Begonias Grown by a Queensland Begonia Society Member
Mrs Betty Vander Poorten has been a member of the Queensland Begonia Society for many years, during which she has grown numerous begonia cultivars in green houses built by her husband, Hals.
CULTURE NOTES – APRIL MEETING (from Winter Journal 2011)
I was introduced to the world of begonias when a friend gave me a piece of a gorgeous B. ‘Silver Jewell’ she had in her home. Soon after we went to an open garden at Victoria Point where there was a lovely B. listada. The owner very generously gave me a piece of her plant. I was seriously ‘hooked’ when I went to the annual Begonia Show soon after. My family is surprised that my interest has not waned!
I have over the years tried various growing mediums and have now arrived at putting down my leaves in either washed river sand only or a mix of two parts washed river sand, one part Perlite and one part coir peat. The latter mix I find is excellent for cane cuttings. I find that if I use a root growing hormone powder or pure unadulterated honey to dip the cuttings in, it encourages quicker propagation. Unlike my earlier efforts, I now wait until the plants are really well established before I transplant them.
I now take care not to overpot. I also use small stones to weight the plants down, instead of using sate sticks.
I have lost many begonias by being too generous with feeding. Every so often, I use Confidor to prevent bugs and caterpillars from feeding on them. I use Baycor for mildew and have recently started using a concentrated form of Seasol called Eco-Cweed. This is in powder form. Half a teaspoon is dissolved in a little water and added to a litre of water. This is very good value and does not smell as much. Of course, it also takes up less space and is a lot easier than shaking a large quantity of liquid Seasol.
Betty Vander Poorten
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All photos were taken by SoundEagle in the summer morning between 10.39am and 10.52am on 18th (Tuesday) of December 2012 at Mrs Betty Vander Poorten’s home garden.