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Double wax?

Posted by purpleinopp 8b AL (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 29, 13 at 11:27

Got this at a swap a couple months ago and just can't decide what it is.

The bigger leaves are about 2". Flowers tiny and so many petals. It looks like a wax except for the flowers. Usually a wax would be making new basal growth by now (after achieving such a height,) usually... although I'm not a wax B expert by any stretch. Thanks for looking and sharing any thoughts!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Double wax?

It was leaning, but now trying to go the other way. Here's the back side.


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RE: Double wax?

Yes it is a wax begonia but rarer due to the double blooms.

There are quite a few doubles out there now. In the past it seemed to be limited to Lady Carol (red blooms so maybe that is yours), Lady Francis (pink blooms), and Cherry Blossom (white-pink blooms and green leaves). Now there are Doublet of a few colors and Gum Drop of a few colors including Cherry Blossom, and no telling how many other forms there are.

Fun to grow and show in summer but kind of a drag to get through winter under shop lights. I suspect that wax begonias need a lot more light than almost all the other type of begonias.


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RE: Double wax?

TY! Oh man, that's cool. Now I'm glad I haven't messed with them, this little pot will fit on a windowsill. The last time I did that with a wax, it was kind of a mixed blessing, blooming constantly, but making a mess dropping the spent flowers. The ones 'crammed' in multi-pots with other plants, farther away from windows while inside for winter, had very few occasional blooms on some of those in the sunniest spots. Not as fun to look at, but not adding to the 'stuff on the carpet' situation either. Your advice is usually spot-on, so feel very confident I now know enough to know what should do well. (I don't mind picking up the browned flowers, these are especially pretty, south window it is!) Recently moved it from east end of porch to west end, as the rays are weaker, days shorter. That's when it started blooming in earnest anyway, cool.

There's 2 plants that are very wobbly, can't hold themselves up and both start out leaning almost sideways, then bend almost 45 degrees to lean the other way. I have the assumption as a type they could stand up straight and sturdy, but these particular individuals were sheltered from wind and possibly light too much before I got them. I've taken a bunch of leaves from them on the low/heavy side (which I'm attempting to prop, many still look fine, woohoo!) in attempt to spur new basal growth, but as you can see, it's just making side branching instead, getting dangerously top-heavy again. The nodes seem really close together for cuttings.

Who has an opinion about doing something with these, or to leave them alone?


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RE: Double wax?

Try pinching the tops out for branching. Also use a bamboo skewer to prop any leaning shoots. How dare those plants get out of line anyway?


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RE: Double wax?

Purple, Yay! I love doubles! You will, too. I got some earlier in the summer - here is a link to my post/photos.

Carol in Jacksonville

Here is a link that might be useful: Begonia semperflorens Doublet Red


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RE: Double wax?

Thanks to both for the inputs!

Carol, that's cool! Those guys are holding themselves straight up well. Makes me wonder why someone had 'extra' for a swap. I should ask now that I realize this is not your ordinary wax B.

I don't think I explained well above. The plants are branching *too much* after I removed so many of the original leaves. That's making them lean more again, from getting heavy again. It's probably going to get worse when they come inside and no longer have any wind blowing them around. Hopefully they'll still be with us in the spring, and I'll have a ton of side branches to propagate instead of just main stems.

I don't know why I'm so anti-stake. I don't have any staked plants, and usually just cut them off if they can't hold themselves up. Previous years have been great but this summer I've had very little success trying to propagate wax B's so haven't tried with these. My mind may change about staking though. I've quit turning most pots since almost all have multiple plants, (added to be bright side vs. shady side dwellers,) so starting to see some serious leaning on perfectly sturdy plants, just from their 1-sided exposure.

- Tiffany


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RE: Double wax?

Typically you shouldn't ever have to stake waxes but ...

I really got into staking this year - especially canes and some thick stems. I had a few canes reaching 5 to 6 feet and I just hate seeing them flop everywhere. Now that they are indoors I think I will be cutting them all to the ground so I can get them under lights.

I've also staked parviflora to keep the stems fairly straight because if you let it go it will be very snaky much like my Virginia Jens - once it gets woody you cannot straighten it, the only solution is to cut it and start over (which I am not going to do with this plant).

