Begonia 'Cachuma' - A great evergreen rhizomatous begonia that grows to 18 inches tall by 2 feet wide with large deeply cleft star shaped green leaves that can measure to 15 inches wide by 1 foot long attached on the long red petioles that with the leaf margins have attractive 3/8-inch-long scale-like red hairs. Though primarily grown for its foliage, the inch and a half wide pale pink flowers on three-foot long stems in late winter and early spring are also very attractive.
Plant in part to full shade in a well-drained and rich amended soil and irrigate regularly to occasionally but allowing soil to dry between watering. Is has proven hardy to at least 30 °F. Begonia 'Cachuma' is a great plant for a large container or in a protected spot in a frost-free garden.
Begonia 'Cachuma' is classified as a giant cleft leaved rhizomatous begonia. It is a hybrid created by Santa Barbara's phenomenal plantsman Rudy Ziesenhenne in 1973, who named and released it in 1975. It is a cross between Begonia carrieae with an unknown pollen parent. The seed parent Begonia carrieae is a species that Thomas MacDougall discovered in Chiapas, Mexico in 1967 and was described by Rudy Ziesenhenne in the May 1976 issue of the The Begonian, the journal of the American Begonia Society and he named in honor of Carrie Karegeannes, who was the Nomenclature Director for the American Begonia Society and later part of the KOLZ Begonia Research Center.
Ziesenhenne named his plants after local Santa Barbara people such as his cultivars Begonia 'Freddie' that he named after his son and Begonia 'Ramirez' that he named for a Santa Barbara gardener. Like Begonia 'Cachuma' that was named for the area's primary reservoir and recreational lake along the Santa Inez River just north of Santa Barbara. The name comes from the local native people, the Chumash, name for the village that would have been located along the south shore of Lake Cachuma where there is now a county park. He also named plants for other locations in or near Santa Barbara, such as his Begonia 'Lotusland' and Begonia 'Cachuma' and Begonia 'Yanonali'. Our thanks go out to the late Mark Bartholomew of HiMark Nursery in Carpinteria, who got us our first plants of this great cultivar.
The information about Begonia 'Cachuma' displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources we consider reliable. We will also relate those observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others and welcome hearing from anyone who has additional information, particularly when they share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.