Brad's hybrids culture tips page


Additional Growing Notes And Specific Culture (Most of these notes for specific culture are for warm climate growers that grow outdoors all year but many can be applied to other areas) These note are in kind of alphabetical order except for some series and related plants that may be grouped together.


1. Absolutely is a tall growing cane with leaves somewhat similar to Wonderful. The flowers are very different and are extremely large. They are cream colored with variable shadings of rose to each petal. Reasonably easy to grow, hard to keep compact without pinching.

2. Aztec is an indestructible plant. It grows tall and full and isn’t a leaf dropper, even in winter. Requires high bloom fertilizer and some sun in order to bloom.

3. Airy Elf and Airy Fairy are both tuberous and can go completely dormant in the winter but under lights or during a mild winter they can continue right on through without that dormancy. Although both are similiar Airy Fairy is more upright and has finer leaves, darker flowers and more silver. Airy Elf makes a fuller more compact plant, but both make beautiful, fast growing baskets and propagate easily.

4. Aladdins Lamp and the rest of the Arabian names, including Babylon are all mallet type canes but are much easier and faster growing than the older types. They still suffer from being slightly mildew prone like all of the mallets but that is easily controled by spraying and their beautiful leaves and ease of culture make up for that disadvantage.

5. Sister plants Patti Thompson, Ronnie Nevins, Anne Jones, Culture Class and Willie Mae make quick full baskets and are easy to grow. They should be pruned or pinched hard in the spring to help encourage them to be especially full. (Willie Mae may no longer exist, if someone does have this plant please contact me)

6. My snake-named series of rhizomatous begonias are all fairly large growers with tall flower spikes. In case any of you are wondering why I chose snake names it was because the first couple that I named had patterns reminiscent of the patterns on a snake, and I just continued with that. Most have double spirals except for Python, Burmese Python, Rosy Boa, and Boa. One cultural note on this group is that they don't seem to appreciate getting rained on in the winter so you might want to offer them protection if you grow them outdoors in the winter in certain parts of the country. This is true of a lot of rhizomatous begonias. They are especially sturdy plants.

7. Baby Beth is a newer cane released just back in 97. It grows similar to Josephine except it has bronze leaves and sturdier stems. Makes a great basket plant. The flowers are two-toned.

8. Bilbo Bagins has large bronze leaves and is easy growing. Needs good light to bloom but the flowers are very impressive and an unusual shade of rose the flowers are in a huge ball cluster on a long peduncle. It is sterile so just keeps putting out only boy flowers so each cluster lasts forever before it blooms out. One cluster can last months.

9. Black Gold is one of the fullest growing canes you can grow and branches more than almost any cane with very little pinching. It also blooms very well with large flowers. The name came about because the leaves are oil colored. Strongly rose scented.

10. Bloody Mary is a tall growing cane and nearly indestructible. Requires good light to bloom and can get very large leaves. With some sun the leaves also get red streaking on them to match the brilliant red flowers.

11. Blushing Ivory, Queen of Hearts, Peppermint Princess and Peppermint Promises all have two toned flowers, Blushing Ivory is white with a pink blush on the edges, and the other two have flowers with every shade of pink and white in the same cluster.

12. Brad's Big Boy has very large leaves and extremely large clusters of big red/orange flowers. I have counted 70 flowers in one cluster on this plant.

13. California Dreamin is very exceptional. It makes an excellent basket cane, is very full growing, has very bright green leaves with large white spots, and very dark red flowers. It doesn't drop leaves in cold weather like some, is ever blooming even in the cold, and is fast growing. Its an almost perfect plant. Rose scented.

14. Captain Hook can be a very showy plant. It is malleable and can be used for many different purposes. It can be used as a full compact upright or it can be grown tall and even used on a trellis. I have a spectacular one grown that way. It grows full with little help. The flowers should be dark red so if yours aren’t it isn’t getting enough light. Rose Scented.

15. Castaway is a perfect plant with no flaws. It grows under any conditions, doesn’t get mildew, grows full on it’s own and blooms in any light all year. It never drops leaves or complains. If you can’t grow this one you should find another plant family to grow. The leaves are very glossy without blemishes of any kind. Makes a perfect basket but can make a compact upright also.

16. Committee Meeting has plain leaves but it makes up for it in blooms. It will never stop blooming under nearly all conditions even in winter. Slightly sensitive to heat and you should watch to not overwatering during heat spells. Makes a perfect basket and doesn’t get mildew. Even without pinching it will make a large symetrical basket or can be pinched to make a small basket.

