Begonia Care

Are you growing these beautiful flowers, with my help you may start now.

Are you growing begonias? They're a great garden plant, and the genus Begonia has actually hundreds of species, varieties and sub-varieties. Horticulturally, Begonias are divided into four groups.

Fibrous Group: The Fibrous group includes the Begonias often used for bedding purposes, Begonia semperflorens,in single and double types, also B. corallina "Lucerna" and the many hybrids of B. coccinea (rubra). Now some of the fibrous types are of a dwarf habit, while others in favorable locations grow to a height of ten feet or more.

Tuberous Group: This group will include all Begonias which make a true tuber and are dormant in winter, and a few semi-tuberous ones, such as B. dregei, that stay green through the winter.

Rhizomatous Group: This group is characterized by a creeping root stalk from which the leaves and flowers spring. The well-known Beefsteak, or Begonia "Feasti," belongs to this group.

Rex Group: This group is different, as the plants are grown for their beauty and coloring of the foliage. Now Rexes have been crossed with other Begonias, such as the tuberous ones and have given many fine hybrids. The Rexes grow best in moisture and warmth, whereas other Begonias may do well in cool, dry air.

The range of cultivated Begonias is very large as most grow in their native habitat under various climatic conditions and also altitudes. Whey they are grown under the right conditions of climate, moisture, light and correct soil, Begonias respond with luxuriant growth.

You will need to find out from experience which plants will grow well in a given location, or check to see how existing conditions can be adapted to the plants. Really this isn't as difficult as it sounds because thru the American

Begonia so much information has been assembled on growing these plants that you can grow these beautiful flowers as house plants in colder sections or as garden plants outside in warmer climates. Naturally climate changes will vary in each state, some parts don't have frosts, others do, so it will depend on the area where you are going to grow this plants, indoors or outdoors.

Begonias require an acid soil, one that has a low pH value: for example in California oak leaf mold is used as a mulch especially for Rex Begonias. Now some other growers have had very good success with other soil mixtures, some iwth a heavy soil mixed with peat moss, old cow manure and sharp sand makes a good potting soil. Some people prefer a lighter-textured soil, such as a light garden soil mixed with leaf miold with or without manure. Make sure any light garden soil you prepare is friable and porous. Comparing and experimenting is the best way to solve the problem of the correct soil for the best growing conditions in your area and also remember different Begonias require different soil, such as the "Paul Bruant" is one that requires a slightly heavier soil than some of the other fibrous and rhizomatous Begonias.

When planting, be sure to plant carefully and firmly, but not deeper than the division line between stem and root. They send their roots out sideways to the surface. Remember for maximum growth the shallow root system must never dry out so carefully water and mulch. As for feeding, Begonias need some feeding, but it should be done sparingly. Read the labels on the commercial fertilizers and decide to you want to use them as is or do you ant to use the liquid fertilizers, this is a personal decisions. As a rule, I have found that weak solutions applied at weekly intervals are more effective than heavy applications at long intervals. Be sure during the active growing season to add plenty of water, and make sure also that they have good drainage.

If the plants are allowed to stand in water they will sour or foul and the root system will deteriorate so rapidly that the plants will be lost before anything can be done to change them.

Now as to light, most Begonias grow best in slightly shaded positions. If they get to the point that they are leggy and spindly, this means they need more sunlight. Species with thin leaves may be subject to sunburn. Don't forget in really strong ight the plants will need more water than if they are grown in dense shade. Experience will determine the correct light, water and also soil and fertilizer for your area.

Begonias thrive best in about 55 degrees at night to 70 degrees in the daytime.

Most fibrous Begonias are propaged by stem cuttings, preferably tip cuttings, which are planted in wet sand. Rex and many of he rhizomatous Begonias are propagated by leaf cuttings, which root in sand or leaf mold. They may also be propagated by division, or rhizome cuttings.

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