Here is one of my staked Sophie begonias (about 5 feet tall)


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RE: Double wax?

Oh that's pretty! Thanks for the info, much appreciated. I guess I don't know if a wax can develop a woody stem or not, now that you mention it for canes. I don't think so, but as often as I chop plants off/down, not really sure. Excellent point, for those that get woody, you'd want to have it in the right position during lignification. Having a dense moment, but not sure if you're saying wax can get woody eventually or not, or were just talking about canes in connection to staking in general, sorry. Maybe you're saying wax is a cane type at the most basic level of separating them by type? Can't even blame coffee at this point, I've had plenty...


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RE: Double wax?

Waxes can develop some woody stems just not as prevalent as canes. Most waxes never get that tall but some of the new types are getting up there. Staking just allows you to tie up falling branches - tidy up the sprawl in other words. New foliage will hide the twine. One tip I've received (if you enter your plants into a show) is keep the stakes a bit lower than the height of the plant so it blends in.

The point is either let it do its thing, cut it back, or stake. The choice is yours.


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RE: Double wax?

TY again, very good info! I know I can choose, just trying to gauge the potential of different courses of action before taking one. Fun! The info you provided makes me want to stake this guy and see what happens. That would be wildly different from my usual beheadings.

I kind of giggled when I read the stuff about a show. Unless such a thing is considered to be happening on my front porch right now, I don't see any plant of mine (or me) going to one. I don't live close to any city, and no ABS in AL at all. Surprised there's not one in Mobile. That's a very good piece of advice, which I only wish applied to me! But if stakes are good enough for plants shown in a show, they're good enough for mine, so in that way it does apply to me/my plant. Plant shows sound like fun, I'd like to see one sometime. Begonia would probably be my first choice of subject matter.


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RE: Double wax?

You need to go to next year's convention then to see an ABS show. It is in March (I think) in Tampa. I haven't been to one in 3 years now but I hope to make this one.

I know you can't see the stakes in this show plant at the WPB convention but I assure you they are there on the inside of the plant.


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RE: Double wax?

Here is another one beautifully grown by the same grower.


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RE: Double wax?

Zoomed in on the same plant showing the stakes.


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RE: Double wax?

That's a stunner - and the polka dot cutie behind it! Awesome pic, thanks for sharing it and the info about the hidden stakes and show. My brother lives in Tampa, this is not too much of a stretch.


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RE: Double wax?

Ah, the polka dot one is maculata from the same grower. Excellent grower.

The one thing I hate about these shows is the light is always too dim so I must use flash or get a dark, blurry picture. Maybe the new camera with higher ISO will work a lot better at the next event.


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RE: Double wax?

those are gorgeous plants, hc!
wish i could be at the shows!
i've seen woody shrubs of semperflorens in hawaii, by the roadside :)... 4-5' high! and holiday poinsettias like trees - 15', obviously abandoned by smbody at some point. was a big surprise! but they get very sparse if not pruned.


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RE: Double wax?

I've seen poinsettia trees too in Thailand. Kind of amazing that they are from Mexico and probably thought of as weeds until they change color. I've got some weedy type wax begonias (probably the species but I am not sure) that often seeds in many pots, gets two to three feet high, blooms, sets seed, etc. I can prune them to the ground like purple says and they come back with a vengeance.


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RE: Double wax?

Love that polka dot one!

I have one of those unusually tall wax ones too, maybe two but I'm really not sure at this point, the way I move things around & snap them in half to stick the tops elsewhere, some are in the ground still, some in pots... it's Begonia madness but they're all so small. Haven't I been saying for a year I'm going to leave them alone? I'm not... I've been waiting for the leaves to be the right color on the one in a pot (it went through a chlorotic phase a while back) and have flowers at the same time to ask about it. Funky thing, that.

I would get in trouble if I went to HI. ...luggage stuffed with illegal cuttings, purse full too... oh my!


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RE: Double wax?

They probably ban begonias in HI since they would probably be invasive there. HA!

I snap off the weedy waxes too but throw them on the ground where they often just lay there waiting for a drop of water to root and take off. I guess that is one of the good things about them.

