Begonia 5°C/41°F

Most of the tuberous begonias are of hybrid origin. They can be purchased either as seed or tubers, the latter producing mature plants much more quickly – and, in theory, the more you pay for seed and tubers, the better the resultant plants ought to be! Seed is very fine and requires to be sown in warm, moist conditions, while the tubers are started into growth in shallow boxes filled with peat in February. The pendulous varieties can be started in the same way, and are among the most spectacular plants to have growing in a hanging basket. Reasonably warm conditions are required in the early stages; when growth is well established, pot the tubers up singly in the soil mix and move them into larger pots as necessary. Cool and lightly shaded locations suit them best. Keep moist and well fed while in active growth, and store tubers in dry conditions in winter after they have naturally died down. Potting on must not be neglected, so as soon as plants have filled their existing pots with roots they should be transferred to slightly larger containers-a suggested mixture is two parts loam-based to one part fresh peat. The large double flowers, resembling a rose and sometimes frilled, range from white through yellow to shades of pink, red and orange. The pendulous varieties are small-flowered but if possible produce these even more abundantly throughout summer.

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