Begonia ‘Torsa’

I obtained Begonia ‘Torsa’ in 2020 and I cannot remember from whom. It may have been from Tregrehan Plant Fair but if it was I still don’t know which nursery was selling it. Never mind.

It was kept in a pot through 2020 and over winter into 2021, under glass but with minimal heat. It made a couple of stems in 2020 and in the winter these died back to the soil surface leaving me with a number of pea sized bulbils from the leaf axils and stem bases. I put them into a cell tray, planted like tiny bulbs with their noses just showing and kept them in the glasshouse too. In spring 2021 they came into growth, late and slow, and I potted up the bigger ones before the end of the growing season into 9cm pots. They were kept under glass through the winter then in spring 2022 when they had produced a couple of leaves, they were planted into the garden.

The original plant was potted on into a 5L pot in the spring of 2021 then planted, still in its pot, in the garden. It grew about 60cm tall and flowered late in the year before eventually dying back to the pot surface. The pot was then lifted and overwintered in the glasshouse until spring 2022 when it was planted out properly, without the pot, in much the same place it had spent 2021. As it died down, shedding leaves and sections of stem, bulbils in the leaf axils were dropping to the ground and being retrieved by me. There were a lot; I planted up two 20 cell trays with them then planted a 2L and a 1L pot as well, pushing the bulbils into the surface as before, about 2cm apart.

The two cell trays had clear plastic lids put on them to maintain humidity and in spring 2022 they all grew away vigorously. As they filled the cells with roots, I potted them up into 9cm pots. The bulbils in the pots were very erratic in starting to grow. I didn’t want to remove the early ones as it would disturb the others, so they were left until most of the bulbils had “germinated” and had leaves 2-3cm across. I then carefully separated them out and potted them individually into 9cm pots. It’s not something I will repeat, the roots were very entangled and there were still some bulbils only just starting to grow. In cells they could have been left undisturbed.

Of the 2020 bulbils fifteen plants were planted out from 9cm pots in spring 2022. The smallest plants in the cells were rolled over until spring 2022 and potted into 9cm pots with the 2021 tranche. All the 2021 bulbils have now been potted up and I have 69 x 9cm pots plus a 1L pot with several of the tiniest plants in it. In total then, from one plant in 2020 I now have the original plus 70 babies, in well under 2 years.

What I’m going to do with them all remains an unanswered question at this point.

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