Design

Think You Can Identify This Plant? No. 45 – October 2008

If you know the genus and species of this month’s mystery plant, you could win a free one-year subscription to Fine Gardening . Send your entry, along with your complete mailing address, by October 31, 2008 to [email protected] . The winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries.

Photo/Illustration: Jennifer Benner

Last month’s mystery plant was Begonia grandis (syn. Begonia grandis ssp. evansiana), otherwise known as the hardy begonia. This tropicalesque tuberous begonia is hardy to an astounding USDA Hardiness Zone 6, while similar-looking begonias are only hardy to Zone 10, at best. It’s succulent texture and pendant clusters of pink blooms in summer add a distinctive texture and flavor to the shade. Hardy begonia prefers partial shade and well-drained soil and grows to 24 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Beth Williamson of Raleigh, North Carolina, was chosen at random from all correct entries to receive a free one-year subscription to Fine Gardening. Congratulations, Beth!

What eLetter subscribers have to say about Begonia grandis:

“What a beauty!”
-Pat Hill, Columbia South Carolina

“It’s one of my favorite plants. I even cut it and bring it in the house.”
-Janice Gates, Virginia Beach, Virginia

“I have had Begonia grandis for about 10 years, reliably hardy in northern Zone 5 in a sheltered location.”
-Nancy E. Hendrikson, Oberlin, Ohio

“It is a charming shade plant that I have been growing for years. Though it hasn’t been hardy for me, it does self sow, so I always seem to have it.”
-Ethel Fried, West Hartford, Connecticut

“I first saw it at a friend’s house, growing prolifically as a ground cover (over most of the yard)!”
-Susan Palmer, Wilmington, Delaware

“I love it… as do the neighborhood deer!”
-Carol Hall, Rockville, Maryland

“It’s all over the place in my garden!”
-Barbara Swell, Asheville, North Carolina

“I grow this plant and have for the past 10 years here in Northeast Mississippi. Thanks for picking one that I know.”
-Mona Lisa White, Guntown, Mississippi

“I have a large clump of them in my backyard under some dogwoods, and they are thriving.”
-Janet Minnix, Roanoke, Virginia

“Thanks for making me go investigate. I never knew there were hardy begonias!”
-Cathy Chaparro, Monroeville, Pennsylvania

“I love this plant and have it all over my yard, even places where I didn’t plant it!”
-Cindy Affolder, Suwanee, Georgia

“I am currently trying out this allegedly hardy plant for the second time; wish me luck.”
-Margaret Eyring, Carmel, New York

“Wish I could grow it, but outside my zone!”
-Donna Gisch, Farmington, Minnesota

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