69 (September/October 2002)
B. formosana var.
by Charles Jaros
While attending the 2001 ABS Annual Meeting in Orange
County, California a side trip was arranged by Jeanne Jones for those
attending the meeting to Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino,
California. Early Sunday morning we boarded a bus for a trip to Huntington
Botanical Gardens and were met by two docents of the gardens that are also
members of the Palos Verdes Branch. What a treat it was to have two
knowledgeable guides lead us through this 150‑acre paradise. But an even
more delicious morsel was in store: a tour of the working greenhouses. To
make this great day even better we were told by our docents that our group
was able to purchase plants from the greenhouse. Does a Begoniac need
other prodding? I think not! As our small group descended upon the Begonia
section, species were snapped up like candy. Even though the garden's
begonia collection was small, there were some very impressive varieties.
We all came away very satisfied.
Among the species that I purchased was this delicate
rhizomatous named B. formosana. Obviously with this name, I
determined it was discovered in Formosa now known as Taiwan. Begonias
1984 Update by Mildred Thompson classify this gem as rhizomatous,
distinctive foliage with unusual surface and/or unusual coloring, medium
leafed. Flowers are pale pink with the blooming season being from May to
According to the draft copy of Begoniaceae
Edition 2 by Jack Golding and Dieter C. Wasshousen the name was
published in 1961 and is in the section Platycentrum and should be
correctly named B. formosana var. formosana.
B. formosana var. formosana arrived to
its new home in Sanford safely, even though it had an extended stay at the
home of Tim & Thelma O'Reilly due to the terrible incidents of
September 11th. Within a week it was planted into a 6" plastic squatty
bulb pot using my soilless mix Fafard 2S; Nutricote 13‑13‑13 timed release
fertilizer was also added to the soil during repotting. B. formosana
var. formosana was a well established plant and promptly took
off in its new container. It grows in my shadehouse which is 20' x 30' and
has a solid clear fiberglass roof with 70% shadecloth on the sides and
under the fiberglass. The shadehouse is in full sun most of the day. B.
formosana var. formosana sits on the ground of the shadehouse
away from the brightest area. My shadehouse is not heated in the winter
and even with the shadehouse being wrapped in plastic and heat lamps on,
the temperature this winter dropped to 29 degrees inside. B., formosana
var. formosana suffered no ill effects and as spring approached
started to reward me with fabulous new growth.
B. formosana exhibited by Charles Jaros
at the 2002 ABS Convention in Houston.
B. formosana >var. formosana has
obliquely laciniate leaves to 30 cm. long, 13 cm. wide of a rich medium
green. It has bloomed for me during the May‑October time frame, as it was
blooming when purchased in September and has started blooming again at the
beginning of June.
While deciding which plants I was going to transport
to the 2002 ABS Convention in Houston, l noticed how well B. formosana
var. formosana was growing. I decided it would be chosen for
the trip, mostly because it was unusual and a species. I felt other ABS
members would enjoy seeing it. It was them groomed for show.
B.formosana var formosana rewarded me with a blue ribbon and
a cultural certificate.
I wholeheartedly recommend this rhizomatous species to
all growers as it is not demanding.