The polka dot one was a small cane. I have cut most of my canes this past week except for all my Sophie, Lana, my own seed grown maculata hybrid, Eastgate, and a small leaf (big cane though) white flowering NOID. That was a lot of canes to throw out.

I still have ferns, a few philodendrons and syngoniums, and quite a few begonias to still bring indoors. GRRR!

My didadema bloomed this year and made one seed pod so far. I wonder if it got crossed with many other UJR blooming at the same time.


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RE: Double wax?

Oh my that's pretty too, you have so many!!

"That was a lot of canes to throw out." Many people would have reimbursed postage to have these. I haven't had to throw out any excess plants (except spider plant) due to people around GW wanting them for postage. I've traded Begonias a couple times, but am faaaar from ever saying there's too many of those here, still trying to make more of all of them. The flooding this summer is big part of that. Well done in that regard!


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RE: Double wax?

I'd rather throw them out than package them up for postage though. Easier to do that than clean, pack, label, drive to the PO and wait in line just for postage.

Just threw out 3 of those medium sized trugs (ten gallons per trug maybe?) of leaves and stems yesterday on the compost heap.

rubber trug

Here are a couple of Irene Nuss begonias that came up on the compost heap (guess they survived last winter). Should I dig them or let them go another year?


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RE: Double wax?

Ooh, you didn't say they were going to compost. That makes it OK and of course you're not required to spend your time packaging plants, no doubt. It might be easier to just not mention that kind of thing. LOL! I mean I can handle it, but I don't know if everybody who might read this can take it. Not everyone appreciates compost so much, even if they should.

FWIW, I don't usually label anything, try to remember to take pics, but I'm not dealing with named cultivars either.

I would feel silly advising you about your volunteers, but they look pretty happy to me, unless you need the spot for something else.


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RE: Double wax?

My basement is overflowing and I still have big plants under the deck plus two very big banana plants to dig up. So I need to reduce some pot sizes where I can and probably get rid of duplicates (that is hard to do).

I love some of the surprises I get on the compost heap. Had papaya one year from seeds - took a while to figure it out - great geometrical leaf patterns. Now I have a little syngonium out there. Have had a few begonias over the years but the neatest one is a hardy kiwi vine but it came up in an Aztec pot and has been growing for four or five years now outdoors year round - no blooms.

Here is Guatemalan rhubarb (Jatropha multifida). Just looked it up and G.R. is the common name for Jatropha podagrica but I bought it some seeds on eBay for J. multifida. I like the look of it better.


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RE: Double wax?

Love those leaves! Your compost plants sound better than some people's 'real plant collection.' Holy moly!

Frost is coming here next week. The great migration begins. Wish I had a basement!


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RE: Double wax?

My migration is fairly complete now. One week to move most everything in (two weeks ago), last week arranging and cleaning, and this week bringing the rest in. The big plants and ferns are under the deck right now and I still have banana trees to dig up. UGH! We had a frost a couple of weeks ago but then it warms up as usual and we were at 31 this morning on the open deck - that means plants under trees have a few more degrees protection.


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RE: Double wax?

You are much more on top of things. I've only brought in about a dozen pots so far. I just wish these plants could walk themselves in/out, most days (and even nights) it's OK for them to be outside, with the occasional really cold nights, a few days. The weather here shifts violently, with very little patten. Great for people, but frustrating if you're a plant, I guess. Looks like anything still outside Wed nite is toast, Tues nite is a warning.


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RE: Double wax?

Same here. Thursday morning it will be 28 in Atlanta so that means low 20's for us. That gives me a couple of days to get ready. Banana trees have already been hit earlier but still plenty of life in them.


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RE: Double wax?

After a few days, the frost damage is quite obvious. I'll be trimming some stuff outside this weekend. Even down here, banana leaves got zapped. I don't have any, but there are a few I see every day around town. They're a great temporary shade-maker on the west side & just look cool anywhere. I should ask for some for Mother's Day.

