The tropical rain forests host more than 60% of world’s plant species and it seems to be especially blessed with plants sporting colorful foliage. One poster child is the Rex Begonias that blend a complete spectrum of colors into amazing patterns. Here are some I grow with the majority of them coming from Home Depot as humble 3″ house plants.
This year (2009) I am trying two uncommon Begonias with palmate leaves: Below on the left is Begonia hemsleyana subsp. U404 from Logee’s Greenhouse; the other one is Begonia thiemei from Flora Grubb Nursery in SF.
I bought an U404 online without any idea of the dimension of the plant, and I was a little disappointed to receive a small plant with leaves that were about 2.5″ across, which are puny when compared to the almost one foot span of the leaves on Begonia thiemei. Now after several months of growth, the leaves on U404 are about 6″ across and the silvery pattern on those palmate leaves are sublime. If compatible, I think the patterns of U404 on leaves the size of B. thiemei would make a very desirable hybrid .
For more information, American Begonia Society has a nice website. These following two nurseries also have large listings of many attractive Begonias: