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Home > Begonian > Volume 69 (November/December 2002)

by Charles Jaros

Human sisters have similar qualities and characteristics, but are also distinctly different. Such is also true of "sister seedlings" in horticutlture.

Cases in point are two "sister seedlings"; B. 'Caribbean Prince' and B. 'Caribbean Princess'. Tim Anderson of Palm Harmnock Orchid Estate developed both of these beautiful hybrids.

Both hybrids were a result of a selfing of B. 'Boomer' in 1998. These hybrids would be considered grex, which is a group name for all plants derived from the same cross and means "seedling batch". A cultivar is an individual that has been selected from a grex because of a particular attribute or combination of attributes. It is clearly distinct, uniform and stable in its characteristics, and when propagated retains these characteristics because it is of identical genetic makeup.

B. 'Boomer' was developed by Mabel Corwin and is a cross between B. soli-mutata and B. rem B. 'Boomer' is classified as thick-stemmed; flowers are white and has ABS registration number 919.

B. 'Caribbean Prince' has coloration that is closer to B. 'Boomer' and that of B. soli-mutata although much lighter. The growth habit is that of a rhizomatous vice a thick-stemmed which is the B. solimutata characteristics showing. It is an easy, vigorous grower and is propagated by either leaf or stem cuttings. It makes an outstanding hanging basket.

B. 'Caribbean Princess' on the other hand has coloration that resembles that of B. reniformis andis a lovely bright green. The growth habit is also rhizomatous vice a thick-stemmed. Makes an outstanding hanging basket like its "sister" and is also propagated by either a leaf or stem cutting.

I obtained these two "sister seedlings from two leaves given to me by Tim Anderson. I use the "Tim Anderson Method" of rooting leaves. This is done by removing the petiole of the leaf to just below where it is attached to the leaf. Using my regular potting mix, Fafard 2, I then place the leaf into the mix and with my thumb press it down into the medium. The medium is moistened before placing the leaf in. Pressing the leaf into the medium breaks some of the leaf veins and plantlets appear from these areas.

Both rooted quickly and soon I had a nice 6" container of both. I continued to move them up in container size until I had them planted in 22" hanging baskets. Both make full compact plants without constant pinching and pruning.

It is fun growing "sister seedlings" and seeing how both different and similar they can be.

B. 'Caribbean Prince'

Above is B. 'Caribbean Prince' and below is B. 'Caribbean princess'. Both traveled all the way from Florida with Charles to be exhibited in Houston in May. You know these have to be sturdy plants!

B. 'Caribbean Princess'

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