Tuberous Begonias

 


Article by: Geoff Bryant

If you appreciate plants , How to Grow Cucumbers that have no hesitation in boldly stating their presence with huge, almost artificially perfect flowers, , Planting Roses (Bare Root or Semi Bare Root) then tuberous begonias are for you. While some may find them rather too overstated, downright brazen even, if you like colour, , Mower Safety - Blood On The Blade! and plenty of it, with subtlety an option rather than compulsory, then look no further. Flower , A Smoke Bush Unlike Any Other ing from late spring, , Water Conservation in the Garden - Use a Rain Barrel to Harvest Rainwater as the days exceed 13 hours long, until well into autumn , Lawn Tractors Were Never a Chore when the foliage dies back, these tuberous-rooted perennials , Let The Season Come Alive: Enjoy The Outdoors With Great Patio Furniture For Your Home have been extensively hybridised and refined to the point where the larger-flowered forms are nothing short of spectacular. For those with greenhouses , Your Step By Step Guide To Planting The Perfect Lawn or a very mild winter , Easy Pond and Water Garden Construction climate there are even types that flower , Garden Benches - What They Are well into winter, , Easy Pond and Water Garden Construction if not right through the cooler months.

Description and classification and groups

Begonias are among those convenient plants , Redwood Outdoor Decor: Relax This Season With Furniture You Can Trust where the proper name is also the common name. The genus is found in the tropics and subtropics, particularly in the Americas, and is made up of around 900 species with 130-odd in cultivation, from which many cultivars and hybrids have been developed. These garden , Planting Roses (Bare Root or Semi Bare Root) forms have been divided into 8 main categories. They are:

1. Cane-like, which have narrow, upright stems with conspicuous leaf nodes and evergreen foliage.

2. Shrub-like, which are bushy plants , Garden Benches - What They Are with branching stems.

3. Thick-stemmed, which resemble the cane-like but with much heavier stems that sometimes form a trunk.

4. Semperflorens, which are the fibrous rooted types usually treated as summer-flowering bedding annuals. , 10 Excellent Tips on Successfully Planting Your Trees and or Shrubs

5. Rhizomatous, which may be evergreen or deciduous and which are often grown as much for their foliage as for their flowers. , Starting Seedlings Indoors

6. Rex-cultorum, which are the fancy-leaved Rex begonias that are usually grown as house plants. , Garden Benches - What They Are

7. Tuberous, which have thickened tuberous roots , Small Backyard Mini-Ponds are Low on Maintenance and Easy to Install and which usually die back over winter , Easy Pond and Water Garden Construction or, in the case of the winter-flowering types, which may be dried off at some other time.

8. Trailing Scandent, which are pendulous, ever-blooming plants , Easy Pond and Water Garden Construction often with long internodes and which should not be confused with the trailing tuberous begonias. So group seven it is, yet although quite a few begonia species have tuberous roots, , Forcing Bulbs for Indoor Bloom: Even 'Brownthumbers' Can Do It when we talk of tuberous begonias we're generally referring to the fancy-flowered group of garden-raised plants , Growing and Preserving Cut Flowers known as Begonia × tuberhybrida. Developed mainly from South American species, they first appeared in Europe in 1867, just three years after the introduction of the most influential of the early parent species, Begonia pearcei. Since that time thousands of hybrids have been raised and we now have tuberous begonias in a wide range of sizes and styles of flower , Rose Tending in June and growth habit. There are small- medium- and large-flowered hybrids; they may have single, semi-double or fully rose- or camellia-like double flowers; they may be small and mound-forming, trailing or upright to nearly a metre tall. And while the flowers , Landscape Problems - Things To Look Out For are spectacular, don't ignore the foliage. Because although unlike say the Rex begonias, tuberous begonias are never grown for their foliage alone, their velvety, deep green , Plant A Simple Tea Garden leaves add a rich luxuriance that is the perfect foil to the flowers, , Garden Benches - What They Are which would definitely be diminished without the contrast of the leaves.

