06 June 2011

Begonias for shady spots

In our garden, by the umbrella topped table, under two shade trees, pots of begonias bloom and bloom and bloom all summer, requiring nothing but regular watering.
Polka dotted Begonia Billy Jean in the center.
Angel Wing Begonias have long, cane-like stems and leaves shaped like the wings of an angel. 

My plants spend the summer outside in pots and then come in for the winter where they grace the plant shelf in the dining area. As the stems elongate, I cut them back and put the cuttings into soil for next summer's pots.

Since I'm always concerned that I'll have enough pots under the trees, I always grow too many starts and friends and family get the extra plants.

Did you know? There are over 1,000 species, mostly in the genus Begonia and 10,000 cultivated begonias.  The major groups include the fibrous-rooted, rhizomatous and tuberous-rooted begonias. 

The American Begonia Society (ABS) was born in 1932 during the economic depression.

Begonia semperflorens or wax begonias are the ones I used to grow as hanging house plants in CA. It's so windy here in OK that I don't try to grow the waxy ones outside at all.

Beef steak and Rex begonias spread by rhizomes.

Tuberous-rooted begonias are those gorgeous plants with rose-like blooms that thrive in cool climates. 

A tutorial on Begonias from Clemson University is here.Can you grow begonias outside where you are? Which ones and how much sun/shade do they take?

2 comments:

Jeana said...

I love begonias and my favorite houseplant is a hydrocotylifolia begonia that I got from a cutting off my great-grandmothers plant. I will have to try bringing my begonias
in for the winter and take cuttings from them. Thanks for the information.

Martha said...

Jeana - Was it the wax begonia?
http://www.plantoftheweek.org/week275.shtml