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Begonia bipinnatifida

Common name: Fern Leaf Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae

Synonymous: Begonia warburgii

Begonia bipinnatifida

Begonia bipinnatifida

Distribution and habitat: Begonia bipinnatifida is a species with a fern-like leaf appearance from New Guinea. It was found in primeval forest growing high on Mount Horne in rocky places. It has a shrub-like growth habit and can get 25 to 30cm (10-12 inch) tall.
The name bipinnatifida comes from the Latin bipinnatus which means twice pinnate.

Description: Begonia bipinnatifida is shrub-like with erect and semi erect deep red stems that are branched. The deep red stems are somewhat zig-zag from thickened node to thickened node. Average mature leaves measure 13cm (5 inch) in length and 5cm (2 inch) wide. The upper surface of the leaves is deep green; in contrast, the undersurface is deep red. Leaf shape is obliquely oblong-ovate with an acute apex and an obliquely obtuse or slightly semi-cordate base. The leaf is deeply twice-divided outward on both sides of the deep red midrib into twelve to sixteen narrow taper-pointed divisions. Each division of the pinnate leaf is also pinnate: this gives the leaves a fern-like appearance.
Begonia bipinnatifida blooms infrequently and the flowers are tiny. The female flowers have five unequal pink tepals that are oblong or elliptic-obtuse. The styles and stigmas are golden yellow; threadlike erect styles are diverging and the velvety semi-crescent shaped stigmas are somewhat twisted. The deep pink ovary has three wings. Male flowers have two kidney-shaped pink tepals.

Houseplant care: Begonia bipinnatifida requires high humidity; this can usually be accomplished in a greenhouse or a terrarium. Careful watering and regular fertilizing are important. It can be a challenging species to grow but given the correct growing environment and care it grows into an outstanding species to enjoy.

Light: Begonia bipinnatifida plants are recommended to be grown in contained atmosphere (terrarium) under horticultural fluorescent lights. They require particularly bright light, therefore they need to be closed to the centre of the light where light levels are most intense. Timers may be used to provide 14 to 16 hours of light a day.
Alternatively, plants grown under natural sunlight on a windowsill will often perform best when provided with a south facing position in winter and est-facing one in summer. However, care should be taken if the plants are grown in glass containers to not overheat them by placing them on windowsill.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable for actively growing Begonia bipinnatifida. Overwinter these plants at no less than 13°C (55°F). This species tolerate temperatures between 10 to 35°C (50-95°F). Rise the air humidity around the plant when not grown enclosed in a terrarium. Begonia bipinnatifida will need relative humidity around 70%.
Because it likes a very humid atmosphere, in cultivation Begonia bipinnatifida is usually grown in an enclosed grass container. Terrariums should be placed in cool places to not overheat the plants, as the temperature could building up in enclosed containers. Additionally the temperature inside the terrarium can be reduced by setting the lights to come on only at night time when conditions are usually cooler. A fan can also remove any excess of heat produced by the lights.

Watering: Water actively growing Begonia bipinnatifida plants moderately, allowing the top couple centimetres (0.8 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. During the winter rest period water more sparingly, allowing the top half of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.
Do not allow the plant to sit in water. Promptly remove the standing water.
Plants grown in contained atmosphere will need less watering then those in other situations. The only way to determine when to water is to touch the surface of the growing material to feel how moist it is. Water only when it become dry by spraying them with a fine mist. Rain or distillate water is preferable. Sealed containers will need watering only a few times a year. If a particularly dense build-up of condensation occurs on the inside of the container soon after watering, it means that too much water has been added. Use paper towers to remove the excess of water and leave the lid off for a few hours to correct the problem.

Feeding: Fertilising Begonia bipinnatifida grown in terrariums is rarely necessary. Otherwise, apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks to actively growing Begonia bipinnatifida plants.
Soilless potting mixture will need more frequent fertiliser applications than most soil based potting mixtures.

Potting and repotting: Use either a peat-based mixture or a combination of equal parts of soil based potting mixture and coarse leaf mould. Place a shallow layer of clay-pot fragments in the bottom of pots for extra drainage.
Move the plants into pots one size larger every spring until maximum convenient pot size has been reached . Thereafter, top-dress annually with fresh potting mixture. Do not overpot Begonia bipinnatifida plant, otherwise excessive moisture may accumulate in the potting mixture and cause the roots rot. When potting and repotting these plants, simply sprinkle some mixture around the roots and tap the container briskly to settle the mixture. Do not firm it down with the fingers.
Also Begonia bipinnatifida plant can be grown in terrariums. The growing medium should be composed of chopped, long-fiber sphagnum moss and a small amount of perlite. Prepare the sphagnum for the mix by immersing it in boiling water to sterilize it, allow it to cool, then cut it with scissors into roughly 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces. Blot the wet sphagnum with a paper towels to remove any excess of water before mixing it with perlite. Place a thin layer of charcoal, about 0.5cm (0.2 inch) in the bottom of the terrarium to absorb soluble salts and other impurities before they have the chance to damage the roots. Add a layer of 2.5 to 7.5cm of the prepared growing medium mix. This medium will be enough moist, no additional water after planting is needed. Check annually the pH of the growing medium. If the pH has fallen below 5.8, ground limestone may be gradually worked into the growing medium until the pH is raised to correct level.

