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Total Leaf Drop on Rex 'Maui Wowee'?

Posted by heathmitch Sunset 21/22 CA (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 20, 05 at 18:58

Hi there --

My rex has been going strong all summer but recently dropped all its leaves. At first I thought I'd overwatered (soil was wet, stalks were squishy, tips of leaves were brown), so I let the soil dry out a bit, but this made no difference -- one by one, the leaves have all come off. I tried moving the plant closer to and farther away from the wndow to no avail.

It looks like there are some sprouts on the roots -- will they grow, or is my plant a goner?

Thanks,

Heather


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Total Leaf Drop on Rex 'Maui Wowee'?

Heather,

I'm having the same problem with my 'river nile'. I did the same thing as you, with the soil. I keep it on a tray of moist pebbles for added humidity, but nothing has stopped the leaf loss. All of the leaves have brown cripsy edges and a few of the stems are squishy. I suspect that I overwatered at some point. Boo hoo. She was such a pretty plant! Rexes are not easy to grow....at least not yet.

GH


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RE: Total Leaf Drop on Rex 'Maui Wowee'?

Heather/GrowHappy

Try starting new plants with the dropped leaves if they aren't completely rotted (provided you haven't thrown them out). Also cut any healthy rhizomes off and start them as well. Just don't bury the rhizome, rather lay it horizontally on top of the soil (root side down) or stick the cut end in just a little bit. You can use slighty moistened medium for this and "tent" leaves/rhizomes until you start seeing growth. I am using disposable lasagna pans with clear lids this year and have had good luck on almost all rhizomes and some leaves. Some begonia leaves prefer a dry soil since the leaves may have all the moisture it needs. 'Snoopy' is a good example of this. I'm experimenting with 'San Miguel' as well. 'Bull's Eye' is another example. Most rexes/rhizomatous prefer a moist soil though.

The other thing you could do if it isn't too late is yank the entire plant out of the pot and let it dry considerably on some newspaper/paper towels. I have saved several using this method. If the soil is heavy you may want to wash it off and repot afterwards.

If you use plastic pots, then I would consider clay in the future. I also am amending my soil with lots of perlite (nearly 50% now for rexes/rhizomatous).

Rexes and some rhizomatous defoliate when light levels decrease. This is normal and this is just a rest period but DO cut back on water severely at this time. My best results have come from moving these types to a cool somewhat dark garage. I water them once every two weeks or so and then sparingly.

GH, I suspect 'River Nile' is a goner because I think it does not defoliate in winter so this does not sound good. I think it prefers being on the drier side.

Live and learn. I don't know how many I have DROWNED over the years. Most of our experiences say to water wilting plants. But some plants are wilting because the roots are drowning and rotting.

Butch


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RE: Total Leaf Drop on Rex 'Maui Wowee'?

One thing that can be fatal in cultivating the Begonia rex (Rex-cultorum group) is to pot up or pot on too deeply. The rhizomatous stem must be on the soil surface and not below it.
Not what you were asking but the link below might be of interest.

Peter

Here is a link that might be useful: Begonia rex propagation


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RE: Total Leaf Drop on Rex 'Maui Wowee'?

Butch/Peter,

Thanks to you both. I tossed my dear RN last week. I think it's safe to say it was rotting. I'll try it again in a couple weeks, this time with a clay pot and drier soil. I found mine locally, but they're all gone now. I'll order from Logees in a couple weeks.

In the interim, I've gotten an Escargot and Fire Flush to repair the hole in my heart.:))))) I will NOT over water these!

GH


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RE: Total Leaf Drop on Rex 'Maui Wowee'?

GH,

You picked some hard ones to replace RN with. I still have a 'Fire Flush' but it is nothing like it used to be. I haven't figured out the secret to 'Escargot' and Iron Cross either, but I keep trying.

Butch


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RE: Total Leaf Drop on Rex 'Maui Wowee'?

Butch, good news that rex's defoliate when light levels decrease and this is normal because I've been worried about mine. I received a beautiful lush rex Chicago Fire last November and it thrived indoors, then on a shaded porch this summer. But now its gotten sparse but not at all mushy. Will it be ok if I just keep it inside on the dry side instead of a cool dark garage? Our garage is COLD and I'm afraid Id forget to water it in basement. When do they finish resting? And how do you imagine it stayed so nice all last winter? Sandy


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RE: Total Leaf Drop on Rex 'Maui Wowee'?

Breenthumb,

It should do fine inside. I would suggest keeping it on the drier side while it's resting. When it starts putting out new leaves is usually a good sign of it coming out of its resting period but it may be a fluke. Usually when the weather starts warming up (March) is when they start putting out new growth. Increase the time under lights if not in a window and start feeding again at this time.

Butch


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RE: Total Leaf Drop on Rex 'Maui Wowee'?

Thanks Butch, will do. Glad its not a goner. I may have thought it was and tossed it during the winter! Sandy


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RE: Total Leaf Drop on Rex 'Maui Wowee'?

Breenthumb,

As long as the rhizome is plump, then it is okay. Even if it is dead looking and shriveled, then it may come up from the roots (doubtful but it has happened for me). I had a 'Marmaduke' do that. So don't throw it out until early summer or late spring.

Butch


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RE: Total Leaf Drop on Rex 'Maui Wowee'?

Hoping not to throw it out at all. Its a real favorite of mine. Right now its down to about 5 leaves but there are a couple shoots that look like they will come up soon. Even though its lost leaves, it still looks very healthy. This is my first Rex and since I got it last fall I had no idea they go dormant. Thanks for your help. Sandy


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RE: Total Leaf Drop on Rex 'Maui Wowee'?

Since reading this post I feel like I know nothing about the lovely rex. I just came from my daughters and she has one that is about 18" all ways in a very small pot. When I got home mine was minus all leaves but one. Same plant. Are you all saying that they rest at a certain time? And do they like cold temps when resting? Please help or point me to the right information.


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