17. The comedy series which contains all rhizomatous begonias with “funny” names like Comedian, Clown Around etc. are all reasonably easy growers. Marias Revenge is also part of this series. A couple of them are especially sensitive about overwatering, Clown Around being one of them. Marias Revenge and Comedian are the easiest of the series to grow and almost fail proof under reasonable conditions. Most of the series have brown spots which can be variable on a couple. Jokester and Trickster being the most suseptible. Lower light will help maintain the spotting on these two, the sun bleaches them out. Some get very large and all are pretty drought tolerant.

18. Curly Stormy Night and Stormy Night are definately on my top 10 favorite list. Both have the blackest leaves of any begonia, are very velvety, and have attractive green eyes and veins in the leaves. Both are full and easy growing and have dark pink flowers on compact stems. If you see them you will want them.

19. Dancing Birds has very red flowers and is also everblooming. The jagged leaves are very pointed and stick upwards all over the plant which gave me the impression of a flock of birds taking off. This is another one that may not exist because I no longer have the plant. I suspect it is still around so please contact me if you come across it.

20. Dangling Pearls is an excellent basket and its pure white flowers are great contrast against its dark leaves. Makes a beautiful plant and it is always commented on when it’s in bloom, nearly everblooming.

21. Dark Dreams make look ordinary as a small plant but is very easy to grow, has beautiful dark leaves, grows full, looks clean, and probably has the largest longest lasting flowers of any begonia. The ovaries on the girls are sometimes 2 1/2 inches long. It is just a nice plant to have.

22. De Cups can be a spectacular plant with very large leaves under good conditions. Resents too much water during cold weather. A well grown plant cannot be passed by without a look and comment. Rose Scented.

23. Don Case and Shirley Nemecek are probably two of the most vigorous begonias you can grow and both grow large. Both have large clusters of flowers but bloom later in the year than some of the other canes but are worth the wait. They will bloom right through winter when the other superbas are dropping leaves. Both grow very large and both hang on to their leaves in colder weather when some of the other canes are dropping them like flies.

24. Don Weaver is a nice compact clean growing plant. It is very unusual in the fact that the flowers really vary according to the light. In lower light the flowers are two toned pink and white and in more light they are orange. The flowers are held above the foliage in upright clusters.

25. Dragon Wings is fairly new and has long black cut leaves and is a good bloomer. Very sensitive to overpotting and overwatering so should be kept underpotted at least as a small plant until it is well established.

26. Dueling Swords. Sale plants of Dueling Swords don't really look like anything special but it is very noticeable in bloom. As soon as anyone sees a mature plant with its large white flowers they want it. Its nearly everblooming, very vigorous, and makes an excellent basket. Even a badly neglected plant insists on putting on a show.

27. Edna Redenbacher is what I would call a lazy plant. It insists on growing under any conditions but also has a mind of its own just like the person it’s named after. Pinching and/or staking will bring it under control and it does make a nice full potted plant or a wild basket. It can take strong light and is very sturdy. Needs good light for good bloom but the ruffley foliage is interesting even without the blooms if you grow it in lower light as a foliage plant.

28. My Egyptian series of rhizomatous begonias, especially Euphrates, River Nile, Cheops, Ramses, Sphinx, Isis and King Tut never fail to get comments whenever anyone sees them. They are very easy to grow, make full plants and have such nice patterns and color contrast to the leaves that they are always in demand. These are double spirals and can grow fairly large. These are some of my personal favorites, I would say top 10 but I think my top 10 list would end up with more than 10 on it.

29. Firewalker is an exceptional basket type cane. Is has dark bronze leaves with silver spots and very dark red flowers. Stays small and compact and is nearly everblooming. Is strong growing but is sensitive to over potting, overwatering so should be kept underpotted or at least care should be used to make sure it dries out between waterings. It grows very full.

30. Frodo is big. Frodo can get 14 inch leaves and also has big flowers. Very vigorous grower and has heavy canes but does not grow tall. Likes to stay on the dry side. Makes a shapely plant pretty much on it’s own and since the leaves are so large pinching could ruin the growth. Would probably make a good sturdy standard.