Propagation: Begonia bipinnatifida are fairly easy to propagate from cuttings (even leaf cuttings). As usually is grown in terrariums, propagate this plant by simply taking a cutting and putting it right in straight sphagnum, keep it moist, but not too wet, medium to high light and very humid.The cuttings will root generally in three to four weeks. Treat the rooted cutting as a mature plant, but do not move it until it has been well established, showing significant new growth.
Begonia bipinnatifida plants grown in pots are normally propagated from 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long tip cuttings of new growth taken in late spring or summer. Trim each cutting immediately below a leaf, dip the cut end in hormone rooting powder and plant it in 5 or 8cm (2-3 inch) pot containing a moistened equal parts potting mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case and stand it in bright filtered light. After rooting occurs (generally in three to four weeks), treat the rooted cutting as a mature plant, but do not move it into the recommended potting mixture for the mature plants until it has made at least 7cm (3 inch) of top growth.

Problems:
Begonia bipinnatifida is particularly prone to powdery mildew. All progeny hybrids are prone to this fungal disease.
Treatment: Manage this disease by restricting watering to morning so that water unwillingly splashed on leaves will quickly evaporate. Improve the air circulation around the plants. Severe cases may be treated with adequate fungicide.

Pythium rot root attacks the roots and stem bases of adult plants and cuttings. Affected plants at first will have a slightly wilted appearance, followed by yellowing their lower leaves. As the disease progress, the roots and stems turn black and musky, leading to the death of the plant.
Treatment: The use of sterilized potting mixture and use of appropriate fungicide will control this disease.

Bacterial leaf spot will produce water-soaked areas on the leaves that are surrounded by yellow rings. It may cause leaf drop and, in some cases, associated stem rot may occur.
Treatment: Once the disease is present, remove and destroy any affected leaves or stems and spray the plants with a bacterial leaf spot treatment.

Botrytis blight will produce gray moldy patches on leaves, stems and duds.
Treatment: This disease can be managed by improving the air circulation and plant hygiene by removing and destroying dead and dying leaves ans flowers. Use a suitable fungicide.

Rhizoctonia crown rot will be detected by the presents of brownish mould spreading from the soil to the infected stem base, a condition that will eventually lead to the collapse and death of the stem. This fungal disease appear only on plants that have been damaged or stressed by high temperatures or poor growing conditions.
Treatment: Maintenance of hygienic conditions and good cultural practice should prevent fungal growth. Fungicide sprays are also available.

A variety of viral diseases can attack plants causing symptoms like yellowing the leaves, pale yellow rings or spots, leaf malformation and stunted growth.
Treatment: Always use sterile potting mixture and treat insect infestations to prevent viral disease. Destroy all affected plants.

Mealy bug will appear on Begonia bipinnatifida plants in abundance before they show up on nearby plants. All its hybrids are prone also to these bugs.
Treatment: If infestation is localized, remove insects by wiping affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or dipping the plant in a solution of soapy water and alcohol.

A number of tiny mite species can be problematic for Begonia bipinnatifida. Infested leaves are yellow speckled and, if the infection is severe, may be covered with wool like substance on their undersurface.
Treatment: Control these mites with a suitable acaricide.

Leaf nematodes and root nematodes are parasite to these plants.
Treatment: The best form to control is to destroy affected plants. In open garden avoid replanting Begonia bipinnatifida in contaminated soil. In case of potted plants, infestation may be prevented ans controlled by routinely using sterilized potting mixtures and washing the plant pots.

Scale insects may feed on Begonia bipinnatifida plants.
Treatment: If infestation is localized, remove insects by wiping affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or dipping the plant in a solution of soapy water and alcohol.

Both the adults ans larvae of two kinds of weevils feed on these plants.
Treatment: Insecticides are capable of controlling these insects, but if they are inside the cavities of the plants, they will not be killed. To fully exterminate them, systemic insecticide are needed.

Whiteflies infest the under-surface of the uppermost leaves and if disturbed fly rapidly around the top of the host plants.
Treatment: Successive sprays of insecticidal soaps or white oil will eradicate whiteflies infestations. Coverage of leaf undersides is important.

Note: For botanical classification Begonia bipinnatifida is placed in the section Petermannia with Begonia species with like characteristics.
Botanic name: Begonia bipinnatifida J.J.Sm.

Availability: This plant native of Papua New Guinea has been known for almost a century but is not common in collections. Begonia bipinnatifida is a rare type of Begonia which is ideally suited for a terrarium.
This plants are available for sale in small pots and may be shipped bare root, in sphagnum or still potted.

Uses and display: Begonia bipinnatifida can be grown in a hanging basket, windowsill pot or even planted in ground in a bright shade and humid area within its hardiness zone. But the most suitable way to grow this amazing plant is to plant it in a terrarium or to place it in a greenhouse where the high requirement for humidity can be achieved.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Shape – bushy
Height: 15-30cm (6-12 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bight filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 13oC max 18oC (55-64oF)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18oC max 27oC (64-81oF)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 11

Begonia bipinnatifida Begonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifida



Begonias, Evergreen, Foliage Plants, Hobbyist Plants, Indoor Plants, Rare & Unusual Plants, Terrarium Plants , ,

Begonia bogneri

Common name: Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae

Begonia bogneri

Begonia bogneri

Distribution and habitat: Begonia bogneri is a curios species from Begoniaceae family, with short, thin stems, grass like leaves and diminutive flowers. It is a rare species which was discovered in a remote mountainous part of Madagascar in an area called Hiataka which has an average annual rainfall of about 3500mm (140 inch) and a yearly average of 230 rainy days. It grows in deep shade on moss-covered granite cliffs covering the naked rocks among mosses, ferns and sometimes Pothos scandens (Climbing Aroid) at an elevation of 50m (165 feet).

