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Home > Begonian > Volume 61 (January/February 1994, pages 23 - 24)

Spotlight on: B. carrieae
by Mary Weinberg

B. carrieae is in the section Magnusia. It was first discovered in Ocozocoautla in the State of Chiapas, Mexico by Thomas MacDougall on April 13, 1967. It was described by Rudolf Ziesenhenne in the May, 1976 issue of the Begonian, and named in honor of Carrie Karegeannes.

B. carrieae is a rhizomatous begonia. It sends out lateral rhizomes freely, which makes a nice full plant. It has large lobed leaves of bright lime green with a rugose surface; veins are deep set, giving the leaves a puffy effect. Leaves are covered with simple short hairs. Leaf stems are covered with scale-like hairs dividing into longer terminal hairs. The flowers are white, having tepals 3/4 of an inch long. B. carrieae blooms in late winter or early spring, and is a moderate bloomer.

One August I received a 1" piece of rhizome from Martin Johnson via Dan Haseltine. It was partially rooted, and had grown one leaf by the time I picked it up at Dan's. I put it into a sweater box that contained a mixture of perlite and cut-up sphagnum to continue its root growth. In the fall I potted it in my usual soiless mix, adding an extra handful of perlite.

If you have tried B. carrieae and have not done well with it, use the following methods. I have taken most of this information from suggestions in past issues of the Begonian and find they have been helpful to me.


Light: I have B. carrieae under lights, about 14" away from the surface of the shelf. Its color is very good, bright, neither faded nor too dark in color.

Growing Medium: A very course loose mix is recommended for B. carrieae. I used my soiless mix (consisting of 2 parts sphagnum peat moss, 1 part vermiculite, 1 part perlite, and 2 tablespoons of powdered horticultural lime). When potting B. carrieae I added an extra small handful of perlite to the 4" pot. Clay pots are recommended, as this begonia will do best if the roots get air.

Water: Do not overwater. B. carrieae likes to have its growing medium dry out between waterings.

Humidity: To keep the leaves in good condition humidity is necessary; but it should not be considered a terrarium plant.

Temperature: Keep B. carrieae on the cool side. It does not care for heat, according to Rudolf Ziesenhenne.

Propagation: B. carrieae can be tricky to propagate because of its hairy stems. In the Begonian of September 1977, Martin Johnson wrote of his propagation method: he trimmed a leaf, leaving the center about 3" in diameter with a 3" stem. He filled a 4" pot with perlite, moistened it well, and put the leaf on top of it. He placed the pot in a clear plastic shoe box with about 1" of water. The leaf stem sent out roots all over the top of the perlite, and several leaf buds developed on the perlite.

B. carrieae sketch

Mary's article first appeared in the Chicago Begonian.

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