Cultivation

So, tuberous begonias are beautiful. , The Flower Garden in August I don't need to tell you that, the pictures speak for themselves, but how do you get the best out of them? Well, as garden , Starting Seedlings Indoors plants they're not for everyone and not for every location, , Planting Bare Root Roses though with careful selection and siting you may be surprised at just how well they grow , Starting Seedlings Indoors outdoors in many parts of New Zealand. Begonias have a preference for cool, moist conditions and a climate , Small Backyard Mini-Ponds are Low on Maintenance and Easy to Install that doesn't suffer from extremes of summer , Planting Roses (Bare Root or Semi Bare Root) heat or winter , When to Plant Vegetaibles cold. They need bright light , How to Choose the Right Bulbs for Your Spring Flower Garden to flower , Water Conservation in the Garden - Use a Rain Barrel to Harvest Rainwater well but should be out of direct sunlight, especially during the heat , Taking Inside Comfort Outside: A Look at Outdoor Patio ers for the Home of the day, and they also need shelter from strong winds or the flowers , Riding Lawn Mowers may brown at the edges and the soft foliage may be torn or bent. Tuberous begonias flower , Greenscapes: Energy Efficient Landscaping best with humus-rich soil, , Ponds plenty of moisture , How to Choose the Right Bulbs for Your Spring Flower Garden and regular feeding. Given those requirements it's not surprising that many gardeners choose to cultivate tuberous begonias indoors, , New Uses For Old Plants as conservatory, , Your Step By Step Guide To Planting The Perfect Lawn shadehouse or cool greenhouse plants. , Mower Safety - Blood On The Blade! However, if you have a bright southerly facing position in your garden , How to Grow Cucumbers or a shaded spot facing north, then begonias will thrive outdoors , Common Landscaping Tools For Every Landscaper too, particularly in areas that don't often experience drought , Common Landscaping Tools For Every Landscaper in summer. , Why Bonsai Beginners Love Baby Jade Strong sun , New Uses For Old Plants and wind, especially hot , How To Build A Garden Bench dry winds, are the main enemies; light , New Uses For Old Plants soil that dries out quickly doesn't help either. But in a lightly shaded, sheltered position with soil , Common Landscaping Tools For Every Landscaper that has been thoroughly prepared with plenty of well-rotted compost , Redwood Outdoor Decor: Relax This Season With Furniture You Can Trust tuberous begonias will flower , The Garden in August from early summer , Forcing Bulbs for Indoor Bloom: Even 'Brownthumbers' Can Do It to the first frosts. And all that you need do is to stake the tall growers to bamboo , Taking Inside Comfort Outside: A Look at Outdoor Patio Heaters for the Home canes (specialist nurseries stock wire frames), remove any spent flowers, , Starting Seedlings Indoors keep the soil , Outdoor Storage Sheds moist and add a little liquid fertiliser every week. If you find that the super-fancy large-flowered forms are simply not tough enough for your garden, , Greenscapes: Energy Efficient Landscaping don't give up. Instead try some of the smaller-flowered hybrids. The little Multiflora types, commonly known as Flamboyant Begonias, are very resilient. Grown as massed bedding , Planting Roses (Bare Root or Semi Bare Root) or in clusters, they're most commonly seen with bright red flowers, , Outdoor Furniture and Glider-Choosing the Right Outdoor Furniture For Your Home which often almost hide the foliage, but also occur in orange and a somewhat weaker yellow-flowered form. Nonstop begonias are crosses between the Multifloras and the larger flowered types. As you'd expect they're of intermediate height and vigour. They flower , Your Step By Step Guide To Planting The Perfect Lawn continuously, even in winter , Forcing Bulbs for Indoor Bloom: Even 'Brownthumbers' Can Do It if kept indoors, , How to Grow Cucumbers and are available in a wide range of colours. , New Uses For Old Plants Nonstops are F1 hybrids so there is no point in saving the seed , The Flower Garden in August and any seedpods should be removed to keep the plants , Starting Seedlings Indoors flowering. Reiger begonias, developed from Begonia × hiemalis, are similar. And if open beds , Wood Sheds don't seem to work, consider growing , Landscape Problems - Things To Look Out For your begonias in pots , 10 Excellent Tips on Successfully Planting Your Trees and or Shrubs so that you can find just the right place , Outdoor Furniture and Glider-Choosing the Right Outdoor Furniture For Your Home for them. The upright types flower , Care Tips for Planting and Growing Orchids Inside Your House and grow , Planting Bare Root Roses well but are rather brittle, necessitating staking. The trailing types, often Begonia boliviensis hybrids, have more flexible, pendulous stems and when grown in hanging baskets they are easy-care plants , Patio Table Covers that make a great show. Trailing begonias usually do best in sphagnum-lined wire baskets rather than solid pots, , Starting Seedlings Indoors their roots , US State Flags appreciating the cool moist sphagnum.

