Can this Sinbad begonia be saved?

aliska12000(Z5)May 28, 2009

This is my third year for it, repotted it in Miracle Gro potting soil late last summer, 5 gal pot. It was so covered with beautiful leaves and the little pink flowers last year, it was amazing, couldn't even see the pot, leaves hung to the ground and also a lot taller.

They won't overwinter outside here, so I brought it into the sunroom, put it back on an east window corner where it wouldn't get too much sun, just where it had done well the previous winter. Got it in before any frost hit (I thought). Immediately it started dropping leaves. I figured it was a goner, but kept watering it all through the winter.

The other day, I asked for help to carry it outside and put it where it was last year. All winter it tried to make new leaves but doesn't do anything.

So I turned it out of the pot to see how rootbound it is. Good rootball but not wound around the bottom. Next I decided to cut it back by about 1/2, made my cuts a bit above an axil? (where the leaves come out of the stem), hated to do it.

It did turn yellow last year before I repotted it, gave it some Miracid, came back beautifully, but not sure what feed they like best. Over the winter, I alternated Miracid with Osmocote but not as often as the instructions say.

I'm not big into begonias because you have to grow them in pots here, and I've had a couple failures with other kinds. Is there anything more I can do about Sinbad other than watch it?

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It's very possible it can be saved. Sinbad loves outdoor heat and some sun so I'd expect it to regain some vigor when moved outdoors (if you haven't already). The biggest problem I've had with Sinbad (and other thin leaf canes) is mildew when moved indoors. I usually end up losing it sometime in winter (lack of good light?) but usually can pick up a gallon pot for around $5 although I couldn't find it last year.

The next time you cut it, you should root the cuttings for another pot.

Here was one of mine a few years ago

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 8:43PM
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Thank you, hcmcdole. Yours is slightly different from mine, but the leaves are characteristic. Mine got just a little bigger, but this is not a show here and both in their own way are wonderful. That's good photography there, looks like you may have some things interplanted with or around it? What? The leaves have a slight irridescent sheen (to me).

I rarely buy plants locally but there was just the one sitting outside Home Depot when I went in to pick up some stuff, so I bought it but was afraid I couldn't find another one just like it this year w/o running everywhere, was small in about a pint pot.

It's a shame I threw the cuttings on some cardboard I laid down to smother weeds, but I just did it within the last couple of days so if I knew what to do, maybe I could still try rooting some, been rainy and cool. The leaf method looks too hard.

Plants are funny. I don't like my sunroom full of plants over the winter, but I rooted some roses that were too tender to plant outside. So I bought a humidifier, hated it (have to clean w/vinegar once a month), and just set a bucket of water by the register and also two more. I bring my geraniums in, too, and assorted things, get tired of watering it all. But I've got some trellises and "stuff" stacked up in there I can't move, and that could have crowded Sinbad. Yours looks like it gets a little afternoon sun. No problem with mildew inside but sure have a bunch of other ones, no end to them.

It is outside now as of Tue this wk, and I will leave it be for a little while because it did so well in that spot last year, just a little morning sun. I can move it out into a little more sun, but not too much. To gain anything by repotting, I'd have to cut the roots way back, and that could further shock the plant now. Mir Gro pot soil is supposed to be good for 3 years w/supplemental fertilizer off and on but that thing prob sucks up nutrients like crazy.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 11:07PM
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That Sinbad was in an 18 inch pot. The other begonnias were Chocolate (probably Withlacoochee), Torch (red blooms), and richmondensis (great bloomer and easy to grow).

If your stem cuttings are still plump you can still root them in water or potting mix. You cannot start Sinbad from a leaf cutting.

HD is one place to buy begonias but it is hit or miss. Two summers ago they had lots of 8 inch pots of cane begonias for $4 including Don Miller (looks similar to Sinbad), Linda Dawn, Lana, Maurice Amey, Concord, and a few more. I wish they did that each year.

You are correct about that particular pot of Sinbad - it was getting late afternoon sun. A lot of folks say begonias should never get full sun but if you want blooms then you would be better off giving it quite a bit of sun.

I've got some begonias in the same pot, same soil for a few years. It depends on how the plant is doing before I repot it. Fertilizer will make a big difference in growing.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 6:27AM
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hcmcdole, I couldn't get back in here yesterday. Thanks for explaining about the cuttings. Mine is still sitting there doing nothing but I can get cuttings off it unless you need a good top leaf or two. If it leafs out well again, I don't need all those canes. I'm loath to repot it this year, more work and takes a lot of potting soil, but might if it survives into next year.

Since I have to grow them in a big pot, I guess I won't branch out into getting more, just more trouble to overwinter in the sunroom, but I do love them, especially some in hanging baskets.

What do you fertilize with? That is my critical question at this point. I was going to give it a little more Miracid but am waiting for it to dry out some first, had a lot of rain. I don't see where Osmocote has done much for it, but it works fairly well with other potted plants.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 2:23PM
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That is one reason I treat it and a lot of other ones like annuals - great growers in summer but terrible to keep over winter.

A slow release fertilizer is better to use when repotting but a top dressing won't hurt either. A water soluble fertilizer is recommended as an effective feeding regimen as well. Take your pick or do both.

Some sites say 1/3 to 1/2 strength of water soluble fertilizer weekly or every time you water. (Weekly - weakly). I think in summer full strength won't hurt either because I spray the leaves with Miracle-Gro or Shultz every week or two.

If you use a garden fertilizer be careful on applying too much and I'd definitely recommend not using it on young begonias (I killed a bunch like that a few years ago). For big begonias it can make a huge difference but can also be deadly if used at too high a rate.

