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Begonia seedling or something else? (photo)

Posted by DanaNY Brooklyn, NY (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 24, 05 at 12:40

When I bought the seeds for this it was supposed to be Begonia Pin-up Flame. The seed was yellow dust and looked like begonia seed. At first nothing germinated and I thought the seed wasn't viable. Then tiny seedlings popped up in 3-4 cells 7 months later! Another 8 months later (last pic), I suspect they're NOT begonias since they never developed typical begonia leaves. They are spreading/multiplying, but aren't growing in size otherwise.

Any clue what this is? Is it a begonia or am I nurturing a weed or some weird growth? :o lol

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Begonia seedling or something else? (photo)

  • Posted by MingTea z8 OR Corvallis (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 24, 05 at 20:28

those look like some kind of moss? the name that plant forum is a good place to have things ID'd.

-ming


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RE: Begonia seedling or something else? (photo)

  • Posted by DanaNY Brooklyn, NY (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 24, 05 at 21:51

I did post there as well. I looked up some pics of moss and you guys might be right, ugh. How could this happen??? I used sterile potting mix (Pro-Mix) and grew it indoors. I grow all my plants from seed and this has never happened before.

It's growing in a typical 6 pack cell, so the size is about 1 square inch. It filled up the entire cell in that last pic.

What stinks is I paid $5 for this "begonia" seed, grrr! :( Bought it from a seller on Ebay (Seedrack). He doesn't answer emails so I'm out of luck and it's too late to give him negative feedback.

I guess mystery solved at least. Thanks for the help.


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RE: follow up

  • Posted by DanaNY Brooklyn, NY (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 24, 05 at 21:58

Part of my response (about size) was to 2 other people who answered on the Name That Plant forum and I just realized they didn't post over here. lol Thanks for your help, Ming.


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RE: Begonia seedling or something else? (photo)

Dana,

Ming is probably right about it being moss. Spores of moss are everywhere.

Growing from seed can be very tricky, especially very tiny seed or seed that requires stratification. Begonia seed can be some of the hardest to grow. I lost count on how many times I have tried to grow tuberous from seed. Out of hundreds of seed, I have maybe had a dozen or so to sprout and grow on - only to die later as a juvenile or survive a year or two. I had a lot better success with rex seed.

A lot of times the seed is not viable or is "too old" to germinate. I know what you mean about spending so much on seed that does not produce one plant. It's great when you can get a lot of plants from a seed pack for the same money you would spend on one plant. Wouldn't it be nice to send the seed back to the seller and get your money back when it fails? T&M used to give credit vouchers if you complained, but I got tired of complaining. I thought it was something I was doing wrong until I found out that a lot of complaints were lodged against some of the seed suppliers. Mostly bad seed or old seed. I finally quit buying mail order seeds - especially T&M. I think a lot of their seed was old.

I have spent hundreds of dollars on seeds over the years. I have grown some interesting plants from seed such as clivia, bird-of-paradise, water lotus, Japanese iris, amaryllis, and tropical water lilies to name a few but these are much larger seed. Now I buy the plants instead if I can find them. I still buy seed but it's usually the kind you can direct sow in the ground and is almost fool-proof.

See if you can harvest some fresh seed from a friend and try it again.

Butch


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RE: Begonia seedling or something else? (photo)

  • Posted by DanaNY Brooklyn, NY (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 25, 05 at 18:37

Butch,

Thanks for sharing your experience with them. I've heard germination was low with them, but didn't realize it was that bad. I don't know any gardeners in this area since I'm not originally from here. Don't know anyone who grows begonias either. Honestly, it no longer seems worth the effort to grow them from seed anyway.

Yeah, I really wish I could send the seed pack back to that seller, along with some lovely moss spores! :) lol I've actually had good germination with T&M seeds, but they weren't begonia seeds. This was the first time I've had any problem growing from seed or no germination at all. I had a feeling the seed wasn't good and then later suspected they weren't begonias. I grow almost everything from seed and actually prefer it over buying plants, but I think I'll make an exception and just buy a begonia plant next time. ;)

Btw, I like all the plants you've grown from seed. I'd love to grow water lilies and lotus one day. I hope they did well for you.


