Facts About Begonias and how to Grow Them

Begonias are tender perennials that will flower in UK summer time. They come in a variety of colours, mainly pinks and reds as well as some yellows, giving them a beautiful traditional appearance. Begonia bulbs can be grown out of doors, in containers and hanging baskets as well as in borders – different varieties lend themselves well to different growing locations. Begonias might also be grown as ornamental house plants in colder climates, though if they are planted at the right time of year, they can grow very well in the UK.

Begonias aren’t too difficult to grow, but they do sometimes need quite specific growing situations. The main things they will lack in the UK climate are heat and light – generally, they prefer to be grown in a more humid climate. However, most of the issues can be overcome and growing begonia bulbs can prove successful for your garden. Your bulbs will begin growing and you’ll have beautiful, large, colourful begonia blooms in just a matter of weeks.

Planting begonias – what do you need to know?

The type of begonia you have will depend on where it is grown: a tuberous begonia will be suited to containers and hanging baskets. Fibrous rooted begonias are more successfully grown in the ground. You can start planting begonia bulbs around April or May, once the weather begins to warm up. Use  moist, sandy potting compost. They shouldn’t be planted outside until there is no danger of frost forming overnight.

Choose a sunny spot for begonias, or one that has some shade. Either will be fine. You should plant the tubers about 2.5 cm deep into the soil, and about 2cm away from each other. You should keep the soil moist once the begonias have started to flower – try not to get the foliage wet. The begonia stems will be delicate when the flowers are growing, so they need to be protected from pests such as snails and slugs. Once they are bigger, it will be easy to propagate your begonias and you can do this whilst dormant, or when shoots are still new and small.

Some facts about begonias

These are some of the things you might not know about begonias:

  • Plants have separate male and female flowers. The male flowers tend to be more eye-catching and dramatic, growing larger than their female counterparts.
  • Begonias can grow tall – anything from 8 inches to 2 feet is common. The height of the begonias you plant will depend on the variety you choose.
  • Begonias have very beautiful leaves as well as flowers. They have dense and attractive foliage, which is sometimes a reason for growing them as part of a flower display. The leaves are usually asymmetric and can come in a variety of colours, including grey and bronze as well as green.
  • Some types of begonia can grow double blooms. Others will grow single.
  • The seeds that begonias produce are some of the smallest of any plant or flower. Very little amount of seed is needed to grow a begonia.