Many Begonia growers grow species and treat them like all their other begonias – they simply enjoy them. Although enjoying these begonias is one reason to grow them, you are encouraged to take a thoughtful approach when doing so.
When you grow threatened species, the goal is to develop a plan that helps everyone succeed, and then to share what works for you with others so they can also succeed. It is a slow growing network of expertise we are building to support the preservation of these plants.
The following is a list of suggestions for growing species responsibly, if your aim is to help keep them in cultivation and protect them from extinction.
Keep good records Make efforts to properly identify and name your species (and hybrids too!). Keep a list of your species. This helps you keep track of your collection and will also make it easy for you to let others know species you are growing and preserving.
Share to conserve your species. If you have species begonias in your collection, share them with others. Keep in mind people who are good growers, will label them correctly, and will continue the sharing.
Grow some of the plainer species. Make room for some of the less exciting species, as they also need to be grown and shared. Some of the plain ones may surprise you with beautiful flowers you were not expecting.
Watch for new species. Try to add new species to your collection as you find them at Begonia society sales and from other ABS members. You can also acquire new species by finding and growing seed, and then will have extra plants to share.
Get others involved. This can be as simple as suggesting to friends that they grow species and get involved by joining ABS, or joining our Save Our Species Program. Read about our Save Our Species Program here
Set seed Pollinating your species and collecting seeds begonias is an important and successful way to help preserve them.
Share your seed. The best place to share your seed is the ABS Clayton M. Kelly Seed Fund. You do not have to be a member of ABS in order to donate your seed to the fund. All donations of species seed are accepted.