31. Gandalf needs some pinching to stay compact but is an easy plant and a free bloomer.

32. Geisha Girl is a very compact plant and I've never had mine get over a foot tall but grows full and has such beautiful scalloped leaves and blooms all the time. Very clean plant. (this one may also be lost so contact me if you come across it)

33. Green Wings is a very small growing cane that makes a nice little basket. The flowers are very fragrant.

34. Hanna’s Child wants to grow upright but needs staking because the flowers are so heavy. Easy to grow but the leaves can burn if you have water sitting on them in hot weather. Very impressive plant and very strong blooming. The male flowers are perfectly round and unusual and the female cluster can have 50 flowers in it.

35. Hot Peaches is a very heavy bloomer and reasonably easy to grow but is cold and water sensitive so should be protected in winter. Good light stand candidate because of it’s easy blooming and compactness. Makes a nice mini basket. The whole plant, even the leaves and flowers glow a peachy color.

36. Ireland is very unusual with its very serrated green leaves and its green flowers that slowly ripen like an apple to a pale reddish color. It is more than just a novelty though and makes a nice plant and is in great demand.

37. Irish Red has fairly plain dark green leaves but is a fast full basket and blooms continuously with bright red flowers. Very showy in bloom. Slightly mildew prone in winter.

38. Jeanne Jones is an exceptional superba cane. It grows compact and full with nearly black cut leaves and is a heavy bloomer. Needs no pinching to grow shapely and symetrical. Very clean and attractive. Strongly rose scented.

39. Jo Lord is an excellent basket cane with medium sized leaves and compact growth. The flowers are an intense rose red color unlike any other begonia I’ve seen. Easy to grow and free blooming. The flowers are strongly rose scented and large.

40. Josephine is a very compact grower and can either be grown upright or in a basket. Grown upright it usually requires staking. It doesn't get more than a foot or so high and is covered with tight clusters of the brightest pink flowers. Grows very full and beautiful. The flowers are held above the foliage.

41. Joyce Hesse is a monster plant. It is fairly new but you will run across it soon if you haven’t already. One cluster of flowers is worth a whole year of growing. The leaves can get extremely large and the flowers do also. Both are larger than its parent Jumbo Jet. The plant is tall growing and may require staking for it to hold up the large clusters of flowers. Blooms easily . One plant will be a show stopper in your yard, the girl flowers are 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

42. Kabuki Girl is a tall grower and has an unusual look. The leaves and the flowers hang straight down and makes a nice effect in a mature plant.

43. Kecemen is an awesome easy growing plant. It stay compact and full and blooms well in good light and is not a leaf dropper. Good light makes the leaves more undulated and serrated and gives the plant a nice bronzy look. The flowers are a nice salmon color.

44. Lady in Red has very dark red flowers like Anna Christine. Needs pinching to make full. Resents overwatering and overpotting.

45. Lady Mary is a compact vigorous grower that is very eye catching. It has large leaves with large white evenly sized spots over the entire leaf and has cherry red flowers in large clusters above the foliage. People ask about it even when it isn't in bloom. Slightly mildew prone during winter.

46. Lady Molina is another perfect superba. Easy to grow and doesn’t drop leaves. Blooms easily and the flowers are held in a ball above the foliage until the girls come out. Is not fussy in any respect. Does grow tall but full also. Sister seedlings Lady Baxter, Lady Epperson and Sherman gardens are also easy to grow but much taller growing. All for are fail proof plants and you would have to try very hard to not succeed with them.

47. Lady Orange has orange flowers but a nicer serrated dark bronze leaf than all the other traditional orange begonias. Compact grower. Resents overwatering and overpotting. Should have winter protection. (this is true of all the orange begonias)

48. Lady Ronnie is very big and can get 14 inch leaves and has huge ruffled dark pink flowers. Very showy and even larger than Jumbo Jet. Flowers are strongly rose scented.

49. Little Miss Mummey is a show stopper and another perfect plant. It has only two faults, it is hard to bloom and doesn’t like water sitting on the leaves in hot weather. Other than that it is fail proof and always is in demand and gets attention. It would be very hard to fail with this plant. It does like strong light and can lose its distinctive raised dots if grown in dense shade. It has to be pretty dark for that to happen though. It is a great foliage plant and conversation piece whether it blooms or not. The flowers are huge when it does bloom and are the color of lubbersi.

50. Lori Thompson has fairly ordinay spotted leaves but the flowers are dark red boys and dark red girls with bright green ovaries that last a long time. Cold and water sensitive but easy to grow under reasonable conditions. Slightly mildew prone in winter.