Disbudding and deadheading

Begonias have separate male and female flowers. , Vegetable Garden Ideas Usually one large female flower , Water Conservation in the Garden - Use a Rain Barrel to Harvest Rainwater is subtended by two smaller male flowers. , Plant A Simple Tea Garden Removing the male flowers , Greenscapes: Energy Efficient Landscaping before they mature will allow the showy female flowers , Outdoor Storage Sheds to reach their full size and will also prevent the development of seedpods that could lessen the plant's vigour. Old flowers , Roman Concrete - How They Did It should be removed once past their best. They snap off easily and doing this not only encourages new blooms to form, it also helps prevent fungal diseases , Mower Safety - Blood On The Blade! that could develop among the decaying petals.

Pests and diseases

Begonias are neither particularly susceptible to nor resistant to pests. , Planting Roses (Bare Root or Semi Bare Root) Slugs and snail relish the young shoots and the mature foliage, various caterpillars may chew the foliage, rasping and sap-sucking creatures such as thrips, aphids and mealy bugs may be present, but with a little attention and routine care, pests , Why Bonsai Beginners Love Baby Jade can usually be stopped before they get out of control. More of a problem are fungal diseases, , Mower Safety - Blood On The Blade! especially soft rots, mildew and botrytis. Damaged stems can quickly become soft, watery and rotten and this may lead to the eventual collapse of the plant. , The Flower Garden in August Almost inevitably the foliage will develop mildew in late autumn - it's just part of the winter , Redwood Outdoor Decor: Relax This Season With Furniture You Can Trust die-back process - but mildew can also occur during the growing season. , Benefits of Mulch Good ventilation goes a long way towards controlling the severity of fungal diseases, , Halfway Through Summer - Are We Having Fun Yet keeping the foliage and stems reasonably dry also helps, though spraying with a fungicide will probably be necessary too.

Winter care

As flower , Redwood Outdoor Decor: Relax This Season With Furniture You Can Trust production lessens from mid-autumn, cut back on watering and feeding and allow your begonias to dry off. While the foliage should dry, brown and fall , Easy Pond and Water Garden Construction away without too many problems, do keep an eye open for any fungal diseases , Benefits of Mulch that could spread to the tubers. Once the foliage has dried, the tubers may be lifted or removed from their pots , Planting Roses (Bare Root or Semi Bare Root) for winter , Growing and Preserving Cut Flowers storage. This isn't always necessary in mild winter , Greenscapes: Energy Efficient Landscaping areas, but where hard frosts or prolonged wet conditions are likely it's a good idea. The tubers can be stored in barely moist sawdust or any other fairly dry, inert medium, such as damp, shredded newspaper. Replant them (concave side up) in spring , Plant A Simple Tea Garden as the new shoots appear. Cover the tubers with a few centimetres of soil, , Roman Concrete - How They Did It as they sprout roots , Benefits of Mulch from the tops too. The exceptions to the process are the winter-flowering Begonia × hiemalis hybrids, which result from crossing Begonia × tuberhybrida with Begonia socotrana, a species from an Indian Ocean island off the caost of Yemen. Widely sold as Reiger or "blush" begonias, these plants , With So Many Choices For Patio Furniture, Finding The Perfect Set To Complement Your Yard Is Easy start to flower , Taking Inside Comfort Outside: A Look at Outdoor Patio Heaters for the Home from late summer , Mower Safety - Blood On The Blade! and will remain in leaf and flower , 10 Excellent Tips on Successfully Planting Your Trees and or Shrubs until spring. , US State Flags Obviously these plants, , Landscape Problems - Things To Look Out For which are completely intolerant of frost, need a very mild, benign winter , Riding Lawn Mowers to grow , Outdoor Furniture and Glider-Choosing the Right Outdoor Furniture For Your Home outdoors. However, they are very adaptable to indoor , Growing and Preserving Cut Flowers cultivation and are a great choice for winter-flowering house plants , With So Many Choices For Patio Furniture, Finding The Perfect Set To Complement Your Yard Is Easy that can spend the summer , How to Rid that Lawn of Thatch! outdoors in the garden. , 10 Excellent Tips on Successfully Planting Your Trees and or Shrubs