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RE: Begonia seedling or something else? (photo)

Dana,

About fresh seed: I have bought many gloxinia seed from catalogs in the past but had problems growing it like begonias. If memory serves me right gloxinia seed is larger than begonia but is still quite small. Of course I bought a few gloxinia plants to satisfy my lust and harvested one seed pod and spread it over the seed starting soil that I put in a small margarine bowl and covered with plastic wrap. I must have had 500 seedlings come up. The problem was pricking them out. This is where I eventually failed but it goes to show how fresh seed will do.

As for the tropical water lilies and lotus, I eventually lost them as well. You have to bring the tropical water lilies inside during the winter. The first year was no problem. The second year they must've dried out completely. I was sealing them in a canning jar minus roots and leaves (they actually are a small round bulb) with a few drops of water and styrofoam peanuts to keep them apart. The lotus got too big for my pond so I gave them to my parents - which they still have. Now you can buy the rhizome in some of the exotic grocery stores (or pay $30 plus at a lot of the stores that carry them as plants). Of course if you buy the rhizomes at the grocery store they may not have a great bloom but it is cheap. You can also get the seed from some of the hobby stores if you buy the pod with the seed still intact. You have to file the outer seed case. Lotus seed is VERY hard and legend has it that it can survive intact for thousands of years (hard to believe). Same goes for strelitzia on filing the outer casing. Clivia seed is expensive but fairly easy to grow.

The funny thing is I bought a lot of these seeds from Park seed and had pretty good luck. I have not seen tropical water lily seed for sale anymore though. What a shame.

Maybe I had grand illusions of growing exotics on the cheap which T&M has seed of. Most experts say you can't grow meconopsis, delphinium, lupines, gunnera, echium (the ones you see in California), and primroses (to name a few) in the south but I tried anyway with limited success. I try pushing the envelope but it usually pushes back.

Butch


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RE: Begonia seedling or something else? (photo)

  • Posted by DanaNY Brooklyn, NY (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 26, 05 at 18:15

Hi Butch,

I know exactly what you mean about pushing the envelope. I'm always doing that myself, but with growing plants indoors and under lights, since there's no garden outside here. After growing all kinds of flowering plants and being successful with it, I'm now getting into veggies and herbs. But I can only fit so many plants in my 2 growing areas and the problem is I want to grow everything. lol I usually plant only a few seeds at a time so I don't wind up with too many plants at once. That's how I satisfy my plant lust, a little bit at a time. Now if that yellow dust had turned into 15 begonia plants, I don't know where I would've put them all. :o

That's a shame your water lilies and lotus didn't make it. Did they take a long time to grow from seed? I've heard of people building an indoor pond for them, but I'm sure that takes a lot of room and a lot of work to maintain it. I would try it if I wasn't in an apt. Maybe one day, perhaps with a koi pond. :)

Just curious, why those plants you mentioned (like primrose, lupine, etc.) are not supposed to do well in the south? Let me guess, too hot for them and all are cool growers? Someone on GW told me that primroses can be grown indoors on a windowsill, but they may need to spend some time in the fridge once a year. Just an option to consider if they don't do well in your climate. I plan to grow primroses from seed at some point. I haven't considered growing clivia since I believe they take several years to bloom from seed?


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RE: Begonia seedling or something else? (photo)

Dana,

I gave up veggies years ago and converted my small garden plots to a natural area. Ornamental cherry trees, azaleas (both native and exotic), Japanese maples, Kousa dogwood, redbuds, rhododendrons, viburnums, oakleaf hydrangeda, and other shrubs replaced the tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, and corn plots. Now that the trees and shrubs have matured I had to cut two Yoshino cherries (kept the Okame and Kwanzan) and the viburnums shaded out the daylilies, irises, and lilies. The azaleas are crowding the pathway and always need pruning after blooming. Now at our new house, I have the opportunity to have both a moderate veggie garden and a natural area since the lot is more than twice the size.

As for seed growing under lights, that is what I used to do to get a jump on growing. My problem was I had "visions of sugar plums dancing in my head" so I had too many seeds and different types going on at the same time. I eventually started to plant only half of the seed since I learned from mistakes that sometimes things go wrong (Murphy's law) such as drying out, damping off, those pesky fungus gnats, dropping the tray, etc.

