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Today we welcome back Marc Hachadourian from the New York Botanical Garden to the show! You might remember Marc from Episode 50: Maranta, Calathea and Stromanthe 101 where he gave so many amazing tips and tricks for caring for this finicky but beautiful group of plants. Now he is back for an in depth review of the world of Begonias! He gives us the history of these plants and tips and guidelines to keep these gorgeous creatures thriving in our homes. As you’ll learn in the episode, I’ve always been a bit scared of Begonias, but after this episode, I’ve found myself cruising online plant shops for an Angel Wing Begonia… I found a Red Ruby Begonia which I’ve ordered off of amazon and will do an unboxing of when it arrives, but if you have the inside scoop on where I can get an Angel Wing Begonia… let me know on the post for the podcast episode on IG!

Marc Hachadourian is the Director of Glasshouse Horticulture and Senior Curator of Orchids at the New York Botanical Garden. His amazing plant brain, friendly personality and passion for plants is kind of legendary in the plant space and I’m so excited to bring him back for another show. I could seriously talk to Marc all day. And I’m so thankful to the New York Botanical Garden for lending him to us for this episode.

Speaking of the NYBG, they have created an incredible virtual resource for you in this moment of social distancing: the NYBG At Home center. Since the Garden’s gates are temporarily closed, they’ve opened their virtual gates to you! They’ve compiled videos, plant guides, virtual events- like you can take a virtual tour of the Orchid Show or the Magnolias in Bloom and my favorite aspect of the NYBG at Home is their online courses! I just finished Soil Science 101 with them and I’m currently taking Intro to Plant Science with them. Plant Friends… these courses aren’t free, but they are so worth it. I got so much out of my soil science class, I will never pot a plant the same again, and this intro to plant science class is transforming the way I look at my balcony garden and plants. I’m like trying to lecture Billy about monocots vs dicots and plant adaptions and he is looking at me like a crazy person. But if you aren’t interested in getting science-y they also have Botanical Watercolor, Botanical Embroidery and currently have a series called “All About Containers” if you are interested in growing edibles in containers this season. Check everything they have to offer at

In this episode we learn:

  • Marc's love of Begonias
  • The Begonia's  (and other plant) that was featured in American Gothic
  • The wide variety of Begonias available to plant parents
  • Marc's famous Houseplant Hospital and Humidity Hacks
  • General care guidelines for light, soil and watering of Begonias
  • Where Begonias grow in the natural world
  • Troubleshooting answers: how to deal with leggy Begonias and water damage!

General Begonia Care Guidelines

  • Not all Begonia's are created equal! There are over 1800 different species in this huge flowering Plant Family.
  • Several different types: Rex Begonias (known for metallic patterns), Angel Wing Begonia (Begonia Maculata is my favorite!), Rhizomatous Begonias, Tuberous Begonias, Cane Begonias, Shrub Like Begonia,
  • General Light Conditions: Medium Light (many don't enjoy direct bright light)
  • General Watering Conditions: Let Begonias dry out before re-watering- they are very sensitive to overwatering and root rot
  • Use a light, airy potting mix that won't have the roots sitting in water
  • Cryptic Coloration: the designs and spots on leaves are designed to camouflage the leaves or make them look unappetizing to predators.
  • Make sure to fertilize your begonias frequently so they don't become too leggy
  • Pest control: use a magnifying glass to check under the leaves to check for spider mites
  • Tip: to fill our a pot of Begonias, you can take cuttings of the plant, root them in water, and then repot those rooted cuttings with the mother plant to fill out the container!
  • Water damage: be careful when watering your begonias because they are prone to leaf diseases. When you water your Begonias, water the roots under the leaves, don't water the leaves. Use room temperature water (not cold water). Be careful when misting Begonias as well for the same reason. Bottom watering is your friend with Begonias! (That is when you put the Begonia in a bowl of water and let the soil wick up water through the holes in the bottom of the pot).

Three Humidity Hacks to help resessuitate your houseplants!

  • Group your plants together- they will create a microclimate of higher humidity around them which will make them very happy!
  • Try a humidifier
  • The famous Houseplant Hospital! If you have a plant that needs a little TLC: put a plastic bag on top of the plant and bring it down to the bottom of the pot or use a ziploc bag or glass dome- it will make a temporary terrarium/greenhouse condition that will help your plant bounce back. I have personally used this trick and it has REVIVED houseplants that I thought were about to die! It's a great hack!


Mentioned in today's episode:

Maria's favorite soil company, Espoma Organics

Leslie Hallecks book on Propagation: Plant Parenting


Thank you to this week's episode sponsors:

Modern Sprout: for more information on Modern Sprout's amazing *NEW* line of indoor grow lights and adorable and innovative hydroponic grow kits, seed starter kits, seed pops, planty accessories and more visit and use code “15BLOOM” at checkout for 15% off.

Espoma Organics: for responsibly made, fabulous indoor and outdoor organic soils, fertilizers, pest control sprays and more visit to find your local dealer or check out my amazon storefront of my favorite Espoma products here.

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