Begonia barkeri is a fibrous rooted begonia with erect brown, scurfy stems native to the Gomez Farias area of Tamaulipus, Mexico. Stems will reach about 2 feet (60 cm) tall with broadly ovate and pointed leaves. The bright green cupped leaves with appressed hairs are shallowly lobed with overlapping basal lobes. Leaves will reach 6 inches (15 cm) long by 4.5-8 inches (11.5-20 cm) wide. This has been a fun plant to grow and watch it develop, because it is my first Begonia to grow from seed. The seed was collected in Gomez Farias area and was growing as a lithophyte. I would like to thank my friend Amy with the Biological Survey for bringing the seed to me.
Blooming: In the greenhouse the plant blooms from mid winter to early spring. The large pinkish-white flowers are in showy clusters on red peduncles. The peduncles are 1 foot (30 cm) high. They are quite showy flowers.
Culture: Begonia barkeri needs partial shade to full shade with a well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts sand to 1 part loam. The plants are native to cloud forests so they need lots of humidity. Plants are misted on a daily basis during the growing season. Plants are well watered and allowed to dry slightly before watering again. We fertilize them monthly with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ˝ the strength recommended on the label. During the flowering season, watering is stepped up a bit and the plants should never be allowed to dry thoroughly. At the end of the flowering period, water is restricted, but the plants should be misted daily.
Propagation: Begonia barkeri is propagated by cuttings (leaf and stem) and from seed. Seed should be surface sown and will germinate in 30-40 days at 70°F (21°C).
Begonia barkeri was featured as Plant of the Week November 3-9, 2006.
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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.