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Begonia sizemoreae

Here's another one of my favorites.  Begonia sizemoreae is a great new Begonia with... whiskers!  I'm not sure what the purpose is of all its soft, white hairs, but they add a wacky flair to its terrific leaves.  The large, variegated leaves have a deeply waffled texture and great coloration on both sides.  This is a newly-discovered species that was found only on a single mountain in Vietnam.  Despite its exotic appearance, it happens to be easy to grow!  More pictures of this lovable Begonia are here.

Begonia sizemoreae

Begonia sizemoreae was named for its discoverer, plant explorer Mary Sizemore (a long-time buyer of mine!).  Its oval leaves tend to get around 5 to 8 inches across, but can potentially get a foot wide.  The leaf coloration can vary depending on the growing conditions, but generally the leaves are forest-green with a ring of lighter green markings near the edge.  The underside is a great shade of maroon.  Both the leaves and stems are covered in soft hairs, which get a half-inch long on the leaves.  The pink flowers are very pretty.  This is a true species, not a cultivated hybrid.  It has good breeding potential with some other Begonias to create new whiskered hybrids!

Begonia sizemoreae from Vietnam

Begonia sizemoreae from Vietnam

Despite coming from a mild climate, Begonia sizemoreae has reportedly handled a wide range of temperatures, from high heat down to almost freezing.  I have only grown it indoors at room temperature, where it does fantastic.  It should have above about 50% humidity in order to thrive.  Like most Begonias, it enjoys moist, well-draining soil, and regular feeding.  Bright shade is best.  Protect it from strong, direct sun.  I don't know if it has any frost tolerance.

Begonia sizemoreae

A flower stem emerging

 

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