How to prune begonias?

Defy Winter! Bring in Your Begonias!

Q: I planted ‘Dragon Begonias’ this year on the advice of a friend after complaining that NOTHING would flower in my shady yard. I bought a dozen plants mail order, put them in the ground in early spring and by Mother’s day, all but one were thriving. My husband bought me another four plants at a local nursery and I planted them in the same area. It is now near the end of August and my begonias have thrived, providing me with a beautiful bounty of non-stop lovely red blooms that delight me every day. My question is: Can I somehow preserve them for replanting next year? I’ve been asking friends and I’ve gotten as many answers as I have friends. Some say, “no way; when they die, they’re done”. Some say to cut them way back at the end of the season and bring them indoors in pots. Some say to hang them bare root in my basement thru the winter. What do you say??”

    —-Rose in Riverton, New Jersey

A. Well, she certainly asked the right person! Or maybe somebody finally me asked the right question…or…

Anyway, I’ve been personally perennializing my begonias for many years and can say from experience that it is super easy. But before we get into the details, we should mention that there are two distinctly different types of begonias.

Actually, there are 1600. But that’s species; we’re talking about the two main types here. Her “Dragonwing” begonias—a popular line of hybrids with big leaves and very colorful flowers—are an example of the ‘bedding plant’ type, sold as seeds or small plants and meant to be displayed in shady gardens from Spring until Fall, when the first frost kills them—same as other annuals like marigolds and impatiens.

The other type are Tuberous begonias. These fall into the category of ‘ summer blooming bulbs’. Like dahlias, tuberous begonias are sold as big bulbs or rhizomes (the ‘tubers’), and are typically planted in containers, so that you can easily take the root out before the first hard frost and store it indoors for the winter.

Now yes, some of you can just plant it in the ground and mulch it heavily, but only those of you in very warm climates. Tuberous begonias and dahlias are very frost sensitive, and in most (as in ‘almost all’) parts of the country you must bring the ‘roots’ inside over winter.

One way to do this is to just bring the whole pot inside. If you can provide bright enough light (really bright light; more than you’ll get from a so-called ‘sunny windowsill’), they’ll bloom indoors all winter. If you can’t provide that light (either via artificial light or a solarium kind of set-up) put the pot in a cool dry place in the dark and let the bulb go dormant—although most experts would say it’s better to remove the bare roots, pack them in slightly damp perlite and peat moss and store them in a cool dry area, safe from mice.

But we’re not talking about tuberous begonias here! (At least we weren’t planning to.) We’re talking about the so-called ‘annual’ bedding plant begonias—which are actually perennial in frost-free climates. Which in 97.6 of the US means indoors. Pot them up and bring them inside before the nights start dropping into the 40s, and they’ll bloom for you all winter long.

And here’s the best part: Unlike their tuberous cousins, annual begonias don’t require a lot of light. These are shade-loving plants outdoors; so any somewhat-sunny windowsill will keep them alive and flowering—just make sure it’s well insulated so they don’t get too cold at night.

The friend who recommended cutting them back before bringing them in? That’s utter nonsense. I’ve never done it, and some of my ‘annual’ begonias are over a decade old. And hanging them upside down in a garage? Why do that when you can keep them alive, blooming and cheering you up all winter? (“Forget about the ice dams on the roof, honey—look at these begonias!”)

Just assemble a bunch of containers with good drainage holes and fill them with a mixture of compost and good quality potting soil—that means a very lightweight bag of ‘soil-free’ mix with no added chemical plant food (natural, gentle foods like worm castings are fine), water holding crystals or other nonsense.

Do this NOW; don’t wait. Then you can leave the planted containers outside in the shade, water them really well and bring them indoors a week or so later, when they’ll be over any transplant shock and the nights won’t have gotten too cool.

Let me emphasize one super-important point here: People should NOT use garden soil in any containers; potted plants want a combination of compost for nutrition and a nice light soil-free potting mix for good drainage. Of course, you can keep some of your garden soil around the roots when you transplant them—but that’s it. If you fill the containers with outdoor dirt, you’ll have sickly looking plants instead of beautiful indoor color.

I repeat: Buying soil-free mix is NOT an extravagance—in fact, it’s one of the few things I personally buy for my own plants, and I buy fresh bags every season. I would never fill a container with anything but compost and a high-quality potting soil (aka soil-free mix, seed-starting mix, etc.). And I have excellent garden soil. Got it? Good!

