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Begonia Basics

 

Enjoy begonias all year long indoors or plant them outside for a colorful summer vista

The many begonia varieties make it hard to choose among them, but you can have both indoor flowering types as well as outside foliage. They do not like cold weather and are ideally suited to the warmest parts of the world. However, begonias are a popular indoor plant that will be beautiful all year long.

Begonias can be treated as an annual. You can also dig up the tuber and let it overwinter, which is recommended in any colder climate.

One of the begonia's best traits is it loves shade, but can tolerate a little morning sun. They prefer good air circulation but no strong breezes. Plant them against a house wall or along a fencerow. As a hanging plant, they're an easy decorating addition to a patio or deck.

Among the foliage begonias, you'll also find evergreen varieties. These will retain their leaves all year long and can be found as trailing (shrimp begonia), bush (wax begonia), and cane.

Foliage begonias produce blooms from winter to late in spring. Leaves are their prime attraction for their range of textures, sizes, and patterns. Rex hybrids are the most popular of all foliage begonias.

Cane-stemmed begonias can grow quite tall and most require some triming back. Stake the bamboo-style stems and you'll see some amazing blooms on these easy-to-grow plants.

House, or flowering, begonias, need a bright place in the home. These can always be moved outdoors during summer, but need a shaded spot. Check soil frequently and water when the top is dry. Pinch back leggy stalks to achieve desired shape and then stop to let the plant bloom.

When buying begonias for container planting, you'll need to know what size you're getting, so you can pot accordingly. They will thrive in most any good potting soil and the pot should have good drainage. If it's a tuber plant, waterlogging will cause rotting.

Tuberous begonias produce amazing flowers that will bloom at different times of the year depending on species. Elatior hybrids flower year-round, while Christmas begonias will have blooms from fall to spring. These are usually not overwintered, but if you want, cut back and wait for new shoots for fresh starter plants.

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