Often referred to as “annual begonias,” bedding begonias are perennial, but not hardy, plants that need to be brought in over the winter. These are Begonia semperflorens. They are plants that flower for a long time, from spring to autumn, in shades of white, red, or pink! Depending on the variety, the flowering is single or double. They offer a decorative, rounded, shiny foliage, which can be green or purple.
The begonia semperflorens is unfortunately not hardy, so it is often grown as an annual. It should be planted in the spring, in the sun, in light, and draining soil. As for maintenance, we recommend regular watering during the summer, removing wilted flowers, and installing mulch. Begonia semperflorens multiplies by sowing or cutting. You can also bring it indoors for the winter to keep it for several years.
Begonia is perfect for bringing a lot of color into the flowerbeds quickly!
Today, in this article, we are going to learn more about the beautiful begonia, including the following:
* Botanical description
* Where should you plant?
* How to plant in the ground and in a pot?
* Care and maintenance
* Pests and diseases
* Floral association
Begonias are often herbaceous and thick plants. Begonias consist of about 1600 species. Additionally, it is one of the most abundant genera in the plant world. These species hybridize easily with each other as to create countless horticultural varieties. They come from tropical and subtropical regions. Moreover, you can find them in South and Central America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia. Begonias originate in the wet forests.
You can surely appreciate their flowering and their extremely decorative foliage. Since begonias are not hardy, many grow them indoors for beautiful blooms inside.
Begonias have their own botanical family, the Begoniaceae, of which they are almost the only representatives. The begonia forms a compact and dense clump. It is a fast-growing plant. It often grows to around 20 cm in height, but depending on the variety, it can reach between 15 cm and 30-35 cm in height.
Where Should you Plant?
We recommend planting begonias in the sun or half-shade. They like bright places but do not like the scorching sun. It is best to plant them in a place where they should have shade at the hottest hours. However, varieties with dark leaves, purple, or bronze, can tolerate full sun better than those with green leaves.
They prefer slightly acidic or neutral soils rather than calcareous substrates. Plant them in light, airy, well-drained soil that allows water to infiltrate quickly into the ground.
Additionally, they don’t like heavy and clayey soils, which can kill roots. They do not like wet soils, which can cause fungal diseases. You can add some coarse sand or pozzolana to help.
You can grow them in pots or planters and place them on a window sill or balcony. Preferably choose a container that is not too deep or too large, and use it to make colorful compositions.
How to Plant in the Ground and in a Pot?
In the ground:
Keep a distance of 15 to 20 cm between plants.
Place the root ball in a tub filled with water for about 10 minutes.
While it is moistening, prepare the soil by refining the ground and removing weeds.
Dig a planting hole, slightly larger than the root ball.
Take the begonia out of its pot, place it in the planting hole, then put the soil back in place.
After planting, water generously until the plant is well established.
We also advise you to apply a mulch layer at its feet to keep the soil fresh. The begonias will appreciate a supply of fertilizer.
Additionally, you can grow them in pots or planters. The advantage is that you can quickly bring them in for the winter, and thus keep them for several years. Do not hesitate to place other flowering plants beside it to make a beautiful composition.
Care and Maintenance
Begonias can withstand drought. Nevertheless, you should water them regularly, at least in hot weather, as this can favor good flowering. Water the begonias at the base, avoid wetting the foliage, to limit the risk of diseases such as powdery mildew. Beware of excess humidity. The soil must not be wet. Let it dry between two waterings.
We advise you to remove faded flowers, as this can encourage the appearance of new flowers. It is always preferable to install mulch to keep the soil fresh.
Begonias are not hardy. Once the first frosts begin, they can die. You can remove them and replant them the following year. But you can also choose to keep them by bringing them undercover for the winter like dahlias.
Clean the clump by removing faded leaves, place it in a bright, airy spot, and reduce watering. Take it outside in the spring.
Pests and Diseases
In terms of disease, begonia is sensitive to powdery mildew and botrytis. Powdery mildew is characterized by the presence of a white, powdery felting on the leaves. Botrytis causes the plants to “rot” and carry a kind of “gray dust.” Avoid confined spaces, and do not plant your begonias too densely, as air must be able to circulate. When watering, direct the spray towards the ground so as not to wet the foliage. You can apply a treatment by spraying sulphur or horsetail decoction.
Take advantage of the begonias to compose a very colorful bed in summer, combining them with summer-flowering perennials and bulbs! Create a bright bed by planting begonia, especially the red-flowered varieties with other red, orange, or yellow flowers such as crocosmias, gladioli, cannas, freesias, or dahlias.
Begonias offer a generous flowering in the shade that lasts all summer long. Their flowers are impressive with their bright, vivid colors, often pink, red, or white. They are beautiful for their decorative, glossy foliage of green, purple, or bronze. Very popular and easy to grow, they can be placed in a bed, but also in a pot or planters!