B. luxurians propagation

mark4321_gwApril 11, 2012

A couple years ago I posted an attempt to propagate B. luxurians from a leaf cutting. It failed (although a leaf rooted), and I had to give the plant away due to a move.

I just bought a new plant, partly with the intent of propagating it. It looked like multiple cuttings had been planted in one pot, and I figured I would just save one and reduce the rest to cuttings and some rooted pieces.

Here's what the plant looked like initially. It was $22.99 at DIG gardens, in Santa Cruz, which is one of the better small nurseries in the area.

And a top view:

For now I just split off the parts that looked like they came from the original strongest cutting. I think it looks better as one plant in a pot instead of 3-4:

And here is the rest of what was in the original pot:

Instead of turning those into cuttings (plus rooted pieces) now, I decided to pot them up, let them adjust a little bit, then start removing cuttings.

They are all potted up and I'll follow up again when I take cuttings off these.

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What an excellent record! Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 10:04AM
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Mark, what a beautiful luxurians. It's awful you had to give it up.

It took me a year to find a true B. luxurians. I ordered from Ebay and online nurseries, only to be sent different cultivars, mainly 'Stewart.'
Recieved begonias unlike the pictures sellers posted. Scam!

I recently found a true B. luxurians, and although it's only a seedling, and cost was 60+, I'm happy.

May I ask how you care for yours? Light, humidity?

Also, I'm unsure how you got your luxurians to root.

Hello Woebegonia. How you doing? And how are your little b. luxurian seedlings doing? Toni

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 4:06PM
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Hi Toni,

I still have the new plant(s). A year and a half ago I had to give up the other two B. luxurians I picked up a couple years ago at Strybing sales. These are the two I gave away:

One of those plants (on the right) I had had for a few months and repotted. I bought it as a $6 plant. The other (in the gallon pot) was less than $10, but I don't remember exactly.

I don't remember how I rooted it in the past, but I remember it being easy. I suspect I just stuck a piece in a pot of soil (potting soil + perlite probably) and left it outside. I need to start more cuttings, and since the plants I have now seem happy, I'll start some soon. I did send an unrooted cutting last week to someone.

The ones I currently have are outside against a fence that faces more or less East. I think it gets a lot of shade on top of that, and if it gets any significant sun it's probably in the morning. Our temps average about 80/55 in the summer, 60/40 in the winter. I think our humidity is variable, and lowest in the summer days, but generally high at night. We are in a fairly sunny part of the Bay Area, but I think we get more ocean/bay influence than say Palo Alto or San Jose, and less than San Francisco.

The plants I had a couple years ago were in a similar climate, about 20 miles South. The climate there is perhaps a little less influenced by the ocean/bay. Both were outside near the house, one got some afternoon sun (which I don't think it appreciated) the other in a spot with morning sun.

The plant is not hard to come by in the Bay Area right now. I wouldn't say common--you won't see it at Home Depot, but it is carried by several of the major wholesalers, so it's at a lot of nurseries, especially in the cooler areas (cooler in summer, warmer in winter). Strybing Arboretum also sells it, but often only one or two (or none) at a time. I think they mostly get cuttings from the private plant(s) of one of the volunteers (someone who has posted on Gardenweb, mostly in the Passiflora forum, I think.). Strybing will be having their big Spring sale on Saturday (Friday for members): http://www.sfbotanicalgarden.org/plant_sales/12-annual_plant_sale.htm

Annie's Annuals is also another local source, and of course they also sell mail order (I understand postage is steep). I was at Annie's and took a photo a week ago:

The Annie's plants are $9.95 (the purple color code of the tags). The other Begonia in the photo is B. 'Gene Daniels'. I gave my mom that plant a few months ago and it's not yet big enough for me to sneak a cutting.

Annie's is also a wholesaler and their plants are available at some retail nurseries in California. I have not seen this one, although it could likely be special ordered.

I notice that there is still a seller on Ebay with a plant called 'Stewart's' luxurians, but a picture of B. luxurians, implying that the plant magically turns into that.

Toni, great to hear you got a reasonable price and good luck with your plant. If disaster strikes, send me an email and I'll send you something (it may or may not have roots).