OK—so you have your begonias properly contained. Then water them by sitting each container in a sink, bucket, wheelbarrow, trough or bathtub filled with a few inches of water for a half hour. When you lift the containers out to let them drain, note how heavy they feel. Don’t water them again until they feel much lighter. And don’t let water collect in the saucer underneath the pot. Those saucers are only there to protect surfaces under the plant. Water too often or let the plants sit in standing water and you’ll get root rot and fungus gnats.

And don’t rush the season when (you think) it’s time to take them back outside for the summer! April is much too early, and our listener is lucky she didn’t lose her baby begonias to frost—or make them sickly from exposure to frigid nights. As with tomatoes, these tropical plants do best when they don’t go outside until nights are reliably in the 50s.

Begonias are a favorite garden plant and one that we often want to save from year to year. While the bedding wax begonias are relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain, other begonias are worth saving.

Rex Begonia (Begonia Rex-cultorium group) is a huge group of hybrid begonias grown for their incredible leaves, a feast of color, shape and texture. These should be rinsed to wash off pests, flooded to remove excess salts that accumulate in the soil (from fertilizers) and moved indoors before the heat is turned on for the season.

Place them in an area with bright, indirect light and away from drafts. Water when the soil is dry to the touch. Provide humidity by placing the pots in a shallow gravel-lined tray with water to just below the top of the gravel. Feed dilute balanced fertilizer at 4 to 6 week intervals when plant in growing. Rex begonias will not grow in temperatures below about 58 degrees.

Bedding and Cane Begonias (Angel Wing, Dragon Wing) can be saved over the winter but need a lot of light. Though their appearances are quite different, their needs are similar. Prepare the plants as above before bringing them in. Keep the soil slightly moist and feed very lightly during the winter. These plants do not go dormant so do not allow them to dry out.

Rhizomatous Begonias need bright indirect or filtered light. Identify rhizomatous begonias by the stem creeping along the surface of the soil. Again, these plants do not go dormant so they need slightly moist soil and light fertilization during the winter. Many bloom with sprays of pink to white flowers in late winter.

Tuberous Begonias (Begonia x tuberhybrida) go dormant and require a much different treatment than those listed above. They are grown for their beautiful flowers that brighten shady area all summer long. Cut back watering as fall nears and allow the tops of the plants to die back and the soil is dry.

Loosen the soil and remove the tubers, carefully brushing off loose soil. Cut the stems back to about 5 inches and allow the tubers to dry indoors for several days; keep them out of direct sunlight. Remove the stems, roots and any remaining soil.

Store the tubers in peat or vermiculite in a ventilated container or a plastic bag. Ideal conditions are a dark area with temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees. Consider a light dusting of fungicide as tuberous begonias are prone to rots and fungus problems. In early spring, repot the tubers, with the tubers just at the surface of the soil. Place on a bright windowsill, away from drafts and water well. Do not rewater until the tuber shows new growth or the soil dries out. Keep soil slightly moist and feed regularly with a dilute balanced fertilizer.

Hydrangea problems

Q: I have two large hydrangea bushes. I’ve had them for years. This year, only one had one bloom. They never were good bloomers. I see so many plants in the neighborhood with beautiful flowers. What am I doing wrong? I cut them back every fall. Is that wrong? Do they maybe need some fertilizer? I would appreciate a little advice. If not, I am going to pull them out, they are just taking up a lot of space..

—Helen Henning, Bath

A: The two main problems with hydrangea not blooming are bad light and bad pruning. Either will result in few, if any, blooms.

Hydrangeas need light to bloom. While the bushes may look healthy in the shade, they will not bloom. Often, plants once in part shade become deeply shaded as the surrounding trees grow. They grow best with morning sun and afternoon shade. Although lighting requirements vary a bit among hydrangeas, no hydrangea will bloom well, if at all, in deep shade.

If you have a mophead or lace cap hydrangea, if it blooms pink, purple or blue or if it blooms in the spring and early summer; pruning in the fall is a definite concern.

These plants bloom on old wood — growth from the previous year. Pruning any time after July will cut off the blooms for next season. If you need to prune, cut them within a few weeks of the blooms fading. Deer browsing is basically pruning so winter browsing can also result in few or no blooms.

