Thursday, November 19, 2009

Begonia boliviensis 'Bonfire'

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.

In an earlier blog entry I mistakenly called this plant 'Fireworks'.

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