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 6:11PM
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Just an update. I finally got around to starting some cuttings, two inside (one in 1:1 potting soil:perlite, the other straight perlite), and one outside in perlite. Both cuttings inside have very small roots. The one outside has none, so far. I started them 2-3 weeks ago, I think, and forgot to write down the exact date.

Below is a cutting rooted inside in perlite, 2-3 weeks. I probably intended to cut the end closer to the node, remove the bottom leaf and bury the node. I would presumably bury the node when planting the cutting.

They do need high humidity to prevent wilting, and I've enclosed all the cuttings in some sort of chamber or ziploc bag.

The plants themselves are doing great and growing nicely. The big one is apparently top heavy, and blew over in some strong winds. It appears to be undamaged.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 4:04PM
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I wanted to mention that 3 of the 3 cuttings I started have rooted. So I'm going to go ahead and take a lot more (probably about 8). At some point I will be interested in sending these, either in trade or for postage.

I decided to check the size of the biggest plant that I had separated. I didn't realize how big it had grown, over just two months:

So perhaps I should trade a rooted cutting for a big pot, and maybe also a machete.

In case anyone is wondering what conditions this is growing in, it's against a fence that faces mostly East, with a lot of trees and buildings blocking some of the morning sun that it does get. I kept the plant constantly moist in soil that's half perlite and probably fertilized twice.

I gave a link to our April/May/June weather below. About half the days were in the 60s, but with quite a bit of variability. The low was typically about 50. The plant will be outside all year.

Here is a link that might be useful: San Carlos, CA weather in April, May, June

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 4:16PM
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You have a beautiful plant. Please let me know if you will have any cuttings available for postage.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 12:46AM
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Here's an update on the plant and cuttings. The biggest plant continues to get much bigger, quickly. Here it is today, compared with the previous photos. This is the growth over 4 months.

(The relative scales are approximate. I'm trying to get it roughly right by keeping the pot size approximately constant.)

The plant is in bud, and I'm trying to decide when the best time is to repot it. I might plant it or perhaps one of the other plants in the ground.

Our weather in the June 14-August 9 period has been somewhat strange. Highs have ranged from 59 to 98, with an average of 74. An average low of 56. No rain, as is typical.

The first set of 3 cuttings I attempted all rooted and look great. From a few days ago:

I just gave away all 3 of those cuttings, at a 75th birthday party for my mom where plants were the party favors.

The next set of cuttings did not go so well. I think I ran into a problem with fungus. Still, I should get 1 or 2 plants out of that. I need to start another set of cuttings now--I have plenty of material. I hope to get enough where I can offer some for postage, but I can't send them out of the country, even to Canada.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 4:14PM
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Mark, OMG!!! Your B. luxurians are amazing..and the cuttings!!!

Rooting in Perlite. How often did you did you fertilize unrooted cuttings?

Do you keep cuttings outdoors, too?

I can't believe how fast they grew. The one I bought on Ebay isn't doing well. Last week it went outside..
With several weeks @ 100F and higher, and w/o a/c, my Begonias took a turn for the worse.
Some types, over 5=yrs old, kicked the bucket. Sun was harsh, and temps way too high. No breeze. It felt like a desert without cooler nights.

It's sad the second batch had problems. What do you think caused it?

You're lucky you can keep Begonias outdoors, year round.

Your Begonias are gorgeous...Toni

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 2:25PM
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Hi Toni,

I've rooted cuttings mostly indoors, but one outdoors. The one outdoors (one of my first 3) was slightly slower, but not by much. Once rooted I tried to get the cuttings into soil and then outside as fast as reasonably possible. I don't fertilize anything without roots, and if my cuttings did get any fertilizer it was only in the last couple weeks.

It looks like I will likely get 2 and hopefully a third from my second batch of cuttings (starting with seven total, I think). I have had problems with fungus at my current/new location that I'm not used to. I have not figured out a solution, but I just started another batch (5 so far...) and I'm keeping them outside with the hope that the cooler temperatures and higher light will help--we'll see.