Description: Begonia bogneri is an erect short stemmed tuberous perennial plant. The stem is pink to yellowish up to 4cm (1.5 inch) tall and form a weekly tuberous base, tuft-forming. The leaves have leafstalks which is not readily discernible and are crowded on the short stem. They are alternate stipulate with stringy appearance about 2mm (0.08 inch) thick and 15cm (6 inch) long, like green grass and margins with small irregularly spaced spicules. Like other species within this genus, the Begonia bogneri has male and female flowers. The inflorescence is 15cm (6 inch) tall with one or two male flowers and one female flower. The flowers are pink and the male flowers have 4 petals, while the female flowers have 6 petals. The flowers are usually produced in early and mid summer.
In cultivation the plant develops into a clump consisting of a number of stems all arising from the one tuber-like body.
This species is easily recognized by its unusual grass-like leaves. In nature the plants are probably deciduous, while in cultivation, the leaves are evergreen under right light conditions.

Houseplant care: Begonia bogneri has a slow growth rate. It is not an easy species as house plant or terrarium plant. In a terrarium this plant enjoys high humidity and temperatures. As a house plant it must be watered properly, though the soil must be kept wet but not overwatered. Prune out the dead stalks or fallen blooms.

Light: If grown in a greenhouse under natural light Begonia bogneri tends to become dormant in winter and will drop its leaves, but applying artificial lightining can prevent this resting period.
This plants may be grown in contained atmosphere (terrarium) under horticultural fluorescent lights. They require particularly bright light, therefore they need to be closed to the centre of the light where light levels are most intense. Timers may be used to provide 14 to 16 hours of light a day. This can be reduced temporarily to 12 hours a day for two months in early winter to encourage flower production.
Alternatively, plants grown under natural sunlight on a windowsill will often perform best when provided with a south facing position in winter and est-facing one in summer. However, care should be taken if the plants are grown in glass containers to not overheat them by placing them on windowsill.

Temperature: In cultivation Begonia bogneri is usually grown in an enclosed grass container because it likes a very humid atmosphere. It also prefers a relatively cool position and performs best within a temperature range of 18-21°C (65-70°F). Terrariums should be placed in cool places. Additionally the temperature inside the terrarium can be reduced by setting the lights to come on only at night time when conditions are usually cooler. A fan can also remove any excess of heat produced by the lights.
Rise the air humidity around the plant when not grown enclosed in a terrarium.  Begonia bogneri will need relative humidity around 60 percent.

Water: Use tepid water for these plants. Begonia bogneri tubers should be allowed to dry out between waterings.
Plants grown in contained atmosphere will need less watering then those in other situations. The only way to determine when to water is to touch the surface of the growing material to feel how moist it is. Water only when it become dry. Rain or distillate water is preferable. Sealed containers will need watering only a few times a year, making it great for people which are traveling. If a particularly dense build-up of condensation occurs on the inside of the container soon after watering, it means that too much water has been added. Use paper towers to remove the excess of water and leave the lid off for a few hours to correct the problem.
If it is grown mounted in sphagnum moss mounted on a piece of cork, never allow the sphagnum moss substrate to become saturate for this will cause the small tuber to rot. To solve this problem, suspend the mounted plant over a large storage tank of water inside a greenhouse. This arrangement provides the plant with necessary humidity without saturating the growing medium.

Feeding: Fertilising Begonia bogneri grown in terrariums is rarely necessary. Otherwise, apply standard liquid fertiliser once a month to actively growing Begonia bogneri plants.

Potting and repotting: Begonia bogneri should be repotted once at intervals of 2 years. Do not overpot this plant, otherwise excessive moisture may accumulate in the potting mixture and cause the roots rot. Use an open potting mixture containing lots of chopped sphagnum moss and perlite.
This species is also occasionally grown in sphagnum moss mounted on a piece of cork.
Also this plant can be grown in terrariums. The growing medium should be composed of chopped, long-fiber sphagnum moss and a small amount of perlite. Prepare the sphagnum for the mix by immersing it in boiling water to sterilize it, allow it to cool, then cut it with scissors into roughly 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces. Blot the wet sphagnum with a paper towels to remove any excess of water before mixing it with perlite. Place a thin layer of charcoal, about 0.5cm (0.2 inch) in the bottom of the terrarium to absorb soluble salts and other impurities before they have the chance to damage the roots. Add a layer of 2.5 to 7.5cm of the prepared growing medium mix. This medium will be enough moist, no additional water after planting is needed. Check annually the pH of the growing medium. If the pH has fallen below 5.8, ground limestone may be gradually worked into the growing medium until the pH is raised to correct level.

Propagation: Propagation of Begonia bogneri is topically achieved by dividing the plant or taking cuttings of whole leaves or section of leaves. Place the cuttings in an open rooting mix, such as four parts sphagnum to one part of perlite. If the tiny leaves, either whole or in part are planted in moss, they eventually produce new plants.

Problems:
Pythium rot root attacks the roots and stem bases of adult plants and cuttings. Affected plants at first will have a slightly wilted appearance, followed by yellowing their lower leaves. As the disease progress, the roots and stems turn black and musky, leading to the death of the plant.
Treatment: The use of sterilized potting mixture and use of appropriate fungicide will control this disease.

Botrytis blight will produce gray moldy patches on leaves, stems and duds.
Treatment: This disease can be managed by improving the air circulation and plant hygiene by removing and destroying dead and dying leaves ans flowers. Use a suitable fungicide.

Powdery mildews produce unsightly white powdery patches on leaves, stems and buds.
Treatment: Manage this disease by restricting watering to morning so that water unwillingly splashed on leaves will quickly evaporate. Improve the air circulation around the plants. Severe cases may be treated with adequate fungicide.

Bacterial leaf spot will produce water-soaked areas on the leaves that are surrounded by yellow rings. It may cause leaf drop and, in some cases, associated stem rot may occur.
Treatment: Once the disease is present, remove and destroy any affected leaves or stems and spray the plants with a bacterial leaf spot treatment.

