Begonia boliviensis 'Bonfire'

Brian Whyer
Thu, 19 Nov 2009 15:04:45 PST

If it is not too late for you, cuttings root very easily. I kept some growing all through the winter in the kitchen window, but no flowers until the spring, but that might be because of our low light levels. I have not tried growing from the dust like seed. I found it a bit slow to get going this summer from my overwintered tuber. It is still in flower now.
At the RHS gardens in Rosemoor they have it outside, but close to the house.
Brian Whyer, Buckinghamshire, England, zone ~8, rain and more rain, but no frost yet.

Last year, too late to find one for sale, I heard through the grapevine
about Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’. I was able to obtain one this year and
the short version of the story is WOW!  Those of you who garden in areas
congenial to summer blooming tuberous begonias might not be too impressed
with this plant, but for those of us who garden under the sort of summer
conditions we experience here on the East Coast, this begonia is a welcome
addition to our summer garden flora. It bloomed here all summer and into the
fall without a break and grew vigorously the whole time. I’ve heard that
vigorous old plants produce annual growth several feet long!  

After the first light frosts the above ground parts of the plant began to
fall apart.  

At that point, I was unsure what to do. A bit of Googling provided the
answer. This species forms a corky, tuberous corm, and it’s a big one. I had
planted my plant into a tall narrow blue glazed ceramic container. This
highlighted the pendulous growth habit of ‘Bonfire’ handsomely. But now I
have a problem: I went to check how big the corm was the other day, and it’s
so big I can not pull it through the opening of the container it grows in.
The corm is easily the size of a lemon, maybe bigger. It will probably spend
the winter in the same container. 

I’ll bet this plant would survive the winter here outside in a very
protected place. 

Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

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