The Little Begonia That Could

Here's the little begonia that could... that could germinate from a seed that landed in a crack between two bricks in my patio and then bloom.

I haven't had begonias planted anywhere near this spot for two years, so this seed probably lay dormant through two winters, at least, before germinating.

This coleus is following suit in another spot in the patio. It's probably from the seed of a coleus I grew in a container near that spot last year.
I think I'll gently pull this coleus out and pot it up. Coleus is in the mint family, a family of plants known for vigorous growth, so I think it will make it. It will want to grow!

That's right, plants want to grow! No matter how much you've studied about how plants grow or observed plants growing in your own garden, you have to be impressed by their ability to grow under less than ideal conditions.

And as gardeners, sometimes we provide less than ideal conditions, don't we? But we remain optimistic that the plants will grow and hopefully thrive in our gardens. Otherwise, why would we keep gardening season after season, even after a summer like this one with less the ideal conditions?

You should never give up hope when it comes to your plants and their ability to survive.

Would you like more proof on why we should remain hopeful?

These are some caladiums that finally sprouted nearly ten weeks after I planted the tubers.
I had planted out all the other caladiums that did sprout earlier in the spring and then left this tray full of what I thought were tubers that were too dried up to grow and weren't going to sprout even with good soil and regular watering. But for some reason, I kept watering them anyway, and they finally sprouted.

And those two green 'non-caladium' plants? Those are cottonwood tree seedlings. It is a long way from my garden to any cottonwood trees, so those seeds traveled a long way in the wind and air currents to land in these containers, full of fresh dirt to germinate in. What are the odds?

And these containers? These aren't a good example of remaining hopeful that a plant that looks dead might actually survive. These are were my delphinium seedlings and some late germinating violas. Almost as soon as I moved them outside, something ate them all up. I suspect a little green caterpillar that I found on one of them when it was too late. But a few of the seedlings still showed a bit of new green growth trying to re-emerge, so I kept watering them, and watering them, and watering them.

Even I might concede that these seedlings are possibly dead.

Yet, I still watered them again this evening, just in case or perhaps out of habit, I'm not sure. I guess I'm having a hard time letting go and giving up on my delphinium dreams.

Do you have a plant that you keep watering, that you should probably give up on? Maybe we could form a support group and help each other out. "My name is Carol and its been three hours since I watered these dried up seedlings..."


  1. why can't i have stuff like that growing in my cracks????

  2. Ha!!! I always have flats of plants that I am trying to keep alive thru the summer. The perennials I will wait for cooler weather to plant, but tell me why I continue to water the leftover annuals. I think that it's guilt. I never found a spot for them, so I feel sorry for them and just keep watering them until frost gets them. We gardener's are a crazy bunch!

  3. Hi. My name is Robin and I sometimes buy plants that I don't have time to put in the ground. Sometimes I water them for a very long time and then plant them just before they give up and die.

    But plants remain ever hopeful. Nearly always they spring right back to life and thrive.

    As for volunteers, I have impatiens growing in cracks and crevices everywhere from last year. And morning glories that I planted THREE YEARS ago suddenly re-emerged and are flourishing. Okay, yeah. They're flourishing where my cucumbers USED to be. The morning glories ate my cucumbers. But hey, they volunteered to come back, right?

    --Robin (Bumblebee)

  4. Love the begonia and coleus in your patio. I've had all kinds of plants reseed but never coleus. They seem so tender. You must have a tropical micro climate near your home. They are great.

    I've got some small daisy plants that I tried to keep for fall planting and I'm sure they are dead - black foliage is a good indication something's wrong. But I'm not going to toss them just yet. The roots might be "good" yet! People and plants never give up.

  5. Yeah, why is it that plants grow under such adverse conditions yet when we provide them with a near perfect environment, they balk?

    And uh ... yes I'm guilty of that 'never say die' attitude when it comes to things that are clearly ... dead. You just never know... LOL

  6. Wow! That's one persistent little sucker, Carol. I'm glad you shared a photo with us because I probably wouldn't have believed you if you just told us about it.

