Credit: Darrin Norton, @Mountain Orchids 

MEMBER NAME: In Search of Small Things

SPECIES NAME: Begonia versicolor

It is a Rhizomatous species native to Central China. “Leslie Woodriff called it the “Fairy Carpet” begonia because of the velvety appearance of its dark green leaves, frosted with silver and covered with thick red hairs, especially down the veins.” (from Begonias.org).

[1] SHADE, SEMI-SHADE, SUN, TERRARIUM, FLUORESCENT LIGHTS

This species is suited to terrarium culture. I grow mine about 16” from sunlight supply LED lights (1800 lumens). When grown closer to the light (12” or less) leaves tend to yellow and wither at the edges.

[2] TYPE OF GROWING MEDIUM USED

Happy Frog potting soil made by Fox Farms, with about 1/3 perlite added, 10% coco fiber, 10% turface, and about 5% unfired infield conditioner (dried to prevent clumping/to ensure thorough consistency when added to the potting mix).

[3] TYPE OF FERTILIZER AND FREQUENCY OF FEEDING

Urea free orchid fertilizer is applied in 1/8-1/4 strength once a month.

[4] MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS AND METHOD OF SUPPLYING APPROPRIATE AMOUNT OF WATER

Begonia versicolor seems to be very adaptable in regards to moisture levels, and even in what appear to be rather sodden conditions it has grown and bloomed. It seems to produce the nicest most succulent leaves when it is allowed to dry out slightly between waterings (ideally not allowed to get bone dry, but just nearly).

[5] PEST PROBLEMS AND HOW YOU TREATED THESE

Caught some kind of aphid from plants imported from asia and suffered no visible damage. Aphid population was very low however. Plants were treated with Dominion 2L at 1/8 teaspoon/gallon. Aphids were eradicated and B. versicolor showed no damage from pesticide application.

[6] NOTE YOUR EXPERIENCE OF SETTING SEEDS AND GROWING SEEDS OF YOUR SPECIES

Just recently hand-pollinated and am waiting for seed capsule to dry on plan.

[7] NOTE YOUR EXPERIENCE OF VEGETATIVE PROPAGATION

Propagates readily from leaves, even fairly small ones. I cut to leave about .5 inch of stem intact and place directly in a potting mix (same as adult plants) and keep evenly moist until new leaves show. During this phase it is less tolerant of drying out. Leaves that show any sign of yellowing do not reliably produce new plants.

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