Propagation

There are several ways to propagate tuberous begonias, the method used varying with they type of plant. , Patio Table Covers

Seed

Sow bought seed , Starting lings Indoors to produce F1 hybrids such as the Nonstops or to get a new crop of vigorous young plants. , Vegetable Garden Ideas Begonia seed , Greenscapes: Energy Efficient Landscaping is very fine, dust-like in fact. It's so fine that it doesn't usually come in seed , Easy Pond and Water Garden Construction packets, where it would be lost in the folds, but in glass , Durable Wooden Swing - Decorate Your Outdoors with One phials that have to be snapped open before sowing. Pelleted seeds , Starting lings Indoors are much easier to handle, thought they are not always readily available. The seed , Greenscapes: Energy Efficient Landscaping needs warmth and light , Outdoor Furniture and Glider-Choosing the Right Outdoor Furniture For Your Home to germinate. It should be sown in spring, , Taking Inside Comfort Outside: A Look at Outdoor Patio Heaters for the Home uncovered, in heated trays. Keep the seed , When to Plant Vegetaibles just moist until it germinates. The young seedlings grow , Vegetable Garden Ideas quickly and are soon large enough to pot. , US State Flags When small they are sensitive to draughts and temperature , Outdoor Storage Sheds fluctuations and should be kept under cover until spring , Halfway Through Summer - Are We Having Fun Yet is well settled into early summer. , Vegetable Garden Ideas Prepare your garden , Vegetable Ideas beds with high-humus compost , Riding Lawn Mowers and organic , Durable Wooden Swing - Decorate Your Outdoors with One fertiliser and because the foliage will be tender, plant , 10 Excellent Tips on Successfully ing Your Trees and or Shrubs out when the weather , Landscape Problems - Things To Look Out For is not too hot , Taking Inside Comfort Outside: A Look at Outdoor Patio Heaters for the Home and sunny.

Division

Mature plants , Taking Inside Comfort Outside: A Look at Outdoor Patio Heaters for the Home have large tubers that divide readily and division is a good way to quickly produce established, sturdy plants. , Benefits of Mulch Divide the tubers in spring , Garden Benches - What They Are when replanting. They slice easily with a sharp knife but because finding the growing , Landscape Problems - Things To Look Out For 'eyes' can be difficult keep your divisions on the large side. To prevent fungal diseases, , Mower Safety - Blood On The Blade! dust the cut surfaces with sulphur powder and allow them to dry before planting.

Cuttings

Most tuberous begonias will grow , Attract Butterflies To Your Garden! from cuttings and this is an especially good method of building , How to Grow Cucumbers up large stocks of the small-flowered Multiflora types for massed bedding. , Rose Tending in June The fresh spring , Small Backyard Mini-Ponds are Low on Maintenance and Easy to Install and early summer , Attract Butterflies To Your Garden! shoots make the best cuttings and will strike very quickly under mild humid conditions. You can continue to take cuttings well into summer , Roman Concrete - How They Did It but unless the new plants , Patio Table Covers can develop reasonably sized tubers before winter , Planting Bare Root Roses they will probably not survive until the following spring. , Planting Bare Root Roses Like many of the house plant , Vegetable Garden Ideas begonias, Begonia × hiemalis is often raised from leaf cuttings. This involves removing a mature leaf, slicing across its veins and pinning the leaf down on moist soil. , Lawn Tractors Were Never a Chore A warm humid environment, , 10 Excellent Tips on Successfully Planting Your Trees and or Shrubs such as an enclosed propagation tray, is essential. Also, you should start in spring , Wood Sheds so that the young plants , 10 Excellent Tips on Successfully ing Your Trees and or Shrubs are well-established before winter. , Care Tips for Planting and Growing Orchids Inside Your House

Begonia displays

Public gardens , Patio Table Covers often use tuberous begonias in their displays and this can one of the best ways to see a wide range of flower , Tick Removal types.
I am a garden , Growing and Preserving Cut Flowers book author and horticultural photographer based in Christchurch, New Zealand. I run a stock photo library called Country, Farm , Plant A Simple Tea Garden and Garden , Planting Bare Root Roses (http://www.cfgphoto.com). This article may be re-published provided this information , Riding Lawn Mowers is published with it and is clearly visible.

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