Rhizoctonia crown rot will be detected by the presents of brownish mould spreading from the soil to the infected stem base, a condition that will eventually lead to the collapse and death of the stem. This fungal disease appear only on plants that have been damaged or stressed by high temperatures or poor growing conditions.
Treatment: Maintenance of hygienic conditions and good cultural practice should prevent fungal growth. Fungicide sprays are also available.

A variety of viral diseases can attack plants causing symptoms like yellowing the leaves, pale yellow rings or spots, leaf malformation and stunted growth.
Treatment: Always use sterile potting mixture and treat insect infestations to prevent viral disease. Destroy all affected plants.

Mealy bug can be a common pest of these plants.
Treatment: If infestation is localized, remove insects by wiping affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or dipping the plant in a solution of soapy water and alcohol.

A number of tiny mite species can be problematic for these plants. Infested leaves are yellow speckled and, if the infection is severe, may be covered with wool like substance on their undersurface.
Treatment: Control these mites with a suitable acaricide.

There are two kinds of microscopic, worm-like creatures parasite to these plants: leaf nematodes and root nematodes.
Treatment: The best form to control is to destroy affected plants. In open garden avoid replanting begonias in contaminated soil. In case of potted plants, infestation may be prevented ans controlled by routinely using sterilized potting mixtures and washing the plant pots.

Scale insects may feed on plants.
Treatment: If infestation is localized, remove insects by wiping affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or dipping the plant in a solution of soapy water and alcohol.

Both the adults ans larvae of two kinds of weevils feed on plants.
Treatment: Insecticides are capable of controlling these insects, but if they are inside the cavities of the plants, they will not be killed. To fully exterminate them, systemic insecticide are needed.

Whiteflies infest the under-surface of the uppermost leaves and if disturbed fly rapidly around the top of the host plants.
Treatment: Successive sprays of insecticidal soaps or white oil will eradicate whiteflies infestations. Coverage of leaf undersides is important.

Availability: Begonia bogneri it is relatively new discovered plant – in 23 January 1969 by Josef Bogner. It is a species known to had very limited distribution in wild and as a result it is a plant with limited population. Unfortunately, this species is one of the few Madagascan begonias have ever introduced into gardens and they remain rare.

Uses and display: Begonia bogneri is a very rare terrarium begonia. Lovable pink flowers which have a long inflorescence make the Begonia bogneri even more appealing for your terrarium or windowsill. Alternatively it can be grown mounted in sphagnum moss mounted on a piece of cork.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Height: under 6 inch

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bight filtered
Temperature in active growth period – min 18oC max 21oC (65-70oF)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 11

Begonia bogneriBegonia bogneriBegonia bogneri



Begonias, Foliage Plants, Hobbyist Plants, Indoor Plants, Rare & Unusual Plants, Terrarium Plants ,

Begonia dregei

Common names: Dwarf Wild Begonia, Maple-Leaved Begonia, Wild Begonia, Wildebegonia, Grape-Leaf Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae

Synonymous: Begonia richardsiana
Begonia caffra
Begonia favargeri
Begonia homonyma
Begonia macbethii
Begonia natalensis
Begonia partita
Begonia parvifolia
Begonia richardsiana
Begonia richardsoniana
Begonia rubicunda
Begonia rudatisii
Begonia sinuata
Begonia suffruticosa
Begonia uncinata

Begonia dregei

Begonia dregei

Distribution and habitat: Begonia dregei is an erect perennial to 1m (39 inch) tall, but usually to 40cm (16 inch) tall in cultivation. This plant has developed at the base a caudex. Between different populations of the species there is a large variation in leaf shape and size. These plants are found in small isolated population in nature and they hybridize easily with one another.
Begonia dregei is native to southern Africa and occurs in forests, on rocky, mossy cliffs and steep banks, from the coast up to about 600m (2000 feet) in altitude. It is grown as an ornamental plant and there are numerous hybrids of this species.

Description: Begonia dregei is a semi-tuberous, fleshy perennial that grows to about 40cm (16 inch) tall, typically with a swollen stem base (caudex). The stem are pale green to reddish green or gray-brown, hairless, branched or branchless. The leaves are small with the blade above green, often with reddish or purplish veins and margins, sometimes white-spotted, especially when young, hairless, beneath paler green, hairless, asymmetric, in outline ovate to ovate-lanceolate, apex acute to shortly acuminate, base deeply to very shallowly cordate or almost truncate, margins entire, toothed or with three to five short or long lobes, the lobes themselves sometimes lobed or toothed, veins palmate. The stipules are persistent, linear-oblong to ovate-oblong.
The inflorescence appear in upper leaf axils. It is a few-flowered, bisexual cymose; the flowers are fragrant; the bracts are deciduous, ovate to broadly ovate or oblong. The male flowers are formed by tepals two, white, sometimes pink-tinged or pink, circular or kidney-shaped. The stamens are about 50, arranged in a flattened spherical mass and the anther connectives projecting. The female flowers have bracteoles absent or rarely present and then small and insignificant; the tepals are in number of five, same color as males, ovate, elliptic, almost circular or obovate. The flowers appear in spring and summer. The fruit is three celled capsule, about 1–2cm across the wings.

Houseplant care: Begonia dregei is quick-growing and in winter becomes semi-dormant and it may lose some of its stems and leaves. They are an interesting arty looking plant, makes them ideal as a bonsai like as they resemble small trees. Their preference for under potting also contributes to growing them in this manner. They respond to pruning to shape to please the eye.

Light: Give Begonia dregei plants bright filtered light all year round. Plants grown under natural sunlight on a windowsill will often perform best when provided with a south facing position in winter and est-facing one in summer.

Temperature: During the active growth period normal room temperatures are suitable for Begonia dregei. In temperatures above 18°C (64°F) stand pots on trays of moist pebbles. During the winter keep these semi-dormant plants at a temperature of about 13°C (55°F) in bright filtered light as they retain their foliage while resting.

