Bodacious Begonias for Every Garden
What's not to love about begonias? Brilliant colors, large leaves, ruffly petals, profuse blooms — tuberous begonias are the ideal plant to add some flower power to your partially shady garden areas. If you’re new to begonias and don’t know where to start, just follow these guidelines — you’ll turn into a Begonia Fanatic in no time flat. We promise.
How to Grow Tuberous Begonias
Your tuberous begonias will arrive at your doorstep as brown bowl-like tubers ready to be planted. Here’s what to do with them:
Scout your site. Tuberous begonias love enriched, well-drained soil with partial shade. The hotter your region, the more shade they will prefer. No full sun for these babies!
Loosen the soil and plant your tuber by tucking them into the soil without fully covering them, about 8-12” apart. You’ll notice an indented side to the tuber — this side should be planted “up.”
Water generously to settle the soil around the tuber, and then wait for roots and sprouts to form, usually a couple of weeks. After that, you’ll want to keep the soil damp but never soggy.
Uses for Tuberous Begonias
Your tuberous begonias have so many uses, as long as you give them the sun and water requirements they need (above). Grow them in your garden with other like-minded perennials, showcase them in container plantings, or display them in hanging baskets.
Best Begonias for Hanging Baskets
One of our favorite ways to enjoy begonias is in hanging baskets. Here are our top picks:
- Fiesta (orange)
- Fresh Apricot (ruffled petals - apricot)
- Pink Profusion (bright pink rose-like petals)
- Red Cascade (red trailing type)
- Picotee Mix (pink, orange, multi-colored begonias)
- Princess Picotee (light pink with dark pink edges)
- Salmon Serenade (salmon orange trailing)
- Sunny Day (bright yellow double blooms)
- White Chantilly (ruffled white petals)
- Salsa Mix (trailing red, yellow, and pink begonias)
- Sunkissed Mix (orange, yellow, and picotee mix)
Begonias for Containers & In-Ground Gardens
Begonias with huge blooms and a more upright habit are great for regular containers and in ground gardens. Here are a few of our favorites
- Roseform Salmon
- Picotee Lace Apricot (pinked edges - so unusual!)
- Picotee Sunburst (yellow blooms with red edges - huge flowers!)
- Giant Ruffled Pink (big pink flowers)
- Roseform Yellow (huge yellow flowers)
We have some gorgeous all-begonia collections. You can find those here.
BUT we also have some spectacular mixed plant collections with begonias. If you're looking for easy-peasey garden design, these pre-assembled collections are your ticket! (They're perfect for in-ground gardening or for large containers!)
How to Overwinter Tuberous Begonias
Tuberous begonias are different from “strawberry” or florist’s begonias in that they require winter dormancy to bloom the following year, so you’ll have to do a little bit of digging and storing to keep them for next year. (Resist the urge to bring them inside and enjoy them during the winter. They need a rest.)
No worries, though — it’s quick and easy with a minimum of fuss when you follow these steps:
Reduce watering. In the fall, reduce watering until the top part of the plant has died back and the soil around the tuber is dried. This seems harsh; think of it as tough love.
Dig up & prune. Carefully dig up the tuber from the soil, and prune off any roots, stalks, or foliage that remain. If you allow roots and stalks to stay on the tuber throughout the winter, it will be susceptible to rot.
Store. Spread them out on a screen tray or store them in paper bags with sand, dry peat, or sawdust, then place in a cool, dry, dark area. Your basement or garage is perfect, as long as temps are above freezing.
- Replant in the spring. Bring your tubers out of storage in the spring and place them in a warm area indoors until you see small roots and tops beginning to grow. At this point, you can plant them in pots with well-drained potting soil, or in the ground.
If you don't want to overwinter your begonia tubers, you can always start fresh with new ones the following spring!
- Katie Elzer-Peters