Here's the one I was calling really tall wax B. It's never bloomed, had it since June or July? (Some Hoya leaves in the pic too.) Hope it stays as sturdy while inside with no wind blowing on it, and eventually makes some pretty pink flowers like the one in your pic above. IMO, more wax B's should be so tall. Blooming of course, it would definitely be the replacement for Impatiens people are needing since the mildew disease started wiping those out.


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RE: Double wax?

I think I can see the species in that plant, can it be related to B. cucullata which figures in the background of many semps?


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RE: Double wax?

Could be Joan. Is fischeri also one that could be used in modern wax begonias?


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Talk amongst yourselves, I'm all Alicia Silverstone on it, totally clueless!


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RE: Double wax?

TEbbett's book calls B. cucullata a 'founding parent' of the semp group often confused with B. fischeri, I think both were not uncommonly found in the Seed Fund years back. Semperflorens is a fancy name for wax be gonias.


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RE: Double wax?

Did you mean Dr. Mark Tebbitt? He's a pretty good speaker.

I think fischeri is smaller than cucullata but they are both kind of weedy which is not necessarily a bad thing. Semperflorens fits very well for wax begonias, don't you think?

Odd that Peace Tree has fischeri as a cane type, then further on as shrub like habit (Maybe shrub is more indicative, certainly not a cane).


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RE: Double wax?

How often does a plain species turn out to be 'the plant you really wanted' once you realize it's out there? Wax B's are too short for a lot of places, so cultivars that bloom more readily but only want to get 6" tall, not better than the plain species, IMO, just different. I wish there were more species available of many plants, Begonia wouldn't usually come to mind in this area even, but this discussion reminds me of all the sad scentless roses and the awesomeness of plain species Petunias. Still trying to find some of the more obscure (and interesting if pics are to be trusted) Impatiens species to observe in person. Not that I'm anti-cultivar, I just feel like some cool plain species are sometimes ignored by people obsessed with the visual aspect of flowers in general, and they are usually super-vigorous pleasantly-growing plants that many people would love to have. I don't 'do' hardly any flowers unless they are scented, exceptionally pretty to me, or nectar sources for butterflies/hummers, or happen to be on a plant I love for its' foliage. Waiting for plain green lumps'n'bumps to make flowers for a short time bores me to tears, and the climate here doesn't force that kind of gardening. Been there, done that in OH.

The plants of this discussion are inside now, getting lazy. The bend in the stems is so drastic, I think I'll have to both stake & remove some of the tops soon. Will show new pics & ask opinions first.


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RE: Double wax?

Cut them back purple - that should force new growth.

I have no stake in the species vs. hybrid debate - I like a little of both sides.

I hear you on flowers. I forgot where I read about the evolution of a gardener but goes something like this: the beginner is drawn into the hobby by the flower but the mature gardener often switches to foliage plants since flowers are so fleeting. I found that is true of my own tastes. Started out with many irises but the blooms only last for a few weeks and then you have ragged looking foliage for an entire year. Japanese maples and hostas on the other hand don't need big flashy flowers to be in my garden. The foliage alone is worthy of any garden.


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RE: Double wax?

Well since the time I complained about the lack of branches and today, they showed up. Just needed a little more patience after removing the 'main' leaves along the main stem. I took 3 cuttings today, conservatively. Will see how they do before hacking away any more. Not much sun lately though today is gorgeous, finally.

HCMC, man that's so true!


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RE: Double wax?

Thanks again for the encouragement!

So far, so good on the cuttings. This one was most handy to take a pic.


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RE: Double wax?

Here's the now branching-like-crazy mama in the window. Making a new 'round flowers.


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RE: Double wax?

Looks very good! I wished I had brought some inside now.


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RE: Double wax?

It's tough to draw the line, it's ridiculous in here. These windowsill plants are wide enough that I have to move them elsewhere while the blinds are closed at night. A total PITA but I don't mind, most days, as long as it keeps blooming.

The other stuff is some cuttings of Portulaca saved from frost since I knew this pot was going on a good windowsill & there was so much space at the surface. Then I encountered a Peperomia cutting that also fit in there. What strange bedfellows, huh? It's only until spring, but still...


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RE: Double wax?

Springtime is still a ways off. Almost winter though. This is the season of chaos although my basement can be walked through now (just be careful though).


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