Watering: Water actively growing plants moderately, allowing the top couple of centimetres (0.8 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. As growth slows down, reduce amounts of water gradually. During the winter rest period give to Begonia dregei plants just enough water to prevent the potting mixture from drying out.
Use tepid water for these plants. Avoid getting water on leaves and flowers except for occasional necessary rinsing for grooming purposes.

Feeding: Apply a high-potash liquid fertiliser to actively growing plants about once every two weeks. Stop feeding the plants which are going dormant.

Potting and repotting: Use either a peat-based mixture or a combination of equal parts of soil based mixture and coarse leaf mould. This species prefers a shallow pot. Put a layer of clay-pot fragments in the bottom of pots for extra drainage. When potting or repotting, simply sprinkle some mixture around the tuber and roots and tap the container briskly to settle the mixture.
These semi-tuberous Begonia dregei should be moved into pots one size larger each spring. When repotting always keep the tuberous swelling at the same level in the mixture. After maximum convenient pot size – 15-20cm (6-8 inch) – has been reached, top dress annually with fresh potting mixture.

Propagation: Begonia dregei plants are normally propagated from 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long tip cuttings of new growth taken in late spring or summer. Trim each cutting immediately below a leaf, dip the cut end in hormone rooting powder and plant it in 5 or 8cm (2-3 inch) pot containing a moistened equal parts potting mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case and stand it in bright filtered light. After rooting occurs (generally in three to four weeks), treat the rooted cutting as a mature Begonia dregei, but do not move it into the recommended potting mixture for the mature plants until it has made at least 15cm (6 inch) of top growth.

Begonia dregei grows very well from seed, and the new seedlings develop the swollen base very quickly. The seeds are very tiny and should be not buried when sown. Mix them with little fine sand before sowing. Seed is best sown in early spring or summer. Sow seeds trays in any standard germination medium (equal parts of peat and perlite or equal parts of vermiculite and perlite). A light mist spray of the surface will settle the seeds adequately. Keep the propagating trays in warm, moist conditions (intermittent mist ideal) in bright light, but no direct sun.
Prick the seedlings out into individual cells or small pots 6-8cm (2.5-3inch) when the first three leaves are formed. Use same potting mixture as for mature plants. The seedlings benefit from dilute applications of soluble fertiliser every two weeks. Re-potting will be necessary in about six months or so. Pot the new plants in pots one size larger when the root ball fill the pot. Thereafter treat them as mature Begonia dregei.

Problems:
Begonia dregei is particularly prone to powdery mildew. All progeny hybrids are prone to this fungal disease.
Treatment: Manage this disease by restricting watering to morning so that water unwillingly splashed on leaves will quickly evaporate. Improve the air circulation around the plants. Severe cases may be treated with adequate fungicide.

Pythium rot root attacks the roots and stem bases of adult plants and cuttings. Affected plants at first will have a slightly wilted appearance, followed by yellowing their lower leaves. As the disease progress, the roots and stems turn black and musky, leading to the death of the plant.
Treatment: The use of sterilized potting mixture and use of appropriate fungicide will control this disease.

Bacterial leaf spot will produce water-soaked areas on the leaves that are surrounded by yellow rings. It may cause leaf drop and, in some cases, associated stem rot may occur.
Treatment: Once the disease is present, remove and destroy any affected leaves or stems and spray the plants with a bacterial leaf spot treatment.

Botrytis blight will produce gray moldy patches on leaves, stems and duds.
Treatment: This disease can be managed by improving the air circulation and plant hygiene by removing and destroying dead and dying leaves ans flowers. Use a suitable fungicide.

Rhizoctonia crown rot will be detected by the presents of brownish mould spreading from the soil to the infected stem base, a condition that will eventually lead to the collapse and death of the stem. This fungal disease appear only on plants that have been damaged or stressed by high temperatures or poor growing conditions.
Treatment: Maintenance of hygienic conditions and good cultural practice should prevent fungal growth. Fungicide sprays are also available.

A variety of viral diseases can attack plants causing symptoms like yellowing the leaves, pale yellow rings or spots, leaf malformation and stunted growth.
Treatment: Always use sterile potting mixture and treat insect infestations to prevent viral disease. Destroy all affected plants.

Mealy bug will appear on Begonia dregei plants in abundance before they show up on nearby plants. All its hybrids are prone also to these bugs.
Treatment: If infestation is localized, remove insects by wiping affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or dipping the plant in a solution of soapy water and alcohol.

A number of tiny mite species can be problematic for Begonia dregei. Infested leaves are yellow speckled and, if the infection is severe, may be covered with wool like substance on their undersurface.
Treatment: Control these mites with a suitable acaricide.

Leaf nematodes and root nematodes are parasite to these plants.
Treatment: The best form to control is to destroy affected plants. In open garden avoid replanting begonias in contaminated soil. In case of potted plants, infestation may be prevented ans controlled by routinely using sterilized potting mixtures and washing the plant pots.

Scale insects may feed on Begonia dregei plants.
Treatment: If infestation is localized, remove insects by wiping affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or dipping the plant in a solution of soapy water and alcohol.

Both the adults ans larvae of two kinds of weevils feed on these plants.
Treatment: Insecticides are capable of controlling these insects, but if they are inside the cavities of the plants, they will not be killed. To fully exterminate them, systemic insecticide are needed.

Whiteflies infest the under-surface of the uppermost leaves and if disturbed fly rapidly around the top of the host plants.
Treatment: Successive sprays of insecticidal soaps or white oil will eradicate whiteflies infestations. Coverage of leaf undersides is important.

