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How to grow Begonias
Learn how to grow Begonias with our step by step guide. Begonias have bold and bright flowers and perfectly formed blooms.
With over over 1500 species, Begonias are terrestrial herbs or undershrubs and occur in subtropical and tropical moist climates. These have been widely grown as ornamental container or bedding plants, and popular for their often brightly coloured flowers.
Begonia plants grow well in climates that don't suffer from extremes of summer heat or winter cold, but usually like cool, moist conditions and bright light. They also need shelter from strong winds. Since they don’t like frost, it helps to set them out in containers, hanging baskets or flowerbeds when there’s no risk of frost.
One of the most commonly grown - Tuberous Begonias - grow from a bulb like structure, are very popular and commercially grown in some countries. They require humus-rich soil and moisture to flower well, and can also be grown in a partly shaded place outdoors.
Another variety - Rex Begonias - has small flowers but in abundance. They flourish well in humid conditions and the lack of it will result in dry, crisp leaves with scorched edges.
Depending upon the variety, the flowers are red, pink, white or yellow, and all have a bright yellow centre.
Begonias are easy to grow flowers, as they have very few disease issues. It’s advisable to remove the plant if mildew is spotted, to avoid contamination, or a fungicide may be used to treat it. Most begonias are easily propagated by division or from stem cuttings.
How to plant begonias
1. Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2"-3" to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available. While begonias prefer a slightly moist soil, they wiill not survive in standing water.
2. Site your begonias where they will receive partial shade. The hotter your growing region, the more shade they prefer.
3. Loosen the soil a bit and plant your begonia tubers by just tucking them into the soil without covering them. Plant the tubers 8"-12" apart, with the indented side facing up. This is the side on which leaf sprouts will form.
4. After planting, water your begonias generously, soaking the soil. Roots and sprouts will form in a few weeks, depending on soils and air temperature. (If temperatures are still quite cool in your area, wait until they warm before planting. Or start your tubers indoors in a pot for earlier blooms.)
5. When your begonias flower, feel free to pinch off a few blooms to float in bowls of water for indoor enjoyment. If you want to include foliage, cut sparingly as these leaves are needed to nourish the bulb for next year's show.
6. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. Water as needed. Leaves and stalks may be removed when they yellow. (If you live in an area where your begonias aren't winter hardy, dig the tubers before the first frost, dry for a few days and then store in a cool place in paper bags or cardboard boxes filled with peat moss.)
7. Your begonias will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.
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