Begonia ‘Don Miller’
As of 12 27-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 1,932 species in the Begonia genus. It is a member of the plant family Begoniaceae with 2 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
I brought this Begonia ‘Frosty’ home from Wagler’s Greenhouse on July 1, 2017. I thought this was a very interesting Begonia with its silver leaves, green veins with a maroon edge.
Sorry to say, but there isn’t a whole lot online about Begonia cultivars except growing information and features from companies selling them. I wish there were more information about who bred them, what species or cultivars were used in their creation etc. According to Dave’s Garden, Begonia ‘Frosty’ was hybridized by Park Seed Company and introduced in 1976. I do know that Wagler’s gets theirs from North Carolina Farms.
On September 8, 2020, I received a message from a man from Proven Winners that said the “actual” name for ‘Frosty’ is ‘Don Miller’. He said the breeder, Naron Stewart, named the plant in Honor of Don Miller. Mr. Stweart crossed an unidentified Begonia species collected from Calcutta, India (called B. U062) with Begonia ‘Torch’ and came up with ‘Don Miller’. He crossed the unidentified plant with several other cultivars and came up with many other amazing cultivars. He said “companies” sell plants with wrong names which, after selling them for many years, the wrong names become the right names… It is always great to hear from people who have a lot of knowledge about the “actual” history of plants. SO, the original ‘Frosty’ was not hybridized by Park Seed…
There isn’t a whole lot online about Begonia cultivars unless you click on page after page of sources for the plants. By the time go through a few pages you get tired of it. The man from Proven Winners also sent me a link to the International Database of the Begoniaceae… Ummm… The Record List includes 19,401 different species and cultivars of Begonias…
Type: Angelwing, cane type.
Zones: USDA Zones 10a-11 (30-40° F).
Size: 12-18” T x 18-24” wide.
Light: Light to part shade.
Soil: Well-draining potting soil.
Water: Average. Water when the top 2” or so is dry to the touch.
Propagation: Stem cuttings and division
Uses: Great for pots.
When you hold the leaves up in the sun, you can see their maroon veins. That is weird because from the top the veins are green. They also feature maroon stems.
I noticed the Begonia ‘Don Miller’ (aka. ‘Frosty’) had a few mealybugs in late September. I removed the bugs and the leaves that had them the worse. A lot of the leaves had already fallen off, perhaps due to the cooler temperatures.
As temperatures started getting cooler, I moved all the potted plants inside for the winter. Most of the cactus and succulents will be moved upstairs while the Begonias and a few other plants will remain in the basement. The Alocasia are on the other side of the basement. Some plants will go dormant while others will just kind of slow down.
All the Begonias made it through the winter in the basement with flying colors. When temperatures warmed up enough, I moved the plants back outside where they usually are for the summer. I had been busy doing this and that and didn’t get photos of the Begonias earlier. I could have cut the Begonias back, but I decided to let them grow as they were. They do need to be re-potted, though.
We had a bad Japanese Beetle infestation, worse than in 2017, so I had to move most of the potted plants to the front porch on July 4. In 2017 they didn’t bother the potted plants, but they started to this year. You can see a few leaves on the Begonia ‘Frosty’ in the photo above that have been chewed on. Well, the plant tables were under a Chinese Elm tree that the beetles were feeding on. Even though the beetle population would drastically reduce within a few days, they changed the light to part shade area to nearly full sun. So, I would have needed to move most of the plants anyway.
I think it is a good idea to re-pot Begonias once a year, especially if you use potting soil with a timed-release fertilizer, preferably in the spring. If you don’t want to re-pot with fresh potting soil, then adding a water-soluble fertilizer to their water off and on is a good idea. After you have had your Begonia for a year or so, remove it from the pot to check to see if it is root-bound. If so, then transferring it to a larger pot may be a good idea.
Begonia ‘Frosty’ is easy to grow and undemanding. Just follow a few basic rules and you will enjoy this plant. I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus, species, or cultivar. If you notice I made an error, please let me know.