Uses and display: Begonia dregei species is well worth growing for its curious swollen caudex, which often gives it a somewhat gnarled appearance and makes it an excellent subject for a bonsai pot. It makes a good specimen plant and can be used as table top plant or preferable placed on a south facing windowsill in winter and est-facing one in summer to provide them adequate natural light. This plant is often used in hybridization. It is interesting that it crosses with plants from different horticultural groups.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Shape – upright
Height: 40cm (16 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bight filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 13oC max 18oC (55-64oF)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18oC max 27oC (64-81oF)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 11

Begonia dregei Begonia dregei - female flowerBegonia dregeiBegonia dregei flowersBegonia dregei Begonia dregei - bonsaiBegonia dregei - female flower



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Aichryson laxum

Common name: Tree of Love, Mice Ears

Family: Crassulaceae

Synonymous: Aeonium laxum
Aichryson dichotomum
Aichryson dichotomum var. hamiltonii
Aichryson laxum var. latipetalum
Aichryson laxum f. subglabrum
Sedum dichotomum
Sempervivum annuum
Sempervivum dichotomum
Sempervivum laxum

Aichryson laxum

Aichryson laxum

Distribution and habitat: Aichryson laxum belongs to the group of hairy herbaceous species. It is endemic to the Canary Islands, occurring at over 1000m (3280 feet) altitudes. It is adapted to dry areas, but prefers partial shade where is less exposed to direct sun, growing as understory plant. Aichryson laxum forms small populations along woods or sheltered by cliffs with its roots embedded on the crevices of volcanic rocks. This plant does not like wet feet, but the local frogs provide it with minimum humidity necessary to sustain its vegetation.
Aichryson laxum is annual or biennial, but it will produce volunteer seedlings around itself after flowering.
This species is also naturalised in Portugal. Is is a pretty rare species in culture may be because of its potential short life.

Description: Aichryson laxum is probably one of the most attractive species within this genus due to its large ovoid dark green leaves which are very hairy on both sides. It is a succulent that is freely branching shrublets. Of dwarf-tree-like appearance, it seldom grows over 30cm (12 inch) high. Its many thin, forked branches bear spoon-shaped leaves on short leaf stalk. The leaves form rosettes at the stem ends and blooms in the center of the rosette in numerous buds grouped. Clusters of many pale yellow flowers are regularly produced. This plant is liable to die after it has finished flowering.

Houseplant care: Aichryson laxum is a fast growing plant, but tends to lose their lower leaves.
In order to promote vegetative growth, the inflorescence should be cut off in time, otherwise this species will naturally grow as a biannual, dieing after flowering.

Light: Provide bright light with some direct sunlight. Aichryson laxum grow spindly and fail to bloom if they are grown in poor light.

Temperature: Aichryson laxum plants do well in wide range of temperatures. Under normal room conditions, Aichryson laxum that survive after flowering grows continuously. If they are kept in place where the temperature falls below 13°C (55°F) – and where the light is poor -, however, they will have a short winter rest period.

Watering: During the active growth period water Aichryson laxum moderately – enough to make the potting mixture moist throughout, but allowing the top half of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. During the rest period, if any, water only enough to keep the potting mixture from drying out completely.

Feeding: In areas where light and temperature are low in winter (and plants have a rest period), apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the active growth period only. Elsewhere, Aichryson laxum plants may be fed throughout the year.

Potting and repotting:
Use a soil based based potting mixture. Because Aichryson laxum have small root systems, they do not need large pots but should be able to mature and flower in 10 or 13cm (4-5 inch) pots. If necessary, move small surviving plants into pots one size larger in spring.

Gardening: Aichryson laxum can tolerate minimum temperature as low as 2°C (36°F) when planted in ground.

Position: In culture Aichryson laxum plants are placed in light shade or sunny positions, but according with their natural habitat they will prefer light shade, especially in hot climates. The leaf colour varies depending on exposure to sunlight. In the shade they are green and in full sun they become slightly brownish green or khaki.

Soil: The planting substrate for Aichryson laxum plants should be sandy, gritty-sandy, loamy, sandy-loamy, clay, sandy clay or loamy clay soil, a well drained soil with mild acidity (around 6.1 to 6.5 pH).

Irrigation: Aichryson laxum prefer moderately moist soil at their roots. These plants will thrive in humid atmosphere. Short showers are preferred to deep irrigation. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.   They tolerate a cool, frost-free winter if kept fairly dry.
They are drought-tolerant plants protected by the hairy leaves.

Fertilising: The Aichryson laxum does not require much fertiliser. Two to three applications of a balanced fertiliser during the growing season will feed these succulents.

Propagation: Small tip cuttings root easily if taken in spring or summer. Take shoots 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long, strip them of their lower leaves and plant them in a slightly moistened potting mixture of equal parts peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Give the cuttings bright light and just enough water to prevent the potting mixture from drying out. Rooting should take place in three to four weeks. When rooted, plant the cuttings in 8cm (3 inch) pots of soil-based mixture and treat them as adult plants.
Seeds are produced in abundance and will easily sow themselves.

Problems:
If too many leaves seems to be falling, it may be happening because Aichryson laxum plants are probably getting to much hot, dry air or scorching sun.
Treatment: Move them to a more suitable position.

Lifespan: Aichryson laxum tends to behave like an annual or biennial. This plant may die after flowering – but by no means always.