    I have to agree with Robin as I often buy plants and then the weather changes or life just gets busy and they don't go into the ground for weeks. Sometimes it's even a little too late.

  7. doesn't it just make your heart swell up when you see a little volunteer vigorously comin' along in the strangest place? :)

    no, no flats I'm desperately tryin' to revive...but I am going to get those wizened little caladium tubers out (missed them when I was planting), stuff them in a pot & water them religiously :)

  8. Lovely post, Carol! These little plants-that-could compensate for the ones that arbitrarily die for no other reason than because they can! When people ask me if this plant or that will do well in this site or that, I say that if they really want to try it, do--plants can't read, and it's always worth the try to push the zone or keep watering or plant something in clay that likes good drainage...and if it dies, there's just room for another plant!

  9. Hi again, Carol

    Good post highlighting survival of the fittest!

    During May and now again in August I love to keep out an eye for the self sown seedlings – yes they are always where you least expect them!

    I have some ornamental grasses and they often self seed – I lift the ones I want, pot them up then compost the others. I am particularly pleased that I have recently spotted what looks like a buddleja seedling. This will make you laugh – it is growing beside the parent plant. What is funny here is that this parent plant started there and has been moving around my garden, and had a stay in a pot, for the last two years and is now back where it started!

  10. Could it be that the bricks protected the babies from someone's hoe??! I'm still watering some mint in a pot that has been brown for about two months. I guess I find it hard to believe mint could die. Also...I posted a short Bloom Day post...I'm trying to get out of town and will be gone on Bloom Day but I didn't want to totally miss it!

  11. O.K.; let's see you get that little begonia seedling out and into a pot!

  12. Carol, I keep on watering three pots of Spanish lavender that refuse to bloom. I've done this for two summers in a row. In the fall I'm going to yank them and put mums in those pots so they get some real use!

    I've moved a number of "driveway crack" plants, some successfully, some not. It's worth a try!

  13. Boy you have really tenacious plants. They could give our weeds a good run for the money.

  14. Nice post.

    That geranium is pretty cute.

  15. I have nothing to add to this discussion other than that I FINALLY posted my review of "My Summer in a Garden". Do I get some kind of award for latest book club post?????

  16. Oh, no! Your delphiniums! I was so looking forward to them!

  17. Gina... give it time, you'll be surprised once you start gardening more and seeds scatter everywhere, what will come up.

    Vonlafin... I know what you mean. It's hard to throw "extra" annuals into the compost bin!

    Robin... Welcome. It sounds like you have some "issues" to work through, too!

    Alyssa... the patio is on the north side of the house so I'm not sure it is a tropical microclimate, unless the heat of the bricks there are helping?

    Yes, black leaves are usually not a good sign!

    Kylee... that's right, you just never know sometimes when a plant might spring back to life.

    Stuart... my entire patio is full of sprouts, most of them weeds, but also a lot of sedum and thyme.

    Mrs. G... yes, it does make me feel good to see a little flower like that make a go of it. And good for you to try to revive your caladiums.

    Jodi... I love it... plants can't read. They just don't know any better, they just know survival!

    Shirl... I would guess more than one gardener has moved a plant around the garden, only to end up with it back where it started. Too funny.

    Leslie... Hoe? What ever could you be talking about!?

    Iboy... I should. I don't know why I was only tempted to pull up the coleus.

    LostRoses... What? It's only been two years, give them some time!

    Ki... trust me, there are also a lot of weeds coming up in the patio, more than little begonias

    Mr. Brown Thumb... Thanks! It is cute.

    OldRoses... Your reward for being the last to post for the book club is the link to your review is at the bottom of the list. Post early for the next month and I'll put your review at the top of the list.

    Kathy... Unfortunately, yes, the delphiniums. I watered them again last night.

    Thanks all for the nice comments!
    Carol at May Dreams Gardens


Post a Comment

Comments are to a blog what flowers are to a garden. Sow your thoughts here and may all your comments multiply as blooms in your garden.

Though there is never enough time to respond to each comment individually these days, please know that I do read and love each one and will try to reciprocate on your blog.

By the way, if you are leaving a comment just so you can include a link to your business site, the garden fairies will find it and compost it!