BEGONIAS come into the limelight over the warmer months and tuberous begonias are starring now.
These are available in punnets in a mixture of flower colours or in larger pots in a more advanced state.
Blooms may be pink, red, orange, white, yellow and delightful bicolour combinations of pink and white and yellow and orange.
They prefer a position away from direct sunlight and in well-drained soil if in the garden, or a good-quality potting mix that drains freely, such as a bulb potting mix.
Once they start to put on growth after planting out, feed with a slow release fertiliser and then top up with a liquid fertiliser as they become more established and to keep the growth going steadily.
If you are growing in pots then ensure there are good drainage holes and keep them moist over the growing period from around spring to late autumn.
The plants bloom for months over spring, summer and early autumn and longer stems may need to be supported by staking.
Trim off spent flowers to reduce disease development and protect from snails. You can also grow tuberous begonias in hanging baskets in a shady position and away from strong winds.
Reduce watering as the tubers start to die down over winter and protect from frost by putting pots in a sheltered location out of the rain, and by lifting and storing dried tubers from garden beds in sand or potting mix that is kept relatively dry until the buds on the tubers start to shoot again in spring.
The perfect pot plant
OTHER begonias at their best now include bedding begonias (Begonia semperflorens) with white, pink or red flowers and bronze or green foliage that make a great border plant.
Begonia big red has a larger leaf and more open habit with bright red flowers on a plant that ranges from 30-60cm high and wide.
This is the perfect pot plant for a well-lit but shaded garden out of direct sunlight and is also suitable for growing in hanging baskets.