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Begonias


by Adam Pasco

Big, blousy and beautiful, either you love begonias or hate them. I'll admit to being torn between the two, loving them in private but being a little embarrassed to admit my affections in public.


Begonia flowerBig, blousy and beautiful, either you love begonias or hate them. I'll admit to being torn between the two, loving them in private but being a little embarrassed to admit my affections in public. Perhaps they appeal to my feminine side, but let's not go there.

The brown tubers look so unpromising when they arrive in the post from mail-order suppliers, but planted with the slightly concave surface upwards you'll soon spot signs of growth as green shoots emerge. Trailing varieties are available, but I like the upright ones with big double blooms packed like petticoats with swirling layers of petals.

The large flowers are quite heavy, so to avoid plants toppling over I always grow begonias in terracotta pots instead of lightweight plastic ones. I carefully slip split canes down the sides of the pot and tie in the thick fleshy stems with soft green string.

Then come the flowers; I usually bring a pot indoors to brighten the kitchen window sill while I'm doing the washing up - it's good to have a distraction.

Last autumn I stopped watering my begonias and left the plants to die down on their own, thinking their tubers could safely overwinter in pots of dry compost. How wrong I was. I've just tipped some out to replant into fresh compost but discovered the tubers being eaten away by vine weevil grubs. None of my begonias has survived. Next autumn I'll remember to empty out the pots, clean up the tubers, and store them in clean dry compost for winter instead.



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Gardeners' World Web User 29/03/2008 at 22:03

I did exactly the same.For 3 yrs i had a lovely yellow and a red begonia,took them out of pots each year.Then i thought i would try leaving them when i went to replant them there was practicaly nothing there.I was really annoyed with myself,so wont be doing that again

Gardeners' World Web User 11/04/2008 at 08:51

Am growing begonias from tubers for the first time this year, would love any advice on how to get the best from them.

Gardeners' World Web User 18/04/2008 at 22:28

I am a novice, but a keen gardener and I too am about to pot some begonia tubers for the first time. Any advice? Also, I have the dreaded Marestail weed shooting up around my garden. Any advice to get rid it it before it takes over?

Gardeners' World Web User 07/07/2008 at 18:08

my dark red begonia planted as tuber in April has beautiful huge flowers but leaves blotchy an pale despite fertilizer granules. Any suggestions?

Gardeners' World Web User 14/09/2008 at 14:13

I have had a wonderful show of Begonias in my garden this year, I would love to be able to store them over the winter. Does anyone have any ideas of how I could do this?

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