxiae and Migrosperma begonias [whew!] for terrariums, immersed in spagnum moss… they are still sweating happily in their little plastic bags. I am still contemplating terrarium land.)

For the record, I used potting soil with a little Perlite worked in, just for fun. I figured since Wanda listed Perlite as a rooting medium all on its own, I couldn’t hurt my soil by sprinkling it in, all randomly. I just got brave and took Wanda’s advice to not be “so picky.” (Remember, “these plants just want to grow!”) Then I set all the little terra cotta and plastic pots in what I thought was a dapply spot on my back patio. (I came out the next afternoon to actually find the hot sun blasting down on them, which scared the crap out of me. So I scooted the table further back and now they are in full shade.) I also gave them some water, but tried HARD not to overdo it.

Here’s what I potted up… (And I would love to show you all some stolen pics from the web, but they all seem to belong to the same aggressive, proprietary guy, who I will not link to!)

Begonia: Sweet Shirley (cane like)

Begonia Alma Swisher (cane like)

Begonia Elizabeth Lahn (cane like)

Begonia Deco Cheeks — leaf cutting (cheeky!)

Begonia Cobra — leaf (rahr!)

And Kohleria, a really cool furry-leafed gesneriad — Wanda gave me a big thick stem and a bunch of leaves, so I have a big pot planting for the stem and five small plastic containers with leaf cuttings.

I hope my Kohleria grows up like this



Five days later, all my plants still look… hopeful. All except one of the little Kohleria leaves, which has gone a bit sad and wilted. I am hoping with six of them potted up, I’ll succeed with at least one. That’s kind of my hope for the lot of these, actually. That at least a couple Begonias take root. (I aim low and avoid disappointment!)

Coleus farming experiments no. 4-6

I also potted up a few Coleus stems in straight Perlite, to compare them to the three I am rooting in water on my kitchen windowsill. Perlite is so weird, it looks like styrofoam all by itself. Will this work? Who knows? These are just stems that fell off plants on the patio, so no big deal if they don’t work out. When it comes to stems and leaves, I have decided to try and take success and/or failure a lot less personally. Well, failure at least. I will take full credit for success.

And speaking of success… the Coleus in water are quite happy. Yes, people, we have roots!

This took about 3 weeks

I wonder how long I should let these little whiskers grow before trying to pot them?


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, Making do indoors, Smells like... success and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My begonia lab part I

  1. Karen Elliott says:

    Paysha, you are now a gardener! So great

  2. plantkiller says:

    Awwww, thanks. I’m trying 🙂 Having fun, that’s all that matters!

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