Begonia luxurians disaster

mark4321_gwSeptember 8, 2012

OK, that's a bit of an overstatement. It's more like a setback of a few months...

I had a 5 1/2 foot tall Begonia luxurians with multiple canes. It had two sets of buds on the tallest cane. Here's the plant in August:

A couple days ago I came out and found all of the tall canes bent over, with the tallest one snapped. My best guess is that an animal (squirrel, cat) jumped on the plant, thinking it was sturdier than it actually was. Here's what it looks like now:

I haven't ruled out the possibility that the plant suddently wilted and partially collapsed. However the plant was not dry and it was below 80. It looks like perhaps there are scratch marks on a couple of stems, which might happen from a startled animal. I don't see any other obvious source of these:

The funny fuzzy plant with the green stem in the above photo, also obvious in the photo two up, is a "vining Calceolaris", possibly Calceolaria perfoliata. It had climbed into the Begonia a bit, and is unharmed.

So at this point it looks like I will cut each cane below where it had its sharpest bend/break. I will likely generate about a dozen cuttings from cutting the plant up. Hopefully it recover in several months.

I thought about staking up the individual canes. However I decided they would almost certainly end up weakened from the experience. If they get tall (say 10 ft. ) it seems unwise to have anything but the strongest canes. The plant wouldn't look as good with multiple stakes, either.

I have another plant in the ground, and it looks great after a couple weeks. The photo is misleading; the plant is a couple feet tall and the leaves are huge.

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I realize this is turning into my third thread on propagating this species...

Here's what the plant looked like after cutting back:

I used this opportunity to slip in a Passiflora membranacea against the fence behind where I grow the Begonia luxurians. It is now in the ground. This is a small 1 gallon plant I picked up at Strybing Arboretum on Saturday for $15. I mean "small" in a relative sense. Assuming the plant is happy it will get enormous and probably take over my yard.

I turned what I removed into 16 cuttings. Note how long some of the internodes are. Ideally I would have liked to bury 2 nodes of each cutting. That was not a possibility here:

I potted up the cuttings (after dipping the end in Rootone) in moist perlite.

Following this picture I covered the cuttings with several pieces of saran wrap and hopefully closed up most of the gaps. I'm really not used to starting so many large cuttings at once, so hopefully this works. I should know in two or three weeks. I'm keeping the cuttings outside in a mostly shaded area.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 4:09AM
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I checked them yesterday and potted up the five that already had roots.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 11:43PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Can I just say that is like no Begonia Ive seen before! Fabulous!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 4:37PM
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How are your cuttings doing now? How many of the 16 rooted?

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 9:39AM
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So here's the story. I tried to wrap plastic over the cuttings to keep them humid. I assume the squirrels got to them, because I found one end of the plastic ripped wide open. The cuttings ended up dropping what was in almost all cases their only leaf. Many still rooted, and they are putting out new growth. So in the long run it's not a problem. Most of the tip cuttings did not make it.

At the moment 9 cuttings have rooted and I'm waiting on 4 more. One of those I hope is pretty certain, as it also is sending up a strong basal shoot. So I'm hoping for 10-13 at this point.

Here are the 9:

And here's the big potted plant, starting to send up new growth:

(Also in that photo: Calceolaria perfoliata, Deppea splendens, Passiflora membranacea, Impatiens flanaganae, Arbutus fruits from the tree above.)

And the in ground plant continues to do well:

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 12:16AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Very cool!! Well done.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Just before Thanksgiving we took my aunt, who was visiting, down to Santa Cruz. I noticed this "little" plant in downtown:

Ironically, one of the things we were up to that day was bringing a B. luxurians to a friend of my mom's. I had given it to her in August, but she forgot it up at my mom's. I since repotted it in a 1 gallon pot and it has grown considerably.

Back to the topic of the post. The plant in the pot is recovering and has grown:

The plant in the ground is also doing well and is technically taller than the one in the pot, starting at ground level (roughly 3 feet?):

And the plants that I rooted have continued to do well. Here are 4 that I'm putting up for trade here (I have several more, and I may follow up).

I'll send #1 and #2 (separately) for postage, and #3 and
#4 for trade. If I don't find anything for trade I'll put those up for postage as well. If I don't hear anything here (or by email) within a reasonable period of time I'll also post on the Begonia exchange section.

(I believe #4 was rooted prior to the plant collapse)

As far as trades, at the moment I'm looking for Aristolochia grandiflora (see link at bottom). There are a handful of other things I am looking for, such as blooming size plants/divisions of Masdevallia caesia, Cymbidium tracyanum (but not other Cymbidiums) and cool growing Stanhopeas. I'm also interested in Platyceriums (besides bifurcatum) and unusual epiphytes. For trade, B. luxurians could be combined with other thing(s) mentioned in the link at the bottom, or perhaps other things I can propagate. In general I'm out of space, and so am limited in the sorts of things I can take. Besides space, one thing I lack is full sun. I might be interested in more Begonias; maybe not.

Here is a link that might be useful: Partial list of some other plants available

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 3:19AM
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Would you still have any left for postage.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:18PM
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Hi Bluerose007,

Sorry, I'm not sending plants to Canada..

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:58PM
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Would you be able to send it to Piscataway, New Jersey once the weather warms up.


    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 7:58AM
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Yep, I can send one to NJ.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 6:56PM
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