69 (March/April 2002)
by Morris Mueller
This plant was hybridized by Patrick Worley in
1981 using B. luxurians x gehrtii. He introduced it in 1985. It
takes after its "mama" in that it is a shrub, but like "papa" its leaves
are pustulated. Unlike either parent, the leaves are much like the various
other hybrids having B. luxurians in their parentage (B.
'Lady Clare', 'Mrs. Fred T. Scripps', and "Lee's, Stewart's and Rudy's Luxurians").
B. 'Paul Hernandez' is not a plant for those
with limited space on a windowsill. It, like B. luxurians, can get
very, very big if grown where it likes it. There was a plant at Antonelli
Brothers that was at least eight feet tall and equally wide. For me it is
an easy, if somewhat slow grower in a pot. This year it is staying outside
for the winter, and so far (December) is showing no signs of mildew. While
protected, it also is showing some new growth. Like all begonias, mealybugs like it.
It is easy to start from stem cuttings, but I've never
been able to successfully get a plant from a leaf, a characteristic it
shares with "papa" B. gehrtii. Leaves root, but no plant forms.
I've never tried parts of leaves, only whole leaves.
While my plant has never bloomed, it has large
clusters of small white flowers. Since it is a hybrid, the only way to
propagate it is vegetatively.
To produce a full plant, it probably should be
pinched. However, I cut it back in the spring to propagate, and this also
forces new growth from below the soil.
In general this is an easy plant to grow with no
special requirements. Given ample light the leaves take on a red color,
less light and the leaves stay a light olive green.
Left: Photo of B. 'Paul
Hernandez' exhibited by Mary Sakamoto in the show in Los Angeles in 1999.
Left: is a giant B. 'Paul Henandez' seen in Elda
Regimbal's garden also in 1999