These have enjoyed renewed interest recently due to the many merits they enjoy as a versatile garden plant.
All things considered, pound for pound the tuberous begonia is a most enjoyable plant to grow.
When potted in March-April, you can expect to have flowers in July, which will last abundantly and continuously until the first frosts of the autumn. This results in at least four months of blooms a year and if looked after properly, they will come back year after year so one purchase will give years of enjoyment in your garden.
Begonias are extremely versatile and can be used in different ways. These strong plants can add colour everywhere, not only in flower beds but in pots and hanging baskets.
There are many shapes and colours of Begonia available from Garden Centres but the double begonia remains the most popular. The large opulent flowers come in many colours and there are even some bi-coloured varieties available such as Bouton de Rose (pink and white).
Many begonia varieties have been developed specifically for use in pots, containers and hanging baskets and these will add summer colour to any patio.
Why not try planting a hanging basket of begonias? Our Giant flowering pendula begonias are perfect for these and will give a huge display of hanging blooms in the summer. Try planting a 30cm diameter hanging basket with 5 Giant pendula begonia tubers – this will be ample to give a spectacular summer display from July onwards. Our “Splendide” varieties are also excellent for hanging baskets (featured image is Splendide Mixed).
Begonias are particularly well suited to growing in pots. Aztec Gold (yellow orange) and Babylon (pink/red) not only give a spectacular show of flowers but also have a cascading habit.
Fimbriata Begonias are particularly suitable for pots and containers. These varieties are available in Orange, Pink, Red, White and Yellow. They produce very strong stems which make the flowers stand tall and proud!
A particularly interesting and popular variety is Firebush (also known as Skaugum-begonia); this is an ancient species improved in recent times. Firebush will develop into a weeping shrub with masses of small red flowers (not unlike lobelia). Again, this variety will make a stunning feature when grown in a pot on the terrace.
A major recent breakthrough has been the development of fragrant begonias. Currently on offer are Aromantics, Odorata Pink Flamingo, Odorata Red Glory and Mothers Day, a white flower with pink blush. Grown on or near the patio, they offer a really sweet fragrance; perfect for sitting out on the patio and enjoying those summer evenings!
Begonias are very easy and reliable to grow. They can be planted outdoors with the hollow part of the tuber uppermost when all danger of frost has passed. Begonias like a rich, moist garden soil and preferably a semi-shaded aspect although they will bloom in full sun. For early flowering, place the tubers close together and level with soil in trays containing damp compost and sand. Try to maintain a temperature of 7 – 16°C. The first leaves will appear after 5 – six weeks. Plant outdoors when all danger of frost has passed. Keep the soil moist and remove faded flowers. At the end of the season, lift the tubers, cut the stems off just above the tubers and store in dry soil at 4 – 10°C. Then start the process again in March the following year and look forward to another summer of vibrant colour!