Success with hibiscus

A reader shares this success story:

Dear Sue: I had the same problem — lacy leaves and veins with something eating all the leaf material for two years in a row. I used spinosad in the form of Captain Jack’s Deadbug spray (available at Neighbors in Hellertown and completely organic) starting in early June after the plant had been eaten to shreds, figuring I had nothing to lose. Per instructions, I sprayed the plant to run-off every time I saw a sawfly, sometimes two or three times a week. It took most of June and some of July, but the plant has rebounded. Next summer, I’ll know to get started spraying it just as soon as I see even one sawfly.

Added benefit: I saw that Spinosad could be used on Brussels sprouts. I’ve always had a problem with bugs eating the leaves although I still got sprouts. So I applied the Spinosad to the Brussels sprouts also, following directions of spraying to run-off but applying no more often than once every week for no more than six times. My Brussels sprouts are huge and un-bugged.

That’s one terrific organic product. I heartily recommend it. P.S. It is no help for squash beetles.

—Andrea Wittchen

Sue Kittek is a freelance garden columnist, writer, and lecturer. Send questions to Garden Keeper at [email protected] or mail: Garden Keeper, The Morning Call, P.O. Box 1260, Allentown, PA 18105.

This Week in the Garden

•Prepare plants to move indoors: Rinse, trim, treat problems, flush soil in pots, ease into lower light, provide humidity and air circulation.

•Plant perennials, shrubs and trees. Water regularly as necessary until the ground freezes.

•Overseed, seed and sod lawns.

•Order or buy mulch for winter mulching but do not apply until after the ground freezes.

•Check fall tools; replace or mend as needed. Get fresh fuel for any gas powered equipment.

•Drain containers of standing water, breeding ponds for mosquitoes that may carry West Nile virus.

•Sow seeds that need a cold period for germination, poppies, for example.

•Add asters and mums add to your fall display, either in the garden or as part of a container display. Kale, cabbage, ornamental peppers and pansies are also available now.

•Continue to harvest regularly. Pull out and compost healthy spent plants; discard, bury or burn diseased or infested plants.

•Order bulbs for fall planting. Make sure you have garlic for planting next month.

•Continue to water any newly planted trees or shrubs any week when we receive less than an inch of rain. Stop when the ground is frozen or snow-covered.

BEGONIA

Native to many tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. Begonias are grown for their colorful blooms and textured, multicolored foliage. Outdoors, most grow best in containers in filtered shade. In the ground, they need rich, fast-draining soil; consistent but light feeding; and enough water to keep soil moist but not soggy. Most thrive as indoor plants, in greenhouse, or under a lath. Almost all require at least moderate humidity. (In dry-summer areas or indoors during winter, set pots in saucers filled with wet pebbles.) Most begonias are easy to propagate from leaf, stem, or rhizome cuttings.

Of the many hundreds of species and selections, relatively few are sold widely.

Begonia enthusiasts group or classify the different kinds generally by growth habit, which coincidentally groups them by their care needs.

Cane-type begonias

  • They get their name from their stems, which are tall and woody, with prominent bamboo-like joints.
  • The group includes so-called angel-wing begonias, named for their folded, often spotted or splotched leaves, which resemble wings.

Cane-type begonias have multiple stems, some reaching 5 feet or more under the right conditions. Most bear profuse, large clusters of white, pink, orange, or red flowers from early spring through autumn. Some are everblooming. Among the many available selections are ‘Bubbles’, with spotted foliage and pink flowers with an apple-blossom fragrance; ‘Honeysuckle’, with plain green foliage and fragrant pink flowers; ‘Irene Nuss’, with dark red-and-green leaves and huge, drooping clusters of coral-pink flowers; and ‘Orange Rubra’, with medium green leaves, sometimes spotted with silver, and bright orange flowers.

When roots fill 4 inches pots, plants can be moved to larger containers or planted in the ground. Position plants where they will get plenty of light, some sun, and no wind. They may require staking. Protect them from heavy frosts. Old canes that have grown barren should be pruned to two leaf joints in early spring to stimulate new growth.

Dragon Wing begonias

  • A hybrid between angel-wing (cane-type) and wax begonias.
  • Shiny green leaves form a foliage mass 11 feet high and 1012 inches wide; bright red or pink flowers bloom from spring until frost.
  • Excellent as bedding plants and in containers.
  • Do best with morning sun and light afternoon shade; tend to burn in hot afternoon sun.
  • In shade, plants have a more open habit and bloom less generously.
  • Baby Wing begonias are about the same size but have smaller leaves; white or pink flowers appear earlier than those of Dragon Wing types.