51. Lothlorien has very cut crisp green leaves, branches well and grows easily. Makes a beautiful plant even out of bloom. It is a fool proof plant as far as growing and is indestructable. Good light will reward you will good bloom. Plant makes a tall upright but grows symetrical on its own given the space.

52. Low Hangers refers to the blooms which hang down 12 inches or so usually. The plant itself never gets more than a foot high if that so it makes a perfect basket with its large clusters of flowers hanging well below the pot.

53. Madam Coulat is new and should be around in the next year or so. It is a true miniature and has never grown more than six inches tall or eight inches across. Even a plant in the ground is only 5 inches tall. It is a very strong bloomer and easy to grow even if it is small. The flowers are an intense fiery orange/red color. It is sensitive to overwatering and doesn’t like water sitting on the leaves. Is not a big leaf dropper even in winter unless kept too wet.

54. Margaret Thompson is probably one of the fullest begonias that exists. It may require spring pruning but doesn’t need pinching. Blooms best in good light where it is a strong bloomer. Can be grown as a basket or upright. A well grown plant can easily become one of your top ten favorites.

55. Maria Holmes grows so compact and blooms so much that I can hardly get cuttings off of it. It has large dark bronze leaves, grows full and has large tight clusters of flowers in balls above the foliage. The boy flowers are slightly unusual with little petals in the center like a star.

56. Mary Sakamoto is one of my showiest plants. It can get large leaves up to 14 inches or more but usually has about 8 inch leaves that are velvety looking with pale spots. The flowers are in large clusters and are an unusual red/orange color. Everblooming at every node.

57. Mary's Surprise is one of my favorites. The bright green cut leaves are very lush looking and it is probably the fullest best branching cane available. It never gets more than a foot and half tall but will get very big around. It get totally covered with large clusters of bright pink flowers that are honey suckle scented (that's the surprise part, Mary Sakamoto test grew it for me and it bloomed for her first). It is an exceptional plant and one of the easiest of all to grow.

58. Meredith Grenier (pronounced GREN-YAE) is new and is one of the most unusual. It has bat winged shaped black leaves and is totally covered with pink/lavender spots. Compact grower with nice pink flowers. Water sensitive.

59. Merwin Amerman is a very full vigorous grower. Grows fast and tall and has huge clusters of flowers. The boy flowers are dark pink and each petal has a white eye on the back. Requires staking as a general rule. Blooms best in strong light.

60. Miss Kitty is a very easy and showy upright plant. It doesn’t drop leaves and just gets fuller and curlier as time goes on. It is a shy bloomer but it is so unusual and easy to grow that the foliage is really all that’s necessary.

61. Naugahyde has extremely thick leathery leaves and red flowers held above the foliage. Slightly heat sensitive and the leaves can melt during heat spells but does like strong light to bloom.

62. Norma Pfrunder has the darkest red flowers and reddish black leaves and grows very compact. Cold and water sensitive and slight mildew prone but still worth the effort.

63. Patriot Games is a perfect plant and has no faults that I’ve discovered. You cannot fail with this plant. It will grow full and bloom no matter what you try to do to it. Plus it is very striking and compact. This one is on my own top 10 list of my own canes.

64. Pharoah is one of the Egyptian series but it doesn't have a spiral. It grows very full and is one of the easiest rhizomatous and makes a showy full plant. (would like to locate)

65. Pink Chardonay (and no I don't know if that's how you spell Chardonay) has very different flowers and dark almost black spotted leaves. The girl flowers are semi-double and have 7 to 10 petals each instead of the usual 5 and the ovaries have 4 wings instead of 3. Rose scented.

66. Pink Tafetta is one of my favorites also. It has the blackest leaf of any cane begonia, grows full and compact, doesn't get mildew, has beautiful silver specks, and has contrasting light pink flowers that have a darker pink edge. The flowers almost have a lavender cast in the right light. Very exceptional plant and has no faults.

67. Pintura is a true miniature and doesn't get over 6 inch tall. It grows very full and easily and has lots of white spots and a white edge on a bronzey dark green leaf. The flowers are dark pink held above the foliage. Cold sensitive.

68. Proud Mary is deffinately one of my favorites especially of my later crosses. It could be a top 10 if I had a top 10. The leaves are very large with large silver splashes but the plant is full and compact growing. The flowers are very large and bright pink. Extremely easy growing and eyecatching. Somewhat cold sensitive.

