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Home > Begonian > Volume 71 (July/August 2004)

Begonia U446
by Charles Jaros

B. U446 is a shrub-like begonia that was collected by Mary Sizemore in the fall of 1996. Mary collected this beautiful begonia in BA-VI National Park, North Vietnam, this area is near Hanoi. B. U446 was found growing at approximately 2000' in an understory forest and growing terrestially, the plant was approximately 2' tall. B. U446 has shrub-like growth, light green leaves with veins that are slightly red. Leaves are 5 1/2" long and 1 1/2" wide. Flowers are a light pink and occur along the stem of the plant at each leaf/branch axil.

I acquired my plant of B. U446 in a 4" pot from Tim Anderson of Palm Hammock Orchid Estates, Miami in 2000. No "U" number was assigned at this time so the begonia was labeled unknown shrublike, Vietnam, Mary Sizemore. B. U446 was placed in my shadehouse on an upper shelf where it flourished until our hot Florida summer heat came along.

Often my shade house temperatures can reach the high 90's to 100 degrees. I use 70% shadecloth on my shadehouse and a fiberglass roof to control watering. I noticed the leaves becoming singed and growth decreasing. I immediately moved B. U446 to a lower shelf in a shadier spot. B. U446 was much happier, but did not like the heat. It limped along until fall when the temperatures became cooler. When this occurred B. U446 revived from its doldrums and started growing vigorously.

This growth occurred all through the winter and spring until summer came along again and growth slowed considerably. B. U446 was now in a 6" pot and not enjoying the Florida summer. I decided at this point to move B. U446 out of the shadehouse to under my liveoak trees in the front yard. There it received filtered light and shared the area with Aroids, ferns and other begonias. B.U446 loved the spot and started showing vigorous growth again. It was now moved into an 8" pot, no flowers as of yet. I also started using Spray N' Grow on my begonias along with my Nutricote time released fertilizer with excellent results.

B. U446
Above: Mary Bucholtz photographed B. U446. Right: A close up of the bloom photographed by Johanna Zinn B. U446 flower

I decided to take B. U446 to the Oklahoma City ABS Convention, although not a show plant I wanted to display it and see if any ABS members knew anything about it. Also Thelma O'Reilly was attending the convention and I hoped to have a "U" assigned. U446 was assigned by Thelma O'Reilly shortly after the convention.

B. U446 has continued to flourish; seems I had finally found the right growing combination: Under the liveoak tree in the summer, shadehouse the rest of the year. B. U446 is now in a 14" container and is 3' tall.

This winter B. U446 bloomed for the first time with an abundance of flowers along the stem of the plant from the leaf/ branch axels.

Through trial an error I finally found the growing environment that B. U446 enjoyed and it has certainly paid off. I am still trying to find that right spot for B. luxurians.

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