Eyelashis really a name for a whole group of Begonias with erect white hairs on the margins. These hairs do have an eyelash look and the name is very appropriate. All are valued for their decorative but they also have the bonus of producing clusters of small white or pale pink which bloom during the spring.
‘Tiger Paws’ is a hybrid and was developed in 1977. It has small, brownish leaves which are chequered with yellow paw-like markings. Since its introduction it has shot to prominence and is now one of the most popular Begonias available.
Leaf colouring is very variable and depends on the intensity of the light; very bright light tends to ‘bleach’ the brown part of thebut this does result in heavier flowering. Flowers are white, small and borne in dense clusters at the top of 15— 20cm (6-8in) long stalks in spring.
Propagating Eyelash Begonias is very easy and can be done in several ways.
This method really is fool proof. Take a single leaf with approximately 5cm (2in) of leaf-stalk attached, and plant it in equal parts of moist peat and coarse sand or perlite. Bury the leafstalk for about half its length. This can be done at any time during the spring or summer months. If temperatures are high then it is best to enclose the pot in a ventilated polythene bag or in a. Leaves may be planted singly in small or with several in a small half pot, pan or tray.
After 4-6 weeks several smallwill push up through the . About one month later the leaf and its plantlets can be tipped out of the , separated and then potted up individually. It is best to use just one small plant per pot, otherwise plants become a great tangle later on.
Sections of rhizome can be gently pulled (or cut) from a plant and potted up in the recommended potting mixture in shallow pans or half. Sections of rhizome normally have already attached.
It is also possible to take away the growing tip of the rhizome, again very often with some or manyalready attached. If well rooted, treat like a division and pot up in the recommended potting . If not well rooted, pot in a mixture of moist peat and sand and enclose in a polythene bag or put in a propagator.
Pests And Diseases
Growth is weakened by an attack ofwhich can collect on young growth and on flowerstalks.
Treatment: Rinse off with soapy water or use a spray containing a suitable.
Sickly plant with wet, ‘mushy’ rhizomes covered with grey mould is caused byrot.
Treatment: Correct the amount of water given and ensure that the plant is kept at the correct temperature.
Eyelashis very easy to care for and simplicity itself to . It quickly forms a low-growing clump with striking leaves and will tolerate a wide range of conditions.
- : Move on into a half pot or pan one size larger each spring, or as necessary. A mixture of equal parts soil-based potting compost and coarse peat is the best growing medium.
- Water moderately during spring and summer (the active growth period), always allowing some drying out of the compost between applications. Water sparingly during the winter rest period.
- Feeding: Feed actively growing plants every two weeks with a standard liquid fertilizer. Do not in winter.
BEST GROWTH ENVIRONMENT
- Light: Eyelash Begonia is able to thrive in a wide range of light levels, but is best grown in bright, filtered light. Leaves will pale a little if the light is too bright but the could be more numerous.
- Temperature: Grows best in normal room temperatures — a minimum of 10°C (50°F) is recommended. With lower temperatures be careful when .
- Eyelash Begonia is readily available throughout the year and at most outlets.
- Buy young plants (they will grow quite quickly) with tight growth and no damaged leaves. Beware of plants with limp leafstalks or any decay around the growing points and along the rhizome.
- Replace with young plants every 2 or 3, years as they are more attractive.
Easy to grow, Eyelash Begonia is now one of the most popular Begonias available. It has attractive chequered leaves with masses of small white flowers in spring.