Hardy begonias

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Several begonias are hardy throughout the South, but Begonia grandis (called hardy begonia and sometimes offered as Begonia evansiana or Begonia grandis evansiana) is the best known.
  • It grows from a tuber and reaches 23 feet tall and wide, its branching red stems set with large, smooth, coppery green leaves with red undersides.
  • Pink or white summer flowers are borne in drooping clusters.
  • The plant multiplies readily by bulbils produced in leaf axils; it dies down after a frost.
  • Likes moist, woodsy soil and light shade.
  • Excellent companion for ferns, hostas, and hellebores.
  • The Garden Angel series includes full, upright plants with small pink blooms and silvery, maplelike leaves highlighted in plum and pink shades; hardy to 0F.
  • Herons Pirouette’ features exceptionally large clusters of hot pink flowers.

begonia sinensis has much smaller leaves on a lower-growing plant (to 1 feet

  • tall and wide).
  • It blooms from summer to fall.
  • The species has pink flowers; ‘Shaanxi White’ bears pure white blooms.

begonia sutherlandii is hardy from the Middle South (USDA 7) southward and grows 1 feet

  • tall, with wider spread; its weeping form makes it a good choice for hanging baskets and containers.
  • Tooth-edged bright green leaves have red veins and margins.
  • Clusters of creamy orange to bright tangerine blossoms appear in midsummer.

Hiemalis begonias

  • Usually sold as Rieger begonias.
  • Bushy, compact, to 1012 inches tall and wide.
  • Profuse bloomers and outstanding outdoor or indoor plants.
  • Flowers average about 2 inches across and appear over a long season that includes winter in frost-free areas.
  • On well-grown plants, green leaves and stems are all but invisible beneath a blanket of bloom.
  • Give indoor plants plenty of light in winter.
  • In summer, keep out of hot noonday sun.
  • Water thoroughly when top inch of soil is dry.
  • Don’t mist leaves.
  • Plants may get rangy, an indication of approaching dormancy; if they do, cut stems to 4 inches stubs.

Multiflora begonias

  • Bushy, compact plants grow to 11 feet tall and wide.
  • Abundant summer and fall blooms in carmine, scarlet, orange, yellow, apricot, salmon, and pink.
  • Includes the Nonstop strain.
  • All multifloras are essentially small-flowered, profuse-blooming tuberous begonias; for care, see Tuberous begonias.

Rex begonias

  • With their bold, multicolored leaves, these probably have the most striking foliage of all begonias.
  • They grow 614 inches tall and wide.
  • While many named selections are grown by collectors, easier-to-find unnamed seedling plants are almost as decorative.
  • The leaves grow from a rhizome.

Give rex begonias bright light through a window, and water only when top inch of soil is dry. They also need high humidity (at least 50 percent) to do their best. In dry climates or indoors in winter, provide moisture in the air by misting plants with a spray bottle, placing pots on wet pebbles in a tray, or keeping plants in a greenhouse. When the rhizome grows too far past edge of pot for your taste, either repot into slightly larger container or cut off rhizome end inside pot edge. Old rhizome will branch and grow new leaves. Make rhizome cuttings of the piece you remove and root in mixture of half peat moss, half perlite.

Rhizomatous begonias

  • Like rex begonias, these grow from a rhizome.
  • Although some have handsome flowers, they are grown primarily for foliage, which varies in color and texture among species and selections.
  • The group includes so-called star begonias, named for their leaf shape.
  • Rhizomatous begonias perform well as houseplants.
  • Plant them in wide, shallow pots.
  • Give them bright light through a window, and water only when the top inch or so of soil is dry.
  • They flower from winter through summer, the season varying among specific plants.
  • White to pink flowers appear in clusters on erect stems above the foliage.
  • Rhizomes will grow over edge of pot, eventually forming a ball-shaped plant; if you wish, cut rhizomes back to pot.
  • (For care of rhizomes, see Rex begonias.)

iron cross begonia

begonia masoniana

  • Large puckered leaves; known for chocolate-brown pattern resembling Maltese cross on green background.
  • Flowers are insignificant.

Shrublike begonias

  • This large class is marked by multiple stems that are soft and green rather than bamboo-like as in the cane-type group.
  • Grown for both foliage and flowers.
  • Leaves are very interesting.
  • Some are heavily textured, others grow white or red hairs, and still others develop a soft, feltlike coating.
  • Most begonias in this group grow upright and bushy, but others such as ‘Bonita Shea’ are less erect and make suitable subjects for hanging baskets.
  • Flowers in shades of pink, red, white, and peach can come any time, depending on species or variety.

