Saturday, 23 January 2010

rex begonias

I recently discovered rex begonias, a family of begonias known for their amazing and unusual foliage.  I was instantly entranced by them.  They're not easy to grow down here because they love warmth and high humidity so even as a houseplant they often struggle.  But I was determined to give them a try.

It wasn't easy to find them.  I tried three or four different nurseries and most never carried them.  I'd never seen them at my local garden centre either.

My first break came when a nice fellow at the Garden Express forum agreed to send me several leaf cuttings from his begonias.  They're meant to grow readily from leaves but unfortunately they dried out a bit in transit.  Only one's survived so far but I've set it up in a little cup of water so hopefully it'll sprout roots. then came another stroke of luck.  My local garden centre had just received several in stock!  So now I'm the proud owner of this little beauty.  I have no idea what the variety name is but the leaves are thick with a fine fuzz on them and hairs along the edges and stems.  I'm hoping the hairs will keep it happy even though my home is hardly humid.  But it hasn't shriveled and died so far so we'll see if it likes its new home on a high shelf where the cats can't get at it.