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Begonias - My Hobby
An Occasional Page by Dave Staines
 AUTUMN


A


B


C


D

A. Back from Baytrees and I've had to return the pot plants to the spaces in the greenhouse where they came from as there's no where else for them to go that's under cover. I would prefer not to put them back with my other plants but leaving them outside would cause me as many problems as returning them to the greenhouse. Naturally they won't fit back as they came out as that would be too easy!!  They will add to the colour in the greenhouse but sadly will have passed their best by the time of the next available show I could enter.  
B. Autumn has arrived and with it those colder temperatures. 
C. With the colder, shorter days now beginning the plants are starting to die back ready for their winter rest.
D.
The leaves should be left on the plant until they turn yellow as the food in them will be transferred by the plant to the tuber where it is stored ready for the following Spring.


E


F


G


H

E. Even this late in the season many plants will show signs of fresh growth in response to having it's growing tip removed earlier in the season and this should be rubbed out to encourage the plant to put it's energy into creating a nice plump tuber.
F.
Human nature being what it is I just can't bring myself to rub this one out as it is a lovely cutting and just crying out to be kept!!  I'll take it as a cutting and try to keep it growing through the Winter.
G.
 A tip for you here. It is a good idea whenever you remove blooms, leaves or stems to make a slanted cut to allow the subsequent flow of liquid to drain away. A flat cut would allow the liquid to puddle on the top of the remaining stump which can cause rot to set in. These two stumps will eventually be ejected by the plant with no problems occurring, so long as you notice when they are ejected!! Regular close inspection of your plants at this time is paramount so that you find these pieces once they have been ejected and before they possibly set up rot lower down the plant.
H.
 Note the decay on the end of the stem on the right and also the decaying stem at the leaf axil. These should be removed along with the stump that is ready for removal from the centre stem, as witness the crack at the base of the stump.


I


J


K


L

I. This stump is being prevented from falling due to it being tied to the stake. It is also a good idea to remove all ties where possible as you check your plants as you won't want decaying stumps held on the plants.
J.
Here I am preaching to you about it being paramount to regularly check your plants and I am ashamed of myself for not noticing this problem sooner as this plant will require major surgery now if I'm going to keep the tuber. This is stem rot in the worst possible place as it is very close to the tuber. I will cut this stem right out and hope that clean flesh is above the top of the tuber. The cut will be made at an angle if possible as explained earlier and a dusting of sulphur powder will be applied to the wound to help dry it and keep out any airborne diseases that may attack the tuber. I shall also remove some of the compost from around the stump to enable me to keep a close eye on it. As there will be no top growth I will not water this plant again. Should any new growth appear it will be rubbed out as soon as I notice it.
K.
 This is mildew which is occasionally found on the plants at this time of year. A proprietary brand of mildew spray should be used on all plants to eradicate it as soon as it is noticed as the spores can overwinter in the greenhouse and will undoubtedly attack your plants in the Spring.
L.
Remember my remarks under "K" in my "Consolidating" article regarding "parents"? Well, here are some of them in flower. The large central flower is the male which produces the pollen and the smaller side blooms are the females that will receive the pollen and produce the seed.

BEGONIAS MY HOBBY  by  DAVE STAINES
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