Begonias All Around
There are countless qualities that make begonias popular indoor and outdoor plants. They have a long bloom time. There is a wide range of flower types and colors, as well as leaf shapes, sizes and colors. They come in a variety of growth habits, making them suitable for planting in the ground, patio containers, and hanging planters. And, they grow well in just about any environment.
Begonias are perennials in warm climates, but they can be perennial plants in cold climates if overwintered indoors. They acclimate to fluorescent lighting or low natural indoor sunlight in the fall after a summer season outdoors, and they require no special treatment to provide a long season of profuse flowers when returned to the outdoors after the last frost in late spring. Just be sure to introduce them back outside gradually, so they don’t get shocked by brighter sunlight and harsher temps.
Several varieties of begonias are ideal for hanging planters. Water according to how much direct sunlight (and heat) the pots will be exposed to. Start with a soilless potting mix, as begonias do best in well-draining mediums. They also prefer to have their roots somewhat bound, so don’t use a pot much bigger than the initial root ball. And don’t transplant your mature plants until the roots have truly outgrown their container.
Begonias will thrive with standard houseplant fertilizer. Most begonia aficionados prefer liquid fertilizer, diluted and added with every watering. Dry fertilizers can also be used, mixed into the plant water.
Before choosing varieties of begonias, consider the growth habit, the look of the leaves, and the bloom color, so you have blooming plants that complement your space and will adapt well to your selected site and containers. Even when not in bloom, begonias make a beautiful houseplant, with leaves ranging from velvety to leathery to shiny, and in colors from light green to dark green to purple to variegated patterns.
Keep your begonias on the drier side, rather than evenly moist. Allow your begonia plants to dry out completely, then water thoroughly until the water drains out of the planter and doesn’t saturate the potting mix at the bottom of the pot.
Most varieties of begonias will thrive in conditions of full sun or partial shade. As your patio containers or hanging planters grow, keep pinching off dying leaves and dead flower heads. Begonias are dense plants but they will become leggy if dead parts aren’t removed. Otherwise, they need very little attention to become lush, colorful additions to any environment. And their flowers are bright, cheerful and long-lasting. Best of all, begonias are readily available and very affordable.