69. Purity is a show stopper and the only true white superba that I know of. It is easy to grow and compact and makes a great basket or upright. Blooms very well and the flowers don’t blush in good light like some white flowered begonias. It does resent overpotting and overwatering and will let you know immediately if you do by dropping leaves and even stems and flowers in extreme cases. Responds well under reasonable conditions so I don’t want to scare you off but did want you to know wha to expect if you don’t watch the water.

70. Queen of Hearts was mentioned earlier but I did want to add how clean looking it is with its dark olive/bronze leaves. The flowers are held above the foliage in tight balls like a hydrangea and each petal is a different shade of pink or white. Very sweet scented iris or honeysuckle smelling flowers.

71. Raspberries for Ronnie is an awesome plant and if you just want one giant plant to impress people with, this one is it. It’s leaves can get larger than Dumbo if you familiar with that plant but is ten times easier to grow. It grows tall and should be staked or might break once the huge flowers come out. The flower cluster is larger than Jumbo Jet. It’s easy to grow but when it’s small make sure not to overpot or overwater. Once it takes off it will be indestructable. I have gone from a 3 inch plant to an 8 inch pot in one growing season and 3 feet tall. You can’t walk by this plant without noticing it, it refuses to be ingnored. It was only released late last year so isn’t in wide circulation but will be.

73. Shalimar stays very compact. Very scented with a honey suckle scent. Makes a good basket, don’t overpot. Slightly mildew prone in winter. Would like to locate this plant.

74. Sharon Seelert is an exceptional plant, another one of those top 10's. It is similiar to its parent Amelia, but is more vigorous, has black leaves with the same spots instead of the green leaves of Amelia and flower clusters which are 2 to 3 times as large as Amelia. Also it is not as mildew prone as Amelia is, and I've never seen mildew on it. Makes a good basket. (yes Paul I still like Amelia)

75. Sir Sterling is another top 10 and is mostly silver with wide green veins. It branches well, grows full and upright, and has beautiful large clusters of pink flowers. Very eye catching at any size. Pouts in winter.

76. Sophie's Choice has some similarity to its parent Sophie Cecile but is much freer blooming and the leaves are darker and more shatoiant (shatoiant means that it has a velvety sheen to the leaf) but it grows as big and as full except the leaves get larger and it is taller growing than most begonias. The leaves however can get 14 inches long. It has to be pruned hard in spring if you want it to stay full. It will grow from a hard pruning to 4 feet or more tall in a season.

77. Sweet Shirley and Sweet Elda are both scented and are easy, easy to grow. They can be full uprights or baskets. The scent is sweet and strong

78. Tom Hawkins and Treasure Island are both an unusual shade of dark olive. Tom Hawkins has spots. Both have red orange flowers. The flowers are unusual in that the bracks around the flowers are enlarged and cover the girl flowers like a hood. Treasure Island can have 50 flowers in a cluster and is everblooming. Needs pinching in spring to branch and grow full.

79. Vivian Hill is a very compact full plant with black pointed leaves and dark red flowers. Very showy and easy to grow. Sensitive to overpotting, makes a good basket. Strong bloomer, rose scented.

80. Wild Irish Rose is another one of my favorites. The glossy green leaves are very long and pointed. It branches very well, makes a perfect basket, never gets mildew, doesn't drop leaves, and grows very full. The flowers are exceptional, and are almost white with a salmony/rose blush on the edges. The flowers come out above the foliage and then spread out like a spiders web over the leaves. Eyecatching and an easy plant to grow even indoors.

81. Wild Oranges is very orange, full, compact and easy to grow. Is a perfect basket and in fact will refuse to grow upright as it is naturally trailing. Doesn’t like being moved too much once has adjusted to a location. It won’t kill it to move it but the leaves can get brown edges from a drastic move into stonger or weaker light. Nearly everblooming. It is also rose scented.

82. Wonderful, it is. Wonderful gets very big, long serrated leaves that are bright green with white spots. The flowers are large, dark pink (almost red) with wavy petals in large clusters. It is very strongly rose scented.


Now just because I didn't comment further on a variety doesn't mean I don't like that variety but just that I didn't have anything to say about it that wasn't said in the description. If I didn't like it, it didn't get a name or get included in this list at all. Also some are very new and I don't remember everything about them yet. Quite a few of my cane hybrids are scented but I didn't list that for all of them, only the ones I could remember for sure.  I have hundreds of hybrids that aren't listed yet but will be added soon.


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