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History of Scentiment Begonias – Fragrant Begonias

August 19 2014 | Posted in News

History of Scentiment Begonias - Fragrant Begonias


History of Scentiment Begonias – Fragrant Begonias

Fragrant tuberous begonias originated from Begonia baumannii. Begonia baumanni was discovered in Bolivia in the late 1800’s and later hybridized in 1938 by Brown Bulb Ranch, now known as our parent company Golden State Bulb Growers. B. Baumanni is the most fragrant begonia species. The first fragrant hybrids were located virtually by crawling on ones knees and smelling each individual bloom through acres of begonia plants. It was a very tedious chore that was straining to the knees and nose. Brown Bulb Ranch’s original scented begonia was called “Fragrance” and only produced single flowers. It eventually fell out of commercial production, only to be found in a few begonia enthusiasts’ gardens and greenhouses.

A reintroduction of the scented tuberous begonia came about in the early 1980’s when begonia hybridizer Howard Siebold approached Golden State to continue his work. For 50 years Siebold bred tuberous begonias for scent as a hobby. He had a passion to see scent return to the magnificent tuberous begonia flowers. Siebold was late in his years and sought a home for his fragrant begonias. Golden State bought the patents for two of Siebold’s scented tuberous begonias, Golden Anniversary and Sweet Dian. Our begonia breeder Andy Snow worked with Howard for years. Siebold would send Andy the seed of  his most promising crosses. Andy would then have Siebold’s breeding stock planted in the Marina begonia fields. They would then go through the crosses in the field once or twice a year, Siebold would stake what he wanted to be harvested for himself and leave the rest to Andy. The plants would then be cloned.  Scented begonia plants are cloned because the fragrance is so elusive.  By the late 1980’s the first introduction of scented begonias were produced for sale to gardeners across the US. Unlike the earlier types, these later hybrids were exceptionally fragrant and had the distinction of having multiple petals on each bloom.

Fragrant Begonias

Today, there are three varieties in our fragrant begonia line, Scentiment Begonias . Pink Blush PP12826 (left), Sunrise PP12808 (middle), and Just Peachy PP12786 (right). All are slightly pendulous and can be planted in hanging baskets or containers.

Want to known more about fragrant begonias? Check out Andy’s blog post on Breeding Scent in Tuberous Begonias.

*The varieties are protected by the patent number shown and may not be propagated. 

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