Friday, February 1, 2013

Cane Begonias and What I Use for Potting Soil

This is a particularly pretty begonia I grow for its foliage. The gloss, scalloped leaves with the silver markings and cranberry reverse are particularly showy. Problem it can grow 6 feet tall and drop its leaves as it goes with any restriction in proper soil moisture levels make it complicated to grow properly. However, this takes time to transpire. I like to grow it in baskets, keeping a close eye on its growth and pinch, pinch, pinch.

I took some of the stems and made cuttings, too, more hopeful than realistic. Seeing those knobs at each joint telling me there is latent growth potential was too much to resist. So, I cut each end diagonally, dipped it in Rootone and planted in horizontally, covering it with about 1/4" of soil, rather than sticking it in vertically.

Ideally, you make a diagonal cut below a joint that did not have a bloom scar (small) and which would be in addition to a leave scar (large). This is particularly important with rooting begonias.

And finally, a shot of the soil I use. Pretty, huh?

I typically make my own. This is about a 1:1:1 mix of my native sandy loam, peat moss (like you see in the plastic bales), and purchased perlite. Maybe a bit lighter on the perlite, but pretty close. Sometimes the peat is locally dug, other times I purchase the bales. With this mixture I don't think I have had any need of fungicidal drenches, ever. The organic material is a bunch of roots from some airplant plants I let freeze and then brought in the dirt and roots to use in my mix. And all that marketing about your potting mixes wearing out... really? You believe that marketing ploy?

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