The National Begonia Society



Michael Richardson's Diary  2016

National Society Cut bloom Champion 2014

Michael's 2015 Diary


2016 Diary Episode 12 - Hybridising, Final Potting and Growing On

General information to start with
Apart from the multi-purpose compost I have used to prick them out in and pot them up with, my seedlings have had no additional feed apart from a foliar feed using phostrogen.
This may sound daft but I have found that watering a seedling is totally opposite to that of watering a tuber from a “root” point of view. With a “tuber” you are careful with the usage of water until your root system is developed so I thought the same principle would apply to a seedling, but what I found was the opposite.
I thought my seedlings were just standing still then the following happened, I was rushing to water some cuttings one night when I accidently watered a seedling. What I found the next day to my amazement was the change in that one seedling compared to the rest – so I started throwing water at them so to speak and the increased growth rate was quite drastic. You could say this was one of those Eureka moments.

Wednesday 8th June
Today's the day I potted Robert Bryce’s Moira Callan over Nichola Coates crosses up from 3 inch pots into 4 or 5 inch pots as the leaves were big enough. As daft as it sounds what did surprise me was the difference in root structures, all the cuttings looked the same from above ground but differed so much underground. You can see a well rooted example to the picture left. Well depending on how the root structure looked made my decision on whether to pot the others into a 5 inch or a 4 inch pot.

Tuesday 14th June
Today I potted up my Joan Bryce over Tequila Sunrise crosses from 3 inch pots into 5 inch pots. Just as above depending on the root structure made my decision whether to put into a 5 inch or a 4 inch pot. In total 44 seedlings were potted up and 17 were held back to grow a little bigger.

Saturday 25th June -
They are not growing as quick as I thought they would, so I had a word with Robert Bryce before we set off to visit both “Dodgy” Dave Weatherby and Terry Tasker. He stated he was suffering as well and it’s down to the weather we are having. This meant I was not the only one and at least I now had an idea it what was happening.
Robert also said that he might not flower most of his seedlings this year but instead aim for them to produce tubers and flower them next year. 

Thursday 7th July
Today I gave them a feed of Chempak No 3 to try and get them to move.

Thursday 14th July
My seedlings are now starting to move / grow so I have spaced them out a bit to give them some room to “breathe” so to speak.
This meant I had to clear a number of plants out of my propagating greenhouse, that just leaves a number of young cuttings remaining. Once these get a little bigger they will go outside as well. The ones that that were put outside to give my seedlings room were the ones that were badly affected by the sun as you can see by the picture to the right.
When I spaced them out I checked each individual seedling for any of its original “baby” leafs that have fallen, as I did not any to rot back with the potential to cause additional rot on the seedling.
As you can see from the picture to the left a few seedlings are now starting to produce buds. The first 2 buds will be nipped out and I will be looking to flower the third bud.
As you can see by the picture to the right these seedlings are the stragglers, so I am not going to flower them this year, but aim to get them to produce what I can only call a cutting tuber. These then can be flowered and enjoyed next year.

As you can see by the picture to the left you can see that 2 different seedlings are side by side in this pot.
As you can see by the picture to the right I have some pots that have 2 seedlings growing in them. I have put some small seedlings in with bigger ones, just to give them the choice of either survive or not.

Just out of curiosity I uncovered one of the seedlings to see what the base of the stem was looking like and as you can see by the picture to the left a small tuber is starting to develop.


Sunday 31st July
Today I went through all my seedlings and spaced them out again and checked for any leaves that has fallen off, then gave them a feed of Chempak No 3.
Now I do know that some growers have hybridised using Tequila Sunrise and ended up with a lot of deep orange to red flowers.
As you can see by the picture to the left I can defiantly see two distinct colour buds forming on my Joan Bryce over Tequila Sunrise cross.
I have now taken at least 2 buds off a number of seedlings, so I am going to let them flower on the 3rd bud.

How did I keep track of how many buds I had taken off each seedling considering I had over a hundred growing – I used plastic drinking straws and every time I took a bud I cut a piece off the straw and just put it in the top of the pot, then when I had 2 in a pot I  stuck a bamboo barbecue skewer at the back of the pot so I knew not to pull any more buds off – this may sound a long winded way of doing it but at the time it was a quick and easy way for me.

Sunday 6th August
Today I once again went through all my seedlings one by one to check for any leaves that had fallen off and to remove any more buds if required.
From my Joan Bryce over Tequila Sunrise cross I would say about 50% look alright as a small plant. The other 50% are a mixture of slow growing seedlings and those suffering damage from the spell of hot weather we had.
The 30 seedings of Moira Callan over Nichola Coates have had their 2nd buds removed and are now being allowed to flower.

Sunday 21st August -
My Joan Bryce over Tequila Sunrise cross seedlings are starting to move now and so are the stragglers from this cross (see picture to the right).  

Tuesday 23rd August

Now I am being able to see the potential colour of the flower by the developing bud.
The picture to the left shows a developing bud that is red but has the petal shape of Joan Bryce.

The picture to the right has a developing bud that is red but looks to have a wavy edge to the petal. 

The picture to the left show’s a different colour of bud developing hopefully a yellow that I started this journey looking for.


Tuesday 23rd August

As you can see my seedling stragglers are growing a little now, I only want to achieve a cutting tuber under these seedling as they can be flowered next year. 


Until next time….


Michael's 2016 Diary