Choosing and Caring for Beautiful Begonias
Beautiful begonias! It's easy to see why begonias are one of the most renowned plants on the market, with almost 2000 different species for both indoor and outdoor gardens. They are coveted for their profuse double blooms, charming multi-colored flowers, and showy foliage. Follow our guide to caring for begonias in plant containers and gardens outdoors. Yes, despite the harsh California sunshine, begonias can be a vital addition to your outdoor garden. Let's make room for these beauties, styling our summer garden into a floral feast for the eyes.
Varieties of Begonias
With so many varieties, it can be hard to choose what's best for your outdoor aesthetic. In truth, begonias are actually considered tender outdoor perennials, but we often care for them as annuals. Here's a garden begonia breakdown to teach you about each begonia and how to care for them.
Fibrous begonias are ideal for garden beds as they are easy-care and offer a variety of long-blooming floral colors to accent every landscape. Popular in both garden beds and outdoor pots, these begonia beauties all fall under the fibrous category:
- Wax begonias are one of the most familiar and often used with their succulent-like foliage, nearly year-round flowering and durable, easy care. They're usually displayed as garden bed annuals that will delight you in their blooms all season long.
- Cane begonias sit upright with their sturdy growth habit, making them an ideal landscape stunner. These are larger, sturdy and make excellent container subjects.
- Angel-wing begonias come by their name naturally with their delicate wing-shaped leaves. Well-known for their heat tolerance and abundant flowers all summer long.
With a flair for the dramatic, tuberous begonias show off a rather large display of colorful, double flowers. These bright, long-bloomers are a keeper! Because their blooms are so large, they tend to droop, so consider placing them in hanging baskets outdoors. What a display they will put on for passersby! Tuberous varieties are most often treated as annuals, but they can be stored and replanted the following year. Hint: look for the amazing new fragrant varieties that Roger’s Gardens just recently introduced.
While most begonias grow best in part-shade with filtered sunlight, hardy begonias are even more content to brighten that dark spot near a doorway in full shade. While their pink and white blooms are notoriously dainty, they will surely brighten any dark spot hiding in your landscape.
Caring for Outdoor Begonias
Choosing the proper light conditions for begonias is imperative. In general, most tuberous and fibrous-root varieties grow best in part-shade with filtered sun. However, the fibrous-root varieties can usually tolerate a bit more direct sun. Exposure to too much sun can burn begonia flowers and foliage. Then, of course, to make things complicated, too much shade can result in fewer flowers. When it comes to caring for begonias, we have to go with the Goldilocks principle, finding them just the right planting environment for an ideal display of blooms.
Proper watering is also key. Begonias thrive in well-drained yet organically-rich, moist soil. For potting in containers, use a good potting mixture of garden humus, loam, and sand. If planting in outdoor garden beds, make sure your soil is well-drained, as well. Additions of organic materials such as peat moss can help soils that are too sandy. Whether you're growing begonias in pots or planting them in the garden, all will be happiest in consistently moist yet, well-drained soil. Without proper drainage, plants' roots will begin to rot. Always amend your soil with high-quality organic amendments and be sure to apply fertilizer regularly. For fertilizing, we suggest either the water-soluble Sea Grow Flower & Bloom Fertilizer every two weeks or the granular and certified organic Down to Earth Rose and Flower food once a month.