Uses and display: Aichryson laxum plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds. As succulent plant, it is suitable for xeriscaping or rockeries, suitable for shaded parts of the landscape. Also it is used as houseplant. Consider growing it as part of a cactus or succulent display.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Height: 30-45cm (12-18 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9b-12

Aichryson laxumAichryson laxumAichryson laxum



Evergreen, Garden Plants, Hobbyist Plants, Indoor Plants, Rare & Unusual Plants, Succulents , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lithops lesliei

Common name: Living Stones, Mimicry Plants, Stonefaces, Pebble Plants

Family: Aizoaceae

Synonymous: Lithops orpenii
Lithops venteri
Mesembryanthemum ferrugineum
Mesembryanthemum lesliei

Lithops lesliei

Lithops lesliei

Distribution and habitat: Lithops lesliei has just a provincial distribution in South Africa. The plant continues to be seen within its range, but this is as a threatened species of South Africa. It is found primarily in arid grasslands or savannas, usually in rocky places, growing under the protection of forbs and grasses.

Description: Lithops lesliei are resemblance to the stones among which they grow in their desert-like habitat. Each plant has a short underground stem that rise from a relatively long taproot. This buried stem carries a pair of thick and fleshy semi-circular leaves – which are identical in size, shape and colour – that are fused together for most of their length, a 5mm (0.2 inch) deep fissure. At the top of the line of fusion there is a slit or fissure, from which a single, daisy-like flower, 3cm (1 inch) wide, is produced in late summer are is golden yellow with pink shading on the underside of the petals. The upper surface of the leaves is flat-topped up to 4cm (1.5 inch) thick. Leaf colour is variable, running from pinkish gray to olive green with rust-coloured spots on the upper surface of the leaves. The leaf colour blend with its natural arid, rocky background.

Lithops lesliei are obligate outcrossers and require pollination from a separate plant. Their fruit is a dry capsule that opens when it becomes wet; in wild, some seeds may be ejected by falling raindrops and the capsule re-closes when it dries out. Capsules may also sometimes detach and be distributed intact or may disintegrate after several years.
After flowering, the old leaves gradually wither and dry up as a new pair emerges to replace them from the fissure between the two leaves.
Lithops lesliei form clumps, but it may take years to produce two or three pairs of low-lying leaves.

Houseplant care: Lithops lesliei is easy to grow, it tolerates a degree of excess water better than some particular hydrophobic species. Even so, it must have a very open mineral, fast draining potting mixture.

Light: Give these plants at least three or four hours a day of direct sunlight all year long. Care should be taken about exposing them to the full blast of the sun rays in summer. Such tiny plants can easily get scorched or broiled and their appearance spoiled.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable for Lithops lesliei. It can tolerate temperatures down to freezing, but should not generally be subjected to temperatures below 10°C (50°F).

Water: Water sparingly from late spring until the flower dies in the autumn, giving just enough to make the potting mixture barely moist and let the top two-thirds of the mixture dry out between waterings. From autumn to spring these plants have a rest period, during which new leaves replace the old ones.

During the rest period the water in the old leaves supplies the needs of the new leaves; give plants no more water until the following season. Start watering after the old leaves completely dry.

Fertilising: It is not necessary to feed these plants at any time.

Potting and repotting: Use an equal mixture of soil-based potting mixture and coarse sand or perlite. For good drainage put 2-3cm (0.8-1 inch) deep layer of clay-pot fragments in the bottom of the pot. Use a standard depth pot. A shallow pan may appear to be more than suitable for the low top growth, but it will not be deep enough for the searching taproot. Even though Lithops lesliei are clump-forming, the clumps form so slowly that the potting mixture provides nourishment for a long time.
Plant normally need to be moved on only when they begin to crowd each other in the pot – usually about once every three or four years.

Propagation: Divide overcrowded clumps in early summer. Keep a newly divided Lithops lesliei in bright filtered light and water it sparingly. Withhold water during the rest period.
Move the plant into a position where it receives full sunlight in late spring, when it should be ready to flower.

Plants can also be grown from seed, but the seedling usually take several years to reach flowering size.

Problems: Nearly all problems occur as a result of overwatering and poor ventilation especially when weather conditions are dull and cool or very humid. If too much water is supplied the plants will grow out of character, bloat, split and rot. Keep them in small pots as solitary clumps or as colonies in large, shallow terracotta pans.

Notes: Different Lithops species are preferentially found in particular environments, usually restricted to a particular type of rock. Lithops have not naturalised outside to his natural distribution, South Africa.

Lithops are partly subterranean, with only the clear ‘window’ in each leaf tip exposed above soil. A type of optical system exists whereby a layer of apical tissue rich in calcium oxalate crystals acts as a filter to intense sunlight before it reaches the thin chlorophyllous layer below. They show a striking similarity to their background rocks and are difficult to detect when not in flower. Its soil-embedded, subterranean growth form also reduces the need for chemical defences against herbivores.

Uses: Lithops lesliei is suitable for growing in containers and for indoors growing.
It is drought-tolerant; thus this it is suitable for xeriscaping in areas within its hardiness zone.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – variegated
Features – flowers
Shape – low growing
Height: under 15cm (6 inch)
Spacing: 7-15cm (3-6 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – sparingly
Light – direct
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 21°C (50-70°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Lithops lesliei - flowersLithops lesliei - fruitLithops lesliei - open seed capsuleLithops lesliei - new leaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Hobbyist Plants, Indoor Plants, Rare & Unusual Plants, Succulents , , , , , , , ,

Euphorbia obesa

Common name: Sea Urchin, Baseball, Vetmensie, Living Baseball, Gingham, Golf ball

Family: Euphorbiaceae

 

Euphorbia obesa

Euphorbia obesa

Distribution and habitat: Euphorbia obesa is a subtropical succulent species of Euphorbia genus. It comes from South Africa, especially in the Cape Province. The plant is dioecious, which means that a subject has only male or female flowers.