A week ago I was at the SF Botanical Garden (aka Strybing) and I was told, by a member of the Begonia Society, I think, that a few years back there was a B. luxurians that was 20 feet tall. I don't know if this was an exaggeration or not. Today I was back there for one of their monthly sales. I picked up a nice Begonia 'Paul Hernandez' (B. luxurians x B. gehrtii) about 20 inches tall ($8), as well as a big sprawling Begonia toledana ($10). That would be a great place to quickly get a big collection of Begonias, both indoor and outdoor, for a good price. Plus, free advice from people who really know their stuff. I'll post a picture on the "where do you buy your Begonias?" thread.

They also had Stewart's luxurians for sale, blooming in a small pot, maybe 8 inches tall ($6). I was reminded that there is an Ebay seller STILL (and Toni I know you were burned) selling Stewart's luxurians with a picture of B. luxurians. The B. luxurians does not appear to be provided to show one of the parents, but instead seems intended to suggest that the little plant one buys somehow morphs into a B. luxurians. A truly deceptive auction (or series of auctions). I forgot my camera; otherwise I would have started another thread to remind people that that is what the little plant looks like when mature. It's really sad to think that people are still being deceived.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 11:13PM
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Hi Mark,

So, indoor cuttings root faster? Interesting.

Did your area have 'more than usual' high humidity? Could too much air moisture be the reason for mildew? I no longer use Root Tone, 'propagating,' but it's supposed to prevent disease, etc..

When I first saw B. Lux, I did research. Most sites stated they can reach 15-20', so it's possible the person who told you about the large Begonia was being truthful. I'd love to see that plant! Better yet, own that plant..lol

Wow, nice Begonias at great bargains. Wish we had different shows around here. There are two places that have shows..one at Navy Pier in Chicago..but most vendors bring ordinary plants at expesive prices..I won't go downtown anymore..Rip Offs!
Another place, Botanical Gardens, has a monthly show/fair from Mar-Sept/Oct. But it's a drive and a half, and prices are a bit high, too..

Marked, I was burmed 3 times, 'different sellers'.

It's terrible when sellers post a different picture. I was so excited finding the three Luxurians only to discover they were Stewarts.
I was told, once they matured, the new foliage would be thin, but I didn't buy it. Moreso when new foliage grew, it was the same size as others. Thicker leaves. Thankfully, none were over-priced, but that's not the point..

Mark, your pics tell it all. If anyone wants a true B. Luxurians, all they have to do is look at your photos. Thanks, Toni

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 10:07AM
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Hi Toni,

The cutting that rooted more slowly outside--I think it was roughly 3 weeks vs. 2 weeks for those inside. I'm really aggressive when it comes to looking at cuttings, especially when they are of something I haven't propagated much before. I'm not sure the difference is meaningful. The outside temperature would be a lot more variable, and certainly cooler at night, always dropping into the 50s.

The fungus was actually the "furry" type of mold, and was associated with the fact that I enclosed the cuttings, usually in plastic bags. I first tried without and they immediately wilted. So the humidity they experienced was extremely high. Our humidity outside is pretty variable, and we are not in an area that gets much fog. It's almost always sunny here. I did not have many problems with fungus when I rooted cuttings (of many different things) in my old location, so this is new to me.

I checked the Ebay seller whose pictures suggest the little plants transform into B. luxurians. People have bid more than $30 for these plants.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 8:47PM
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Hi Mark,

Did you use a heat mat for seedlings?

When you placed cuttings in a plastic bag, did you make slits for ventilation?
Just curious.

I don't root as many plants as I used to, 'space issues,' but when I did, I made slits in plastic for air.
Mark, I'm not telling you what to do, please don't think I am. I'm certain you're much more advanced than I.

I have a genergic seedling propagator..Plastic tray w/plastic dome. The dome has a slide to open for ventilation. And a heat mat, too.

What did you mean when you said you're agressive when it comes to looking at cuttings? How so?

Mark screams at seeds, 'YOU'D BETTER GROW!!!' lol

Possibly, 50F degrees night temps, halted germinating a tad?