Outstanding examples include fern-leaf begonia (Begonia foliosa), with inch-long leaves packed tightly on a twiggy plant for a fernlike look. Its long, drooping stems (to 3 feet.) hold small white flowers nearly year-round in mild weather, or red shades. Fuchsia begonia (sold as Begonia fuchsioides or Begonia foliosa miniata) has delicate stems to 2 feet tall, with dangling rose-pink to rose-red flowers that resemble fuchsias. The sturdy, sun- and wind-tolerant ‘Richmondensis’ can reach 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide, with arching red stems and shiny, deep green leaves with red undersides. Its vivid pink-to-crimson or white flowers develop from darker buds nearly year-round.

Care consists of repotting into larger containers as the plants outgrow their pots. Some shrublike begonias can get very largeas tall as 8 feet They require ample moisture, but let soil begin to dry on surface between waterings. Prune to shape; pinch tips to encourage branching.

Trailing or climbing begonias

  • These have stems that trail or climb, depending on how you train them.
  • They are suited to hanging basket culture or planting in the ground where well protected.
  • Growing conditions are similar to those for tuberous begonias, though trailing types are not lifted.
  • Sporadic bloom during warm weather.

Examples include hybrid ‘Potpourri’, with strongly scented deep pink flowers, and one of its parents, Begonia solananthera, with glossy, light green leaves and fragrant white flowers with red centers. Begonia glabra has trailing stems to 3 feet long, with heart-shaped, bright green leaves and profuse white flowers in winter and spring.

Tuberous begonias

  • These magnificent large-flowered hybrids grow from tubers.
  • They range from plants with saucer-size blooms and a few upright stems to multistemmed hanging basket types covered with small flowers.
  • Except for some rare kinds, they bloom in summer and fall, in almost every color except blue.

Strains are sold as hanging or upright. The former bloom more profusely; the latter have larger flowers. Colors are white, red, pink, yellow, and peach; shapes are frilly (carnation), formal double (camellia), and tight-centered (rose). Some flower forms have petal edges in contrasting colors (picotee). Popular strains are Double Trumpet (improved rose form), Prima Donna (improved camellia form), and Hanging Sensation (camellia form). On Top series (camellia form) stands up well to high heat and humidity.

Grow tuberous begonias in filtered shade, such as under lath or in the open with eastern exposure. Tuberous begonias are best in the Upper South and Middle South (USDA 6-7); not suited to areas of extreme heat. In autumn, when leaves begin to yellow and wilt, reduce watering. When stems have fallen off the plants, lift tubers and shake off dirt; then dry tubers in sun for 3 days and store in a cool, dry place, such as a garage, until spring. When little pink growth buds appear, plant the tubers once again. You can also buy tubers from garden centers in spring.

begonia boliviensis, to 1 feet

  • tall and 2 feet wide, with narrow, pointed leaves and orange flowers, is a parent of many hybrids in the tuberous group.
  • Look for ‘Bertini’, with deep orange-red blooms; ‘Bonfire’, with bright orange-red blooms; and ‘Bellfire’, with dark purple leaves and coral blooms.
  • Heat-tolerant, long-lived ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ has rich orange-red flowers.

Wax begonias

  • Dwarf and taller strains are grown in garden beds or containers as annuals; they bloom from spring through fall, producing lots of small (121 inches.) flowers in a white through red range.
  • Foliage can be green, red, bronze, or variegated.
  • In mild climates, plants can over-winter and live for years.
  • They thrive in full sun in the Upper South and Middle South (USDA 6-7); prefer filtered shade elsewhere, but dark-foliaged kinds will take sun if well watered.
  • The popular bronze-leafed Cocktail series, to about 8 inches tall, includes ‘Brandy’ (light pink flowers), ‘Gin’ (rose-pink), ‘Rum’ (pink-edged white), ‘Vodka’ (scarlet), and ‘Whiskey’ (white).
  • Super Olympia series is similar in size and flower-color range, but with green foliage.
  • Party series, to 1 feet tall, is early blooming and heat tolerant; available in green- and bronze-leaf forms.
  • Stara series, 1620 inches tall, tolerates heat and drought; foliage changes from green to deep bronze as the season progresses.

