Begonia x erythrophylla is one of the earliest hybrids still in cultivation today. In 1845 Germany, B. hydrocotylifolia was crossed with B. manicata to produce B. x erythrophyllum. It is a rhizomatous species with dark green, glossy, nearly orbicular, peltate leaves. The 2.5-3 inch (6.35-7.6 cm) across leaves have shaggy white hairs along the margins and are red on the underneath side. The petioles are hairy and red in color. Plants will reach about 12 inches (30.5 cm) tall. They are very easy to grow and should be in every collection of Begonias.
Blooming: Our plants bloom in mid to late winter into early spring in the greenhouse. The light pink flowers are on long peduncles held above the foliage.
Culture: Begonia x erythrophylla needs partial shade to full shade with a rich soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part sand. The plants are well watered and allowed to dry somewhat before watering again. We fertilize the plants all year around with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the strength recommended on the label. One should pay attention as to how moist the soil stays during the winter bloom period. It is at this time we have had root rot problems, so take care to prevent over-watering during this period.
Propagation: Begonia x erythrophylla is propagated from leaf and stem cutting and from division of large clumps.
Begonia x erythrophylla was featured as Plant of the Week September 18-24, 2009.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
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.