One of our personal favourites, Begonias are synonymous with summer here at Eckards. From instant colourful annuals to the showy Dragon Wing and Bat Wing begonias we love them all. Adding a lush tropical feeling Begonias grow best in a morning sun afternoon shade spot or in light shade. They are more waterwise than summer Impatiens but give as much colour with very little maintenance.
There are so many different Begonias from unusual variegated leaves to even leaves with dots on them. They mostly have a waxy leaf which is why they are so much hardier than many of the other summer colour annuals. In this article we will focus on the flowering Begonias which are so popular.
The top tip to consider: Begonias do need some sunlight, but they don't do well if that sunlight is harsh and direct. The best spot for them is in filtered light under trees or on the patio in shade. Some varieties will handle more sun but it is always recommended that you check with our team.
Begonias don’t like too much fuss once they are established. A well prepared soil with plenty of compost to improve the soil condition as well as the organic fertiliser BioOcean at a rate of a handful per half square meter will get them started of just right. When planting them into a pot use potting soil and a handful of BioRock to get them sorted.
Growing just over a foot high Begonia Semperflorens are an easy way to add swathes of colour to the garden. Planted about 15cm apart they will grow to create a solid block of colour. Available in White, Pink, Red and Rose Pink they cover totally in buds and flowers. To add variation the also are available with green leaves or with a bronze leaf. The characteristic of the leaves is why they are mostly referred to as Wax Begonias. The green leafed variety need light shade and will handle morning sun. The bronze leafed ones don’t like too much shade and although they don’t like full sun they will grow in more sun than their green leafed counterparts. Best treated as a summer annual they get replanted every summer.
Naturally loving a hot summer the Tuberous Begonias are planted as bulbs in early spring and come into flower through the hottest months of the year. The Begonia Elatior as well as the larger flowering variety Begonia Non-Stop do incredibly well locally. Often seen as an indoor colour plant the Begonia Elatior is really best moved outside once the flowers indoors have finished off. We get the Non-Stop Begonias in as ready to go colour pots to plant on the patio or in containers as well as hanging baskets. They don’t like too much water and definitely do better if not fed too much. They die down in winter and return stronger every summer.
The wing group of Begonias are part of the cane begonia family and include one of our most popular the Dragon Wing Begonia which get sprays of pink or red flowers on arching stems up to 40cm high which gives the plant a cascading effect particularly effective in Hanging baskets or wall pots where you can see the flowers from below. Very easy to grow they do need a bit of space. The Batwing Begonias look very similar but are more compact and also available in White as well as the pink or red with slightly smaller green leaves. Best in dappled shade or afternoon shade they can often last a few years if they are in a protected spot through winter.
Begonia Big is referred to as the Bigger Better Begonia because it has all the classic traits of bedding begonias when it comes to flowering and display but with bigger leaves and bigger flowers. Also perfect for containers or in the garden they really put on a show. The individual flowers can be up to 5cm across!