How To Plant Begonias

Begonias appeal to gardeners because of their ease of maintenance as well as their beautiful appearance. They are annual plants which can reach heights up to fifteen inches at their point of maturity. They also tend to spread out concerning their height and are a great way to add some character to your garden. How can you get started?

Preparations

Without adequate preparations in place, the planting process can quickly go wrong, and it is thus essential that this step comes into play.

The type

When it comes down to what kind of begonia you should plant, you will find two main options: seeds and tubers. Growing a begonia from the seed stage can be very tricky as it tends to take an extended period and the results are often smaller than what one would achieve when using tubers. Tubers too are difficult to grow. However, they come with the benefit of being much sturdier and more prominent than begonias grown from seeds. You can also save the bulbs for use in later planting periods.

Given that it is quite hard to grow begonias from seeds and tubers, the best choice lies in sourcing a begonia plant from a nearby nursery and transplanting this in your garden. There are situations where you could be lucky to find a perennial begonia. The other option in planting these crops lies in the use of cuttings.

Site selection

The good thing about begonias is that they can grow both indoors and outdoors, provided that they have adequate access to sunlight and water. They should also have partial access to light, as opposed to full exposure. As such, look for shaded areas in your home or your garden. Green-leaved begonias tend to be more sensitive to the sun as compared to their red-hued counterparts so keep this in mind during positioning.

Ensure that the shade is not so dense that sunlight cannot come through, as this will result in weak begonias that might not grow to maturity. Suppose your indoor area lacks access to the sun, you can make up for this through the use of fluorescent light.

Soil preparation

Begonias can do well in soil-free mixes, and you can choose this method for the best results. You will require two parts peat moss and one part potting mixture (soil-free) for this combination. You can find these mixes at nurseries and gardening stores. The essence of this type of mix is that begonias do well in acidic environments, which the peat moss provides. It also ensures that there is adequate drainage to prevent issues of waterlogging.

You can also choose to plant your begonias in the outdoors. If you use this method, add lots of peat moss and organic materials in the soil as this will boost its acidity and drainage abilities.

Choose the season

Begonias are annual crops and as such, you will need to plant them with each year that comes. They do not grow well in cold environments, and it is thus advisable that you wait at least two weeks after winter before embarking on planting. If not, you can plant them indoors and move them to the outdoors once the warm weather begins. The best planting period is in the middle of spring when the conditions are favourable.

Planting

Preparation

This choice depends on where you wish to plant your begonias. Suppose you are planting them in your garden, you will need to dig a few inches for tubers and seeds. If you are using a transplant, the hole should be big enough to accommodate the size of the root ball. You can dig holes that are close to each other as begonias do not require much space.

Planting

For seeds and bulbs, the planting process is as simple as placing one per hole and ensuring that you cover them with the soil mixture. In the case of a transplant, you should take extra caution during the plant’s removal from the container. The ideal way to do this is by tapping on the tin to loosen the soil then tilting the plant to one side for removal. Ensure that you untangle the roots before placing the root ball into the hole before covering it up with the soil mixture.

Watering

Most plants tend to suffer from transplant shock soon after planting, and thus it is necessary that you water your begonias. However, you should note that these crops are sensitive to water and excessive amounts could lead to drowning. Ensure that you wet the soil, as opposed to soaking it. Continue this process for a few days to enable the plants to grow stable. After a week, begonias planted in the outdoors can survive on rain.

However, you need to be alert such that when heavy rains pour, you move the plants to shaded areas to prevent the occurrence of drenching. You should also water the plants at the base and keep off the use of misting as this is detrimental to their growth.

Maintenance

For begonias planted in pots as well as those in the indoors, not much weeding is necessary for healthy growth. However, those planted in gardens tend to face this problem and a check every few days is essential. You can prevent the growth of weeds through the use of mulching which also acts as a way to reduce evaporation, thus reducing the need for regular watering. It is also vital that you top up the nutrients in your garden through the use of compost or liquid fertilizer, which will also boost the rate of growth of the begonias.

Deadheading

Flower buds tend to wither and die over time. This process comes with the adverse effect that nutrients go into feeding dead parts of the flower as opposed to new buds. It is at such times that you need to cut off the dead buds to make room for the growth of new buds for another season. In this way, you can enjoy a green, healthy plant at all times.

Pest control

Both indoor and outdoor begonias are at risk of infestation by pests. There are simple means which you can put to use to control such occurrences such as the use of alcohol and eggshells on the plant bases. Insecticides are also effective at dealing with such challenges, and it is best to seek help from a local nursery in this regard.

With these practices in place, you can look forward to a robust begonia plant that will be a great addition to your home.

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