Lotus and water lilies from seed do not take long at all to grow. The tropical water lilies will be blooming the same year. Lotus may take an extra year. Lotus is hardy even up in Tennessee. I don't know how hardy they are in your area. After they germinate and put out some leaves, you can put them in your pond. I would start them out on a shelf or bricks at the bottom to get them closer to the surface. Once the leaves reach the surface they grow very fast. Of course the weather has to be warm. After the leaves are floating on the surface you can put the pot on the bottom of the pond. The lotus does well in shallow water. A kiddy pool is excellent for lotus and Japanese iris as well. DO NOT put koi in a pond with plants. The koi will disturb the soil inside the potted plants making a big muddy mess. Instead have two ponds - one for plants and goldfish and snails, the other for koi. I think the best idea is to have two levels with the top pond being for plants and goldfish and letting the water fall to the bottom pond. You can mix koi and goldfish but if there is not enough food, I wonder if the koi would eat the goldfish? For apartments, I would stick with a conventional aquarium, unless you have space and a strong floor (or you are on a slab) to put in a pond.

You are right on the plants mentioned not doing well in the south. It just gets too hot and sometimes drought makes you think of Arizona (not really). There are exceptions though. Primroses are treated as annuals here but I planted several in a spot of the front yard of the old house around a birch tree. Out of six (or more), one survived and continues to flourish. It is at the base of the tree as well. It has made it through 4 hot summers now. Also, for the people who are lucky enough to have a creek running through their property, they can have all kinds of primroses (makes me sick). My uncle in Alaska grows primroses for profit and for showing. I just don't want to live in Alaska even if primroses were the only flower in the world. I will stick to showy evening Mexican primroses (Oenothera speciosa) which are perennial, very showy, can be weedy, but blooms non-stop for about 4 weeks in May. There are several evening primroses but most are yellow. The Mexican one is pink and can go to white. I grew mine from seed and can fill a space in no time.

I always wanted to grow the primula Japonica or the candlelabra types but never had much luck. (T&M is where I got these kinds of seed but germination was very poor).

Lupines and dephiniums are treated like annuals as well here. I do not like to pay perennial prices for plants that are annual in nature. You should be able to buy a six pack of either plant for the same price as a 4 inch pot. Also lupines are very easy to grow from seed. Of course if you drive through Maine, they grow like weeds. Texas bluebonnets are pretty but not as pretty as the Russell types.

Yes, clivia does take about 3 to 4 years to bloom from seed. A blooming clivia may cost anywhere from 15 to 25 dollars (shop around). I bought 5 seeds from Park's many years ago for $3.50. Six seeds actually were in the package. Four germinated (67% success) but I lost one (boo hoo). The remaining three grew to mature plants. I gave one to my mother which she has divided many times and passed them on. I did not divide mine like she did but did grow several from seed from the mother plants which I gave to my sisters, daughters, friends, and neighbors. Most people don't take care of them and soon lose them. Then they are amazed when they see mine in full bloom and want one. When I tell them I gave them one years ago, they suddenly develop amnesia. Now there are yellow ones, bi-colored ones, variegated leaves, and the breeding goes on.

Butch

Here is a picture of mine blooming:


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RE: Begonia seedling or something else? (photo)

  • Posted by DanaNY Brooklyn, NY (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 27, 05 at 20:15

Hi Butch,

It must've been nice for you to be able to expand your garden at the new house and have enough room to plant trees and shrubs. This year my mother planted hyacinths, roses, rhododendrons, and hydrangeas at her new house. Probably more, but those are the ones I remember seeing. I miss having dogwoods and lilacs that I grew up with in our backyard. I saw some this spring at the botanical gardens, along with cherry trees and magnolias. They have water lilies and lotus in bloom in July/August. They have koi in the ponds at the 2 botanical gardens here, but they are larger than swimming pools. I'm content to just visit them for now. I'm not sure how hardy they are in this area either.

Your clivias look great! Thanks for sharing the photo. Are clivias fragrant? I've seen the orange flowered ones like yours at the gardens. I haven't seen any lupines, just photos, and I love the foliage on them. How big (tall/wide) do lupines get? Maybe I can get one for my mother's garden.

Do you have any photos of the begonias you've grown? I'd love to see them if you do. Considering that my begonias turned out to be sphagnum moss, I'll have to find another source. I'd probably go for another tuberous begonia with bi-color flowers, especially any combo with red/orange/yellow. I love the iron cross and escargot begonias, but haven't come across any here.

I almost bought a begonia recently that looked a lot like this one:
http://www.ranablog.com/gallery/begonias_on_black_velvet.jpg

But the plant was a little too big for me to squeeze in on my windowsill right now.


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