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Video: Growing Begonias In An Apartment
For over ten years now, I have been fond of growing flowers, including begonias. And I dare to hope that I have already gained some experience in growing these wonderful flowers. Of course, over the years there have been both annoying miscalculations and errors of a very different nature, mainly concerning the selection of source material, adherence to agrotechnical rules and recommendations, the treatment of various diseases in flowers and the prevention of these diseases … and much more. Therefore, I want to share my experience with those who have just started growing and breeding begonias (or are about to start).
Whenever I came across a specimen of decorative leaf begonia, I really wanted to buy it. It is impossible to be indifferent to these plants with large, motley-colored, unequal leaves with an oblique heart-shaped base. In recent years, many varieties have been bred with a varied pattern and color of the leaf. The varieties with a color transition from silvery green to dark burgundy look spectacular. Many begonias are adorned with white strokes or dots, which add to their charm.
Begonia is a subtropical plant, and like all representatives of this group, it loves a climate with high humidity. Grows well in bright, diffused light, but can withstand partial shade (even northern windows in winter). During my acquaintance with begonias, I came to the conclusion that they prefer a constant air temperature (without sudden changes). The most optimal temperature for them is + 16 … + 20 ° С and moderately moist soil. In addition, they are very demanding on the composition of the soil. The ground should be slightly acidified. I make the land mixture myself: I use leafy soil, humus, peat, sand. Their approximate ratio (respectively) is 2: 1: 1: 0.5.
After mixing all the components, the mixture must be sterilized by steaming in order to avoid pests. To do this, I sprinkle a very moist earth in a layer of 3-4 cm on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 5-10 minutes, stirring from time to time. During this time, excess moisture evaporates, and the earth is not burnt out. Then I let the ground cool well. After that, you can plant the plants. I would like to say right away that begonias are "egoists" in relation to other types of houseplants adjacent to them, ie. they like to be apart from everyone. I have been convinced of this from my own experience.
When I only had a few pots of begonias, they stood between other indoor flowers. There were problems with their growth. For a long time I did not understand - what is the reason for such "weakness", although the ground, lighting and air temperature were optimal for begonias? In the best case, the plants simply stopped growing and began to lose leaves, and in the worst, they died.
The rescue measures taken did not help. The way out was found by accident: I put the last pot with the begonia dying in front of my eyes on the window sill of the northern window free of flowers, expecting the inevitable death of the plant. A few days later, in the place of the lost leaves, I discovered the appearance of new buds, and after a while the rapid growth of the whole plant began.
Begonia grew very quickly, becoming a lush beauty. I decided to plant her, and put all the planted processes nearby, on the same windowsill. There were no more problems! Since then, I have allocated a separate place for growing and placing begonias. It can be either a window or a separate shelf in the room. Of course, other flowers can and should be placed in the room, but I would not recommend putting them interspersed with begonias.
I propagate decorative leafy begonias by stem and leaf cuttings. When grafting the stem, I choose an area with a growth bud and young leaves. On an adult plant, such areas are very clearly visible. I cut off such a section (it turns out a daughter outlet, only without roots) and let it lie on the table at room temperature for ten to fifteen minutes.
Then I plant the resulting cuttings in small pots (7-8 cm in diameter) and water with water at room temperature. I prepare the land for transplanting in advance as described above. I put the pots in a plastic bag, inflate with air and tie. In this form, they stand until large droplets of water appear on the package.
From this point on, I begin to gradually air the cuttings to prevent decay. I untie the bags and slightly open them so that there is no sharp temperature drop (during the time when condensation forms, the temperature in the bag rises compared to room temperature). A few days later, I open the bags even more and at the same time make sure that the leaves on the begonias are elastic. If suddenly the plant stuck, I tie the bag again.
In this way, begonias multiply very quickly; but this method is good when there are large bushes of these plants. But what if you have only one specimen of some rare kind of begonia and really want to reproduce it? Then you can apply the method of propagation by leaf cuttings.
For this purpose, I choose a well-grown leaf on the plant, break it off the stem and let it dry for ten to fifteen minutes. Then I plant the leaves in small (one hundred grams) plastic cups, deepening the stalk about two centimeters so that it holds well in the ground.
There are varieties of begonias in which the leaf cuttings are short and the leaf blade is very large. In this case, for rooting, you will need a wide dish - such that the entire sheet fits completely. Leaves with short cuttings buried in the ground to the very leaf blade. I water them carefully and put them in plastic bags just like stem cuttings. Rooted leaves give several rosettes. When the rosettes grow, I put them in cups and put them back in bags so that they get stronger. I prepare a soil mixture for rooting leaves without adding humus.
During my observations of begonias, I concluded that it is better to use wide and not too deep pots for planting plants, since most decorative leaf begonias have a creeping stem. A sign of a healthy plant is good hairiness of leaf cuttings (leaf area from stem to leaf blade).
If the villi are not thick and have a faded color, then the begonia is "dissatisfied" with something. Most often, in this way, my begonias remind that they need feeding. They are very fond of organic fertilizers. For feeding, I use a freshly prepared solution of low concentration chicken manure.
I mix 10-15 grams of fresh chicken manure well in five liters of water. I water begonias with this solution once every seven to ten days. I write down the days of watering with top dressing in a special notebook. Begonias grow right before our eyes, the color of the leaves becomes very bright, and a pearlescent shine appears. I apply top dressing no earlier than two months after transplanting plants into fresh soil.
Here, in southern Russia, summer begins very early, and the hot period lasts quite a long time. The coolness, saving for plants, comes, as a rule, closer to October. Over the winter and short spring, I try to carry out all the necessary work on grafting and transplanting begonias so that they have time to get stronger before the onset of the heat. When it gets unbearably hot (+ 30 ° C and above), I try to rearrange all begonias in the coolest place.
Most often, I place them on the floor, under fluorescent lamps. The room should be well ventilated. You can take begonias outside, but they must be under a canopy and be reliably protected from wind and rain. Organizing such a "summer camp" helps begonias survive the hottest time. It happens that the leaves on the plants begin to disappear from the intense heat.
In this case, I immediately stop making organic fertilizing and am not in a hurry to throw out naked "hemp", but put them in plastic bags (as described above) - in this form, begonias wait for the salutary autumn coolness. Obviously, the constant temperature inside the bag helps the begonias survive. With the onset of autumn, growth buds, and then leaves, usually appear on the "stumps".
For the prevention of plant decay I use foundationol, lightly "powder" the plants from above. It also helps prevent powdery mildew. During the entire time during which I have been growing begonias, I have never noticed pests that would have lived on these plants. But since not only begonias live in the house, but also other plants, I use a solution of agravertine (1 ml / 1 liter of water) or fufanon (in the same concentration) for preventive purposes.
Give a little attention and patience to the plants in your home, and they will surely reward you with exuberant flowering and growth.