Plants in the Big series (hybrids between wax and angel-wing begonias, sold as Begonia x benariensis) are vigorous, bushy, heavy-blooming plants to 20 inches tall and wide, with flowers up to 212 inches across. Combinations include red flower with green leaf, red with bronze leaf, and rose with bronze leaf. The Whopper series is even larger, to 36 inches tall and wide, with blooms up to 3 inches across. Available in red with green leaf, red with bronze leaf, and rose with green leaf.

Begonia Basics

Helpful tips for successfully growing Begonias

Begonias range in size from 2 inches in height to giants which may grow 12 feet in height. Growing these plants is not difficult, provded one observes their basil requirements.

LIGHT: Begonias need bright light but should be protected from the mid-day sun in some situations. Cane-like, Shrub-like, and Semperflorens begonias in many situations can actually handle stronger light, if acclimatized. Never move a plant from a house directly to full sun; it will burn it.

TEMPERATURE: Begonias grow best between 60 and 75 degrees F. They do enjoy some temperature difference between night and day.

MOISTURE: Water only when the medium begins to dry out. Plants that are overwatered may rot or drop leaves and blossoms.

HUMIDITY: Except for the Mexican hairy Begonias, most Begonias prefer extra humidity in the home. Place a tray filled with pebbles beneath the plants and fill the tray shallowly with water.

FERTILIZER: Give your begonias a mild solution of a complete fertilizer. You can use ¼ strength with every watering, however, if the plants are going into dormancy as some do in the fall, drop the feeding entirely.

PINCHING & PRUNING: Many begonias require regular pinching and pruning to encourage symmetrical growth. Pinching increases the number of shoots and encourages them to branch.

Begonia Categories

Cane-like Begonias
Often called Angel Wing Begonias, members of this group have long, straight, bare, jointed stems with swollen nodes. Flowers of this group hang in clusters with as many as 30 or more blossoms in a single cluster, ranging in colors from white to orange, salmon, pink, and reds. The leaves may be soft or leathery and have pink, red or silver splotches. Keep from drafts.

Shrub-like Begonias
These plants generally produce a number of stems from the ground and branch freely, producing the full appearance of a shrub. One subgroup has bare leaves while the other has hairy leaves.

Thick-stemmed Begonias
This group has thick tapering stems with no discernable joints or nodes. The stems may be brittle or woody.

Semperflorens Begonias
Also called wax-leaf begonias, these are familiar as outdoor bedding plants used frequently for ease of growth and constant bloom. They like partial to full sun, and adequate moisture. Many varieties come in green, bronze, or variegated foliage with white, pink, coral or red flowers. Pinch off the growing tips of young plants at two week intervals, two or three times, to produce always flowering, compact plants. Sometimes they can be grown successfully in the home over the winter, but unless good light is provided, they become spindly and weak.

Rhizomatous Begonias
These are characterized by a large fleshy stem that may grow at or below the soil surface or erect, from which the leaves and flowers arise. Many of the leaf patterns are very beautiful. Winter and early spring are the flowering time for the majority of rhizomatous types. These begonias adapt fairly well to the home environment with adequate (but not excessive) water, humidity and light.

Rex Begonias
Rexes have an infinite variety of leaf shapes and colors, and some of the foliage can be the most brilliant of all plants grown. The majority have a thick rhizome from which the leaves and flowers arise. Like the rhizomatous, rexes require adequate moisture, higher humidity, warmth and moderate light. They will often go dormant in the winter.

Tuberous and Semi-Tuberous Begonias
This group includes the well-known tuberhybrida and hiemalis (Rieger) types, and some interesting semi-tuberous varieties that are small compact plants. The Rieger types require cooler temperatures between 55 degrees F. and 65 degrees F. for continuous growth and flowering.

Trailing Scandent Begonias
Here we find flexible trailing stems from which leaves and flowers arise. They make handsome basket plants and can be used effectively in windows.

Terrarium Begonias
This is not a horticultural category, but the growing of begonias requiring much more humidity is becoming quite popular. These need to be grown in an enclosed container due to their humidity requirements. However, their need for light is much less and they can easily be grown with much less care than those requiring less humidity. It must be kept in mind that begonias in enclosed containers should not be exposed to direct light at all.

Hardy Begonias
A few Begonia varieties are quite hardy. Mulching in winter is recommended. They prefer shade and a very well-drained compost.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *