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Carlos E. Bogran, H. Brent Pemberton, Thomas Isakeit, and William R. Roberson

A strain of Rhizoctonia solani was isolated from wax begonia (Begonia Semperflorens-Cultorum hybrids) plants in garden evaluation trial plots. This strain was then used to test for disease tolerance in a controlled environment experiment. Inoculated plants of 12 cultivars were evaluated for disease development and the area under the disease progress curve was calculated. No plants were disease free, but `Stara White', `Stara Pink', and three colors from the Party series exhibited greater disease tolerance than `Ambassador Coral', `Ambassador Deep Rose', and two experimental varieties. `Stara White', `Party Pink Bronze Leaf', and `Party White Bronze Leaf' were more tolerant than `Cocktail Vodka', an industry standard. When the same cultivars were grown in field garden evaluation plots, `Cocktail Vodka', four colors from the Stara series, and three colors from the Party series exhibited superior garden performance and flowering ratings to `Ambassador Coral' and an experimental `Rose' cultivar. For most cultivars, garden performance was correlated to disease tolerance. However, `Cocktail Vodka' exhibited good garden performance despite having a high level of disease in the inoculation experiment, indicating that other factors may be involved in determining garden performance.