I do like the advice I've heard recently from some ABS experts - get the fertilizer with the best price (on sale). I've adopted that philosophy.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 5:24PM
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I just hate to throw a plant out, but I will if this doesn't bounce back, not worth the trouble. If I can't find one locally, I can surely mail order one somewhere, am leery of big box plants, but am a gambler.

Just stocked up on fertilizers that have worked on other plants. I'd shy away from using garden fertilizer on it, will keep with what I've been doing. My choices are Miracid, Miracle Gro regular, Osmocote, and Ortho Bloom Booster. Osmo and OBB are slow release; Mir's are not. Also I have kelp I can spray on the leaves (think I'll skip that, no leaves of any consequence) and/or stick some compost on top.

From what you said and knowing me, bi-weekly with the amount recommended for potted plants (more dilute). At least the first month it's outside. Unless you think differently, I'll go with Miracid in the weaker solution and Osmocote. That Bloom Booster stuff is great on the ground but may be too strong for pots. I used it to try to get my tulips to spread, learned about it on the tulips forum. They used Scott's Bloom Booster which appears is only sold in the UK.

Anyway, one line of mixed tulips did spread and was surprised because they say it doesn't work well on the east side. It didn't work at all in front but made the grass grow and weeds grow like crazy.

The tulip business was in case you were interested in that. I'll use that BB on my perennials, have some special stuff for my roses and tomato food for my clematis.

I'd go cheaper if I could get out more, had relatives pick a myriad of stuff up for me and take what I get, usually tell them not to buy the cheapest because of other issues. Like topsoil, the cheap stuff you never know what's in it.

Sorry I talk too much when I get to talking.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 8:26PM
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It sounds like you have plenty of fertilizer to choose from without having to rush out and buy some new stuff.

I've used Colorburst (at Home Depot) on some of my big pots and have had good luck with it but again I would never use it on young plants (a hard lesson learned).

I had a chance to buy a huge pot (3 gallon?) of Sinbad at our local nursery chain but I didn't want to pay $15 so I chose to buy a new fuzzy leaf begonia with nice large blooms for $5 instead. I will keep an eye open for Sinbad and others locally.

We have to treat tulips like annuals here. Once in a while some tulips will be perennial but that is an exception.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 7:46AM
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Your new one sounds pretty, I don't think at this point I'd want to pay $15 for a large Sinbad. It was fun to start small and grow it big myself. Mine was $5.95 at HD IIRC. I hope you find one, as people had admired mine last year, asked what it was. I hate to pelt you with more questions, but is Sinbad a Rex?

I don't know what people do with tulips here in my zone, just know that I see plenty around. One year I watched the neighbor across the street gf planting his, they were nice, next year came back a little, then gone. So I wanted to avoid that and read the tulip forum. First you have to find some that are for naturalizing, it never says. So the ones that have spread are Purple Rain Mix from American Meadows, and I wouldn't have known how to do that if I hadn't read that post on the tulip forum here. It's always a gamble, but for me it was a lot of work to plant those 20 tulip bulbs, and I didn't want to have to repeat that every year. I love them but never tried to grow them before. I like them so well I think I will fill in a couple gaps in the fall and try some in front.

But you're right, I think most kinds, especially the prettiest fancy ones, unless someone gets really lucky, will only grow as annuals. They're cheap enough.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 11:54PM
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Sinbad is a shrub. But it is a special kind of shrub - a Mallet. A Mallet is named after the person who first hybridized this type of shrub/cane. Pronounced Ma-lay (if I remember right). Mallet hybrids all have a Philippine species as a parent (U062) which is why they all are susceptible to mildew.

Brad's World

The reason (I heard or read about) tulips aren't perennial in the South is that summer comes in so fast that the plant has not had enough time (cool weather time) to put starches back into the bulb and diminishes each year until it has used up all its food. The few I had that were perennial were ones that got good sun in the early spring but had lots of shade for late spring and summer so I guess the coolness helped those few.

Here is the new hairy leaf begonia:

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 6:27PM
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I almost forgot to check back. Love your new begonias but like Sinbad better, well not necessarily after another look; the flowers are more showy on your new one. Mine, as might be expected, is not looking good. The mega rain we've been getting is not helping. I'm done with it, sink or swim, will leave it sit there for awhile.

Thanks for the link. My, there is a beautiful begonia there. If I could grow some of those beauties and get a couple of seasons out of them using sunroom, would be worth it.

It used to be common to plant smaller sempiflorens at malls and around. I "borrowed" a couple and stuck them in some soil, they root very easily but frost eventually got them. They make good border plants or mass planting in pots but people seem to go more for impatiens now, haven't seen any for a long time but don't trek through garden centers like I used to.

Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and how you have them situated there, looks so nice with those bricks, just love nice brickwork like that. Making bricks an ancient practice that never gets outdated. Same w/pottery. Yak yak yak. I'm at it again, cold today, rainy and can't do much outside.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 4:37PM
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Here is what it looks like today, no sign of flowerets, but the leaves look healthy. It was those leaves that sold me on that plant. Otherwise, I'd want one more like yours or that pretty flowered one at your link.

Not the best light for a photo, but I was out doing other things and just grabbed a couple shots of it. We'll see how it does the rest of the summer.

It must have had something to do with the root system not being able to support so many tall canes and leaves. I'm not putting it into a larger pot. It's got to sink or swim in this one. I can cut the roots back and pot up in fresh soil if it still amounts to anything. I wouldn't care that much at this point, but it looked pretty in that spot last summer and did so well.

Those jugs and chicken wire are my attempt at spring sowing, didn't go so well this spring. Will go back to my other spring sowing method.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 9:04AM
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And here is Sinbad today. Thanks for the encouragement hcmcdole! Looks like it has made a full recovery to me. There are a few little flowers tucked in there.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 12:53PM
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