In the wild, it is endangered because of over-collection and poaching, because of its slow growth, and the fact that the pod contains only 2 to 3 seeds. Today it is protected by national (Nature Conservation) and international (CITES) legislation. The plants occur in karoo vegetation among Beaufort shale fragments, where they grow in full sun or in the partial shade provided by dwarf karoo shrubs. They are very well camouflaged and difficult to see. The habitat is very stony and hilly with summer rainfall, falling mainly in thunder showers. Summers are very hot: the average daily maximum about 26ºC (79ºF) and the minimum about 11ºC (52ºF). Light frost occurs during the winter months. However, it is widely cultivated in botanical gardens.

Description: Euphorbia obesa is a peculiar, almost ball shaped dwarf succulent plant that resembles a stone. It can grow to 20cm (8 inch) in height with a diameter of 9cm (3.5 inch). It is a single-stemmed, unbranched, firm-bodied plant. The stem is usually 8-angled and grooved, subglobose (almost spherical) in shape, elongating and becoming cylindrical as it gets older. Younger plants have a rounded sea urchin-like shape. The rotund stem is mottled grey-green in colour with dull purple transverse bands. It has a tapering tap root. The leaves are very rudimentary and soon drop off. All euphorbias have a complex floral arrangement that is termed a cyathium (a cup) and this is the unit of the inflorescence. A cyathium contains many highly reduced male flowers or a single female flower. In Euphorbia obesa, the cyathia appear in summer, from “circular flowering eyes”, situated along the tops of the angles, near the growing tip, on the stem. They are produced on fork-branched peduncles (flower stalks), have minute bracts and are finely hairy. The cyathia are cup-shaped to 3mm (0.1 inch) in diameter, expanding in the female. The fruit is a slightly 3-angled capsule , up to 7mm (0.3 inch) in diameter that explosively releases small rounded 2mm (0.08 inch) diameter mottled grey seeds when mature. The peduncles do not persist, and fall off after the seed has been dispersed.

Houseplant care: Euphorbia obesa is a slow-growing, long-lived plant.

Sudden moves from shade into the sunlight should be avoided in order to prevent scorching.

Light: Euphorbia obesa needs full sunlight all year long. In summer, plants can moved outdoors to benefit from the increased temperatures and increased exposure to daylight. Growing the plants close to a window is usually sufficient to provide the needed light in cooler temperatures for a winter dormancy period.

Temperature: Euphorbia obesa grow best when temperatures are very warm, upper then 27-35ºC (81-95ºF), but will thrive in normal room temperatures during the active growth period (spring, summer and early autumn). While not essential, Euphorbia obesa seems to benefit from a period of winter dormancy during which the plant should be kept drier and and somewhat cooler, as this reflects the growing conditions in its habitat. At this time, it will tolerate relatively cool temperatures in the winter (tolerating temperatures as low as 10ºC (50ºF) and possibly into 4ºC (40ºF). Keep the plant totally dry in these conditions of low temperatures.

Water: During the active growth period Euphorbia obesa should be frequently watered, allowing the soil to become dry between waterings. In mid-autumn gradually reduce the amount of water given. During the winter rest period water the plants only enough to keep the potting mixture from drying out.

Euphorbia obesa also seem to benefit from summer rains. Do not subject this plant to extended drought during the summer months, as this corresponds to their growing season and drought will prevent it from producing its annual growth.

Fertilising: Apply a week solution of liquid fertiliser about once every 6 weeks or so through the summer.

Potting and repotting: Use an equal-parts combination of soil-based potting mixture and coarse sand and perlite. Provide extra drainage by putting plenty of clay-pot fragments or other drainage material in the bottom of pots. Move plants into pots one size larger every spring; 15-20cm (6-8 inch) pots should be the biggest needed. After that, top-dressing with fresh potting mixture in the spring will be enough.

Gardening: Euphorbia obesa grown outdoors will prefer very bright conditions to partial shade in zones where the frost is not too severe. It will appreciate the morning sun. It can tolerate temperatures down to -5°C to -10°C (23-14°F) if the roots are kept dry. It does best in a mineral soil, but is tolerant of a wide range of soil types. Good soil drainage is essential. Remove half the soil from the site and replace it with sand, blending well with the existing soil. Water sparingly during the summer months and keep dry in winter. It is a slow-growing, long-lived plant, and once established, it will be content in its position and with its soil for years. It can tolerate moderate shade and a plant that has been growing in shade should be slowly hardened off before placing it in full sun, as the plant will be severely scorched if moved too suddenly from shade into sun.

Propagation: Euphorbia obesa is easily propagated from seed sown during spring or summer. Sow in a sandy to gravel-rich, well drained potting soil in a sunny warm position and in a standard seed tray. Cover seed with a thin layer of sand (1-2mm) (0.04-0.08 inch) and keep moist. Germination occurs within 3 weeks. The seedlings have a slow to medium growth rate and can be planted out into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle.

Flowering can be achieved within 5-8 years. Plants can be hand pollinated with a small paint brush. Rub pollen onto the brush and transfer to stigmas of female plants. Remember to cover the female plants with a stocking or a net to catch the seeds, otherwise the capsules will shoot them far and wide.

Problems: Grown in somewhat lower light, the colourful striations will become less distinct, and the plant may have a nearly uniformly green colouration. At even lower light intensities, the growth will virtually cease or, worse still, the plant may develop etiolated growth, producing weak and leggy stems.

Do not overwater the plant to avoid roting.

Uses: Euphorbia obesa is best grown as a pot plant in a sunny position such as a window sill or verandah but can also be grown outdoors in the Karoo and other desert gardens where frost is not too severe. It does best in a gravely shale based soil, but is tolerant of a wide range of soil types. It is suitable for coastal conditions.

Drought-tolerant, Euphorbia obesa is suitable for xeriscaping.

Toxicity: As with the other Euphorbias, the sap of Euphorbia obesa is poisonous.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – globular
Height: 20cm (8 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – sparingly
Light – direct
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 16°C (50-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Euphorbia obesa - male & female flowers



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