Aw, so you relocated. Yes, temps/humidity/light makes a difference in growing/rooting/sowing. Guess it's a matter of experimenting. Did you move to a different city/state or a new house?

Don't know if this is fact or fiction, but I read cinnamon prevents mold, mildew and rot.

I have a Brughamia Insignis..A succulent. The main trunk, 'top' started to rot. I chopped off a tiny section, and sprinkled Cinnamon..this happened last summer..The plant is now doing well, new foliage.

Well, good luck, Mark. I hope all your cuttings root without problems.

I went to Ebay, typed in Begonia luxurians. There are two sellers..both international. One is selling seeds, the second plugs. Does the sellers name start with a T?
I couldn't find the number of ppl who bought Begonias from him/her.

30.00! God, then there's shipping, too. That's awful.

I don't see why B. lux are so scarce. And when one is available, too expensive.

I'd love to find another, but a true B. lux, at a reasonable price.
Now I fear finding one on Ebay..Thanks..lol. j/k.

IL is much cooler now..too cool for August. The month of July was very very hot..100-104F w/high humidity..I love warmth, but nowadays, 100 w/70% humidity is too hot, even for me..lol.
However, most plants seem to enjoy the drop, and humdiity is still up..Another gray day w/some sprinkles.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 10:32AM
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Hi Toni,

I've used bottom heat occasionally for cuttings, rarely if ever for seeds. I really don't grow too many things from seeds.

I know that many people ventilate their cuttings somehow. I've never had problems in the past; maybe I need to start now. I've always wondered whether more spores, etc. might get in that way (?). Probably it helps, because any spores might be less likely to grow in lower humidity.

One thing I like, however, about keeping things completely closed is that if there is some sort of bug or whatever on a cutting it stays isolated. One spider mite on a cutting can soon become dozens or even hundreds. It's nice if it's trapped.

I used to live about 45 miles from San Francisco (closer to San Jose). Now I live about 20 miles north, about halfway (25 miles) from both San Jose and San Francisco. The climate is different in subtle ways--less hot in summer, less cold in winter. Perhaps a different fungus/mold population exists in the area or maybe just inside. I don't know.

I'm "aggressive" in the sense that I dig up cuttings and check for roots--frequently. Perhaps that's not the best word. "Invasive" seemed to have other connotations, so I was looking for a better word... Most people would be afraid of breaking off any roots. It's not a problem as long as one is careful. I really like to be aware of when cuttings are rooting and to find problems as soon as they arise.

I've tried cinnamon a little bit to prevent/control fungus and wasn't convinced either way. I doubt I would ever be motivated to sprinkle it on all my cuttings, even if it did work. And EVERYTHING would smell like cinnamon. I guess there are worse smells.

If you are looking for another B. luxurians, you are welcome to a cutting assuming things behave.

Regarding sellers--it might be worth pointing out who is selling the genuine plant, and give names. Strange Wonderful Things (Jeff H.) without a doubt sells the correct plant. I've seen pictures from both Clackamas Orchids ("canbyorchid" on Ebay) and the seller "doctortaco" that are clearly the right thing. Are there others? I think the plant is popular in the UK, so probably sellers there have the right thing. The plant is available locally: wholesalers San Marcos Growers, Monterey Bay Nursery, Annie's Annuals all sell the correct plant. I would guess that plants coming from the Bay Area should be genuine, in general. The hybrids are harder to find around here. It looks like Kartuz is selling the plant at the moment. That one is certainly the correct plant as well.

The questionable Ebay seller that I was thinking of is the one that comes up selling "Stewart S luxurians" if one does a search of completed auctions. The seller shows a picture of a mature B. luxurians leaf first, then pictures of small plants that are presumably Stewart's luxurians. He/she needs to make clear that the first picture is of one of the parents, and the plant he/she is selling will not resemble this when mature.

Here is a link that might be useful: Begonia luxurians at Kartuz

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 4:30PM
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I can't believe my post went through..We have a terrible internet connection. Yesterday, after finishing my post, when I clicked submit, the next page said, cannot open page..when this happens, all is lost. I was so, well, irked I turned off the puter the entire day! lol

I never once thought about a cutting that possibly has mites/mealy, and the fact they can't escape if there's no ventilation..Good point.

