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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Rex Begonia 'Curly Fireflush' is my Favorite Plant...This Week


When I visited the Portland Yard, Garden, and Patio Show a month ago, M and N Nursery had a flat of unmarked begonias which clearly needed further investigation.  I have a thing for begonias and the Rex group, having some of the showiest foliage of the clan always catch one's attention.

The leaves of this one were nice enough but it was the covering of red fur that made me fall in lust.

This plant got dragged around the show all day and has lived in my care for a whole month without dying so it's obviously one tough customer!

When backlight by the sun, the leaves shine like stained glass.

Rex begonias are winter hardy in zones 10 and above but here must be brought inside for the winter.  



From Logee's comes the following information:
The deeply spiraled leaves invite wonder and awe. Gaze into the chartreuse green and chocolate lined spiral and notice the fine red hairs that bring this unique form into distinction. It was developed in the 1940's, almost a century after the original hybrid was created. Unlike other rexes, this one never goes dormant and its flowers are fragrant. Hardy to Zone 10 and higher for outdoors. Partial sun, grows to 10-14" in container, minimum temperature indoors 60°.

What's turning your head this week?  Click on over to Danger Garden to check out this week's favorite plants from garden bloggers around the globe.





Also from Logee's  -





Hardy to Zone 10 and higher for outdoors.  Partial sun, grows to 14" in container, minimum temperature 60°. Light:

Partial sun, an eastern or western exposure. Rex Begonias can tolerate low light but perform better with some direct sunlight.

Temperature:

Maintain temperatures indoors above 60°.

Humidity:

Preferably 50% or higher; however, they will tolerate low levels of humidity for a short time.

Watering:

Bring soil to a state of visual dryness between waterings. When watering, thoroughly saturate the soil until some water runs out of the bottom of the pot. Clay pots will ensure a quick dry down. Do not over water.

Fertilizer:

Moderate feeders when grown under high light. Fertilize with ¼ tsp of fertilizer per gallon of water once a week during the summer or when actively growing. Use a balanced fertilizer like a 15-15-15 or 7-9-5.

Pruning:

Pinch the tips of the young plants to encourage branching. This will help create a bushy plant and discourage leggy growth. On older plants, prune when growth gets excessive.

Insects and Disease:

Little susceptibility to insects, however mildew can be a problem. Treat seasonally with a preventative spray of 1 TBL of baking soda to a quart of water with a dribble of dishwashing soap.

Comments:

Rex Begonias have a resting period in the winter; at this time do not over water them. Give some direct sunlight.

20 comments:

  1. That is a beautiful plant! I'm pretty sure I lost a few Begonias over the winter. Oh well, room for more.

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  2. Leaves with red fur, that's fabulous! I wonder, just how many begonias do you have?

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    1. I'm not sure how many begonias I have. Just got a few more tubers at the store because they were on sale and each year I forget and leave some outside. Maybe sometime I should do a begonia report.

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  3. I love it. Begonias are beautiful and I don´t know why, I usually love any plant that has fur

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    1. I have a soft spot for furry plants too!

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  4. Love it Peter! A fine example on why it's easy to get hooked on begonias!

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    1. They're an easy group of plants to love!

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  5. Looks like another score for you! Very nice. The redness is definitely an alluring attribute.

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    1. It's exciting to discover a new-to-you plant. This one's been around since 1940 and this is the first time I've seen one.

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  6. I love the Rex begonias but none moved with us to our current house. Now I think it's time to hunt one (or more) down, although I suppose I should find a place to put it (or them) 1st.

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    1. If you find a place first, you deprive yourself of creating a pot ghetto that sprawls out and covers your patio and all of your outside furniture, the lawn, walkways, blank spots in beds, etc.

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  7. Lovely begonia, it's really fireflush, Peter! The leaves are bright with red edges, very decorative.

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    1. I'm glad you like it, Nadezda. It makes me happy when I pass by it.

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  8. So many things to love about this begonia...I can see why it gets first place in your heart (this week, anyway).

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    1. You know how fickle we all are, next week It'll be some other leafy lovely!

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  9. If they do well in sheer neglect like my Angelwing Begonias, I could try one. The Angelwings are also very easy to root in water, then don't seem to mind sitting around in the glass afterward for a long time. I've seen and admired the snail-like spiral of the leaves before, they are very tempting... Love that fuzz!

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    1. They might be a touch more demanding than the Angelwings but not by much. If they are too dry for too long, they'll let you know by wilting in a fairly dramatic way and looking like you've killed them for sure this time. A little water and they'll pick themselves up and look as good as before.

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  10. My Fireflush was absolutely lush and lovely until I cleaned each leaf with a damp paper towel. My handyman had sanded the ceiling and my plant was dusty. It began to die off and wilt. I don't know what to do now! There are still a few leaves left but things are not good. The soil seems bone dry, but I have tried a bit of water with no improvement. Should I water through? Fertilize? Help! Hate to lose this plant as my dear late friend gave me the original cutting and it rooted beautifully. Sniff, Sniff.

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    1. I'm no expert on rex begonias (or any plants, really) but they do like water and will wilt to let you know that they're too dry. Probably best not to let it get to that point too often but water after the soil becomes dry to the touch. Standard potted plant care. Don't let the roots sit in water for more than an hour, good drainage, etc. Maybe the tender leaves responded poorly to being cleaned with a paper towel. A gentle shower of water will often yield the same result. Now would be a good time to feed your plant as we have more light and heat to spur growth. All you can do is cut off the dead parts and hope for the best. It should come back with no problem as I've sometimes left one outside by mistake during the winter and if it's a particularly mild season, the plant comes back in the spring. You might consider putting your begonia outside after all danger of frost has passed and your nights stay above 50 degrees. Start slowly - deep shade, cloudy day, and over a week or two slowly move it to a dappled shade position. Here's a helpful site: http://gardening.about.com/od/specifichouseplants/p/Re-Begonias.htm

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.