Perhaps this is a good thread to start on April 1st. I'm curious what experiences people have had with Begonias with huge leaves, or that get huge, or extremely tall. Or all of the above.
I noticed today that I've acquired a strange number of Begonias that would fit that description. I looked at my B. 'Paul Hernandez', which I suspect will soon grow a new leaf larger than anything I've seen. I suspect my already tall B. luxurians will grow a foot this month, and another next month, and...
All of this is in spite of the fact that I have a tiny, tiny yard.
I gathered a few of them together, with an in-ground B. luxurians (#1, 4 feet tall above the ground and not my strongest one) and a B. 'Paul Hernandez' (#2), in a 2 gallon pot, and "only" 2 1/2 tall above the soil. 'Paul Hernandez' also "lives" in this spot:
B. 'Paul Hernandez' is B. luxurians x B. gehrtii (made by Patrick Worley) and I've read that it can get 8 ft. x 8 ft. Mine was bought in a 5 inch pot at Strybing for $8.
Besides those already "big" plants (in quotes because I suspect I will soon remember when they were small like this), I assembled a few others. I forgot one, B. 'Gene Daniels', which is a rooted cutting from my mom's plant.
Begonia 'Freddie' (#4). Started in October from a leaf of a friend's plant. San Marcos Growers says: "This plant has been known to grow leaves that are 3 feet around in Hawaii though typical growth in southern California is 18-24 inches". I'm in N. CA.
Begonia 'Red Fred' (#5). Bought from Pepper's/Accents for $5.95 in December. Said to be a sport of 'Freddie'. I'm not sure how big this is supposed to get, but I should have good conditions for it.
Begonia 'Rudy's luxurians'. A B. luxurians hybrid, from Rudy Ziesenhenne (who also made B. 'Freddie' and 'Gene Daniels'. There are reports online that this can reach 10 ft. or more. I bought my plant for $6 or $8 at Strybing Arboretum.
Begonia 'Gene Daniels'. I believe I've seen reports that this can get as tall as 8 ft. I bought my mom's plant at Annie's Annuals for $10
But here's the one that will become a monster the quickest: The Begonia luxurians that I have in a pot. I bought this (for $23, I think) in a ~2 gallon pot at DIG gardens in Santa Cruz CA. It split it up, and this is what's left. It was around 5 feet before collapsing or getting knocked down last year. I'm going to stake it this year. I'm betting it will hit 8 ft. Maybe it will be limited by the pot size, or another collapse. It's only 3 1/2 feet above the pot but extremely strong growing right now.
Perhaps it has roots in the ground. I haven't looked and I don't plan to move it.
I'm going to read the first photo in again using Gardenweb's upload. I think it's important to note that the only difference is that the first time is through Photobucket. They have some major problems and are really screwing up photos at the moment. I would encourage people to use Gardenweb's system instead of Photobucket where possible. If it's not obvious, compare the coloration of the B. luxurians leaves (which become grayish green in Photobucket) and the quality of the lettering, which was easily readable in the original.