Yes, heat will speed up cuttings/germination..
Sorry, thought you said you sowed seeds, too.

Do we have micro-climates in our homes? lol. Maybe mold/mildew spores are in different parts of our homes..Different temp/humidity, etc??

You're a root spy..lol. That, I'm not..If foliage from cuttings are doing well, I let them be...
A girl I met on GW used to ask me for cuttings, ALL THE TIME. She'd end up killing more cuttings by sneaking a peak, then ask for more of the same plant. She and I no longer talk.
But, if it works, so be it. We do things our own ways.

Oh yes, there are a many terrible odors. I love cinnamon, especially around fall. Stores sells decorations cinnamon scented.
Maybe you'd need to live in the midwest to understand.
Have you ever been in the midwest?

Bad odor. One example is Fish Emulsion. I fertilize some plants w/FE. The house smells fishy about 3 days..lol..
Also, before plants come in before our horrid winters, I spray each w/FE. It kills and prevents Scale bug. I also add other ingredients, and believe me, it works..But our home smells like a fish market..lol.

Thanks for the heads-up on Ebay. I'll have to keep those sellers in mind.
About Kartuz..I've ordered from Kartuz a number of times. Last year I ordered B. luxurians. Mark, they sent a Stewart..not the skinny=finger type.
Perhaps they now sell the correct Luxurians, but not last year.
I should write and ask which type they have. I don't want another Stewart..lol.

I didn't see any other sellers on Ebay who sold B. Lux, only the two international sellers, and one had seed. That might be the same person I ordered seeds from last year, which never germinated..Tried twice, w/o success..not a third time. Maybe I should have typed sometime other than begonia luxurians in the seach box..on Ebay??

Thanks for everything Mark. Toni

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 10:00AM
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Hi Toni,

Cuttings can be safely checked if one is careful. See for example the link at the bottom.

I love the smell of cinnamon and hate the taste and smell of fish (and any seafood). I can't imagine everything smelling like cinnamon, though, although I would certainly prefer it over anything fishy. I have been to the Midwest many times--I have dozens of relatives there. I haven't lived there, though.

I'm surprised Kartuz sent you the wrong thing. Did you ask and give them a chance to correct their mistake? They certainly know what the correct plant is and I'm sure they don't intentionally send out the wrong thing. I guess I'm under the impression that Worley made the 'Paul Hernandez' luxurians hybrid when he was with Kartuz. I think Brad Thompson made the 'Vista Quest' luxurians hybrid (Kartuz is in Vista) and I've heard he is close to the nursery. Actually a search also finds posts on a Yahoo Begonia group from Michael Kartuz himself about B. luxurians. He said just a couple months ago that the plant cannot be propagated by leaves, as he has tried (unfortunately GW will not let me post the link...).

Here is a link that might be useful: Passiflora cuttings that were repeatedly inspected

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 1:45PM
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I checked the cuttings I started a couple weeks ago. Three had roots, two did not.

I repotted the biggest B. luxurians, in what was sold to me as a 3 gallon pot. It looks about twice the volume of what it was in. This was a couple days ago--the plant appears unchanged. No picture.

I decided to put one of the smaller plants in the ground. This is one that I had been using as a source of cuttings. Most of the growth that you can see is from a new cane that recently shot up. The plant is slightly wilting in the photo. It was fairly dry when I planted it, and it had already wilted slightly. I planted it close to the fence, because the yard is covered with flagstones. I had to break off the corner of one to sneak it in this spot.

The soil here is really bad--hopefully the plant will make it. I chose not to amend the soil, but just see what happens. Our soil is adobe clay. Here's a photo of a few pieces that I peeled off the trowel I was digging with. It really feels like modeling clay.

I was worried that the corner I planted it in was a little too dark. However, I keep a Brugmansia sanguinea there, and it bloomed nicely in May. So it should be OK. The Brugmansia will stay--there should be room for both. I also used this as an excuse to finally cut the Brugmansia back and move it to a larger pot.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 8:44PM
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