Begonia boliviana
Mon, 03 Mar 2008 14:05:21 PST
Dear Debbie,

Begonia boliviana (I think it is called boliviana and not boliviensis) is a 
very nice plant forming a bushy arching specimen about 2 feet tall and 
flowering for many months with bright orange-red tubular flowers. I am sure 
they are visited by humming birds but we do not have that kind of jewels here 
in Europe..... There is a very good selection available here in Europe which is 
called 'Bonfire' produced by a japanese seed company, I think Sakata but this 
may be wrong.
If you live in Houston I assume your weather will be very warm not to say hot 
in summer and I am not sure if B. boliviana will like this as it is a plant of 
high altutude moist forests in the Andes. For sure it does not like to bake in 
the sun and is the right plant for a bright northern position. It makes a 
totally dry dormancy in winter (my plants are pot grown and overwintered dry in 
their pots until new shoots emerge, kept cold but frost free in my cellar. 
Well, there may be some residual moisture in the pot.) Tubers kept outside the 
pot may dry-rot in a strange way.
Seed is extremely fine but easy to germinate, sow on the surface not covering 
it with any compost but cover the pot with glass or cling film or in a closed 
propagator. Keep it warm and bright but out of direct sunlight. replant as soon 
as the minuscule seedlings can be handled, there will be some losses. Replant 
again if they become bigger to avoid crowding. Best are pots with 3-5 adult 
tubers. These tubers eventually can become enormous and require really large 
tubs after some years. Seed is easily produced, here I have to hand-pollinate. 
If happy this plant is very long lived and gets better every year but will also 
flower first year from seed. The seed of Begonias is very long lived in the 
fridge (not frozen)

Greetings from snowy Germany, Uli

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