Tuberous Begonia – Begonia tuberhybrida

Tuberous Begonias are excellent for planting in pots and boxes outdoors. Their large rose-like flowers bloom in profusion from June until September.

The modern hybrids and varieties of Tuberous Begonia come in a wide range of colours, with large single or double blooms.

Plants range in size from 30-60cm (12-24in), with a spread of 30-38cm (12— 15in), depending on the hybrid that is cultivated. Both female and male flowers are produced; the single female flowers are small and are usually obscured by the profusion of double male flowers 8— 15cm (3-6in) in diameter.

Varieties

White-flowering plants include the very lovely Begonia x tube rhybrida ‘Diana Wynyard’, which has large double flowers, and ‘Crispa marginata’, with white single flowers that are frilled at the edges and tinged with red.Tuberous Begonia - Begonia tuberhybrida

Choose from ‘Rosanna’ or ‘Rhapsody’ for pink flowers, ‘Midas’ for deep yellow and ‘Jamboree’ for orange and yellow flowers.

Propagation

Tuberous Begonias are easy to propagate by taking cuttings or dividing the tuber in the spring.

Taking cuttings

1 Take stem cuttings in April from new shoots. They should be 8-10cm (3-4in) long, with a healthy growing tip and at least 2 pairs of leaves. Carefully trim the end of the cutting below the last pair of leaves.

2 Remove the lowest pair of leaves and dip the end of the cutting in some hormone rooting powder. Insert in pots of equal parts peat and sharp sand.

3 Water well and cover the pot with a polythene bag in which you have made several small holes. Keep at 18°-21°C (65°-70°F) until the roots are well-established.

4 When the young plants are growing well, transfer to 8cm (3in) pots of growing medium.

Division

1 Divide the tuber in spring when the first new shoots appear. Cut it into 2-3 sections, so that each section has at least one healthy shoot.

2 Plant each section in a pot of peat-based compost.

Plant Problems

A white powdery deposit on the plant is mildew, which is encouraged by humid conditions and dry compost.

Treatment: Spray or dus the plant with sulphur. Improve the growing conditions by watering regularly and generously in spring and summer and by providing adequate ventilation for indoor plants.

Weak growth is caused by aphids, which suck the plant’s sap.

Treatment: Spray the plant with a solution of soapy water and repeat several times.

PLANT CARE

This plant needs some attention, particularly with overwintering and bringing into growth in the spring.

  • Potting: To bring tubers into growth in spring, plant in peat until new shoots appear, then pot on in a light, well-drained peat-based compost. In winter, store dried tubers under a layer of peat.
  • Water generously during the summer. In winter, water stored tubers only very occasionally.
  • Feeding: Feed every 14 days throughout the summer with a standard liquid fertilizer. Stop feeding when the plant has finished flowering.

GROWING CONDITIONS

  • Light: The plant must have good but filtered light. Grow in a position of partial shade.
  • Temperature: Overwinter tubers at 7°C (45°F) and bring into growth again in spring at 18°C (65°F). In summer, the plant will thrive at temperatures around 20°-23°C (68°— 74°F).

When to buy

  • Tuberous Begonias are available as bedding plants in early summer from garden centres and nurseries. Alternatively, buy tubers in March.
  • Choose plants with healthy foliage. Tubers should be plump and firm.
  • Properly cared for and overwintered, Tuberous Begonias will live for many years.

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