This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

April 12, 2013

Begonia in Phoenix, Arizona

I planted this begonia two seasons ago and it's now (April 12th) blooming like crazy. I wish I could take credit for it, but like most things here at The Tropical Paradise, it appears to be a lucky accident. But there it is, so I'll tell what I know.

It's planted in the deepest shade I have here, and it gets a lot of water. I planted another one less than a foot away which has long since disappeared and since they both got the same amount of water, I would imagine that it was the deeper shade for this one that helped it to survive.

I've planted a lot of things here in this tiny corner of The Tropical Paradise, so the soil is deep and rich (you can tell by the number of worms that crawl out when you dig). I amended it with a lot of coffee grounds from Starbucks®, and as you can see, I allow leaves to pile up as a mulch, which eventually rots down. I fertilize with ordinary house plant food spikes from the Dollar Store.

The ferny-looking plant that it's cuddled up to, by the way, is a zamia floridana cycad. It also likes the shade, and unlike most cycads, it likes a generous amount of water. I guess that why they grow so well in Florida that they are considered pests. There they call them "coonties".

This area was hit pretty hard by the freeze last winter, but it didn't bother the begonia at all. And as it's still in a lot of shade, chances are good that it will be fine in the summer. It's a perennial, so I guess that means it lives longer than an annual. I'll let you know how it does.
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