There are many species of begonias that can be grouped into two categories, the annual begonias and the tuberous begonias whose tubers are perennials. Sometimes called hybrids, these are the result of many crosses. It is very interesting to grow several of them to take advantage of their flowers with different shapes, which have a wide range of colors. If the sowing of annual begonias is very difficult to succeed, it is on the contrary easy to obtain excellent results with those bought in buckets and tuberoses are also famous for their ease of cultivation. Let’s take stock of the care to be taken to be able to enjoy a breathtaking and long-lasting flowering.
Whatever begonia we set our sights on, this flowering plant is used in the ground in a bed or a border, and does just as wonders in a planter or in a pot, this method of cultivation being perfect to enhance a terrace. , a window sill or balcony.
Begonias like soils that have received a prior organic manure very good quality. They are plants that give a lot of flowers, so they need nutrients. Regarding theexposure of these plants, it varies according to the varieties, namely:
- Sheltered from cold winds, slightly sunny to half-shaded and warm exposure for annual begonias,
- Very sunny situation for tuberose type multiflora or B. bertini,
- North exposure or in a well shaded area for B. pendula and all varieties of perennial begonias with large or very large flowers.
When buying begonias, people with no gardening experience should seek advice from a vendor who specializes in ornamental garden in order to know precisely under what conditions to grow each variety chosen.
Planting annual begonias in a bucket
It is from the last days of April, even preferably in May that you can plant begonias bought in pots, because at that time the earth has been warmed by the sun and there should be no more frost. It is in any case preferable to guarantee the good recovery of the begonias.
The method is simple since it suffices to moisten the buckets to more easily remove the clods without damaging the roots, then:
- Dig holes with the dibble,
- Drop one foot per hole,
- Cover with a potting soil for begonias or peat, or even a well-drained garden soil to which you can add a little sand,
- Firm enough, taking care not to injure the roots or break the stems,
The floor must imperatively be kept moist thereafter. Vigilance is essential during the summer in case of scorching temperatures, especially if one has opted for a culture in pot or in a planter because the humidity evaporates very quickly. Be careful also with the pots on the south-facing terrace because it can be much hotter than what the weather forecast for the day indicates … If necessary, the begonias in pots and planters can be temporarily placed in a more shaded area. .
Planting tuberous begonias or perennial begonias
You can buy begonia tubers with single, double or semi-double flowers from March in garden centers or at producers’ homes in order to put them in vegetation sheltered from the frosts still possible at this time of the year. The method consists of:
- Place damp peat or a mixture of 2/3 potting soil and 1/3 sand in a box,
- Plant the tubers making sure that the slightly concave side with the eyes is facing upwards; it should not be completely buried,
- Place the box in a warm and bright room or room, for example in front of a window,
- Wait a few weeks before seeing the shoots appear,
- Then plant the bulbs in place provided that any risk of frost is removed by respecting a depth of only 3 cm and an interval between the plants of about 25 cm.
Caring for Begonias
Begonias are easy to care for.
All begonias need a wet ground from planting until the end of the growing season to flower well and withstand summer weather conditions. We must not drown them however because that would only have the effect of making them rot.
They need an intake every 7 to 10 days liquid fertilizer for flower bulbs to be diluted in irrigation water if they are grown in pots. Fertilization once a month should be sufficient for begonias installed in the ground if this has been properly amended with organic fertilizer with the plantation. .
Diseases and parasites
Begonias are susceptible to botrytis that is more commonly called the gray rot whose responsible is the fungus Botritys cinerea. This fungal disease is amply favored by heat associated with humidity. To prevent it, do not plant too tightly packed plants. It is best to space them enough so that air can circulate. It is also important not to wet the leaves of begonias when watering. The employment of a fungicide is necessary, and it is better to act as a preventive measure because gray rot can cause serious damage to the plantations.
Thepowdery mildew is another fungal disease spotted by the white mealy felting that covers stems, leaves and peduncles. We start by removing all the diseased parts of the begonia and then spray the plant with a sulfur product against powdery mildew. Early treatment is necessary, that is to say as soon as the first symptoms appear.
As for the parasite to be feared, this is a beetle, theotiorhynchus. This larval weevil devours the roots and when it is an adult it attacks the foliage. It is therefore necessary to act when the parasite is not yet adult, by resorting to a natural solution. This biological control consists of diluting clay powder containing microscopic worms, nematodes, in water, then sprinkling it on the foot of begonias. Nematodes destroy otiorhync larvae.
In autumn, when the first frosts appear, it is high time to dig up the tubers perennial begonias in order to store them during the winter. We start by taking them out of the earth and placing them inside on cardboard or newspaper to dry in the open air.
Finally, after a few days, remove most of the dry soil that has remained stuck to the bulbs and store them in a frost-free room. They will thus be patient all winter and even during a good part of spring since they will not be replanted in the ground or in pots until the end of April or even May. The risk of frost should no longer be feared. After wintering, tuberous begonias no longer need to be cultured indoors.
We often read that begonia flowers in summer. This does not exactly describe the many varieties listed since some are covered with flowers until the first frosts, others flower even in winter … Each gardener has in any case a sufficient panel of begonias to be able to enjoy a well-flowered outdoor space for much of the year.
It is even possible to add the famous Begonia maculata, only specimen it seems to be considered as a real indoor begonia and which blooms from May until October if placed in light but protected from direct sunlight. Very decorative, what is sometimes called bamboo begonia, spotted or Tamaya is covered with delicate flowers.
Anyway, to benefit from a long flowering period, we delete faded flowers, we keep the soil moist and we make regular fertilizer additions but with a light hand all the same …