Winter Begonia


The garden centers are filled with all things Christmasy–Poinsettias, Christmas Cactus and  blooming bulbs of all sizes and shapes—- but  much more appealing are the Begonias, and I am easily  drawn  into the winter greenhouse and away from the glitter and tinsel.

It must be the challenge. After all, it’s tough to keep a Begonia going all winter, although surprisingly not that tough. Letting them dry out thoroughly before watering is one very basic requirement, brighter light than they prefer in the summer is another, temperatures  greater than 60, and  higher humidity are also on the bill. And it’s recommended that they not be allowed to get under potted. All things considered, it’s worth a try, especially since they are irresistible.

The leaves are rough edged  and some of them are tattered, even historic looking, and  vary in color from hues of green and a tincture of red to a deep dark purple. Held on red stems, the leaves remind me of elephant skin–and elephant families even, with leaves ranging in size from teeny- tiny to huge and wrinkled. If  only I had a little greenhouse or the perfect enclosed porch with floor to ceiling windows, I would collect more of these enduring species and their heartening relatives.  But, alas,  the closest I will probably ever come to this daydream are the words on this page.


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