Shade Container Fail: Rex Begonias - August 2021

Sharing a note about Rex Begonias here in my garden diary.  I bought a few different cultivars of them and really LOVE them.  Unfortunately, they all failed.  For different reasons.  But, they all failed.  I want to try them again next year, but have learned a few lessons. 

First, a little bit of learning about Rex Begonias.  I put them in containers on our front porch and back patio.  They're on this list from Garden Design of good shade plants for containers.  And, I think they are "good".  They are knock-outs looks-wise. But, they're not easy to care for (imho).  

First, let's talk about the back patio failure.  I had these lovely pink/peach begonias in the white container on the stairs.  

Earlier this year, we had a hard cycle of first drought, then an extended period (around the 4th of July) of rain.  It turns out, this container had a plug in the bottom of it.  It *has* a whole, but we were using it as a sort-of display container last year with a nursery container inside if for our front porch fern.  In that case, the PLUG made perfect sense.  But, when I moved this out back this year, I planted this lovely, large Rex Begonia in it and never bothered to check the plug.  Welp, I drowned this Rex Begonia.  It rotted out right at the soil level.  I noticed that this container wasn't draining, so I stuck a stick underneath it, hoping it would let some of the water out.  Days went on.  No change.  So, I lifted it up and discovered the plastic plug.  D'oh.

From Fine Gardening, they talk about watering here.

Soggy conditions, indeed.

Let's call this:  I drowned it. 

I also planted a couple of other Rex Begonias in our front porch container that you see below.  What you don't see in the photo are either of the medium-sized begonias that I tucked in here.  Why?  I'm not sure.  Maybe they were crowded out?  Maybe I drowned them, too?  

I posted the details of this container a week or so ago here on the blog.  In that post, I included a photo (that I'm duplicating below) that shows off some of these Rex Begonias:

These are - four weeks later - nowhere to be seen in the planter.  

Knowing what I now now (and understanding that these things appear to want to be a little more DRY than a little more wet), I'm thinking that planting them as a monoculture might be the right way to go for us.  A couple of large, Rex Begonias in a container by themselves where I can control the water and not let them get too soggy and rot-out.  I've posted about monocultures before here and seems like something I want to continue to learn about and experiment with in our containers. 

Before I go, I'm thinking that this is the first of a new series that I'd like to track over time here on the blog:  Gardening Lessons Learned.  I have a bunch of posts from the past that I know I can add that [Gardening Lessons Learned] tag to, but I'll start to track them over time going forward.


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