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THE CULTIVATION OF
BASKET OR PENDULA BEGONIA
by
Dennis Need

  Growing begonias you can look up to or are at face level, gives you the opportunity to see them close up, and although the seed raised varieties will give a very colourful display the named basket varieties are far superior. After all, named basket varieties have been chosen from many hundreds of plants whose parents have been selected for some characteristics to pass on to their offspring. You will find that named basket begonias have either a better shape, are freer blooming, or have a better habit or colour combination that makes them stand out from other plants. 

  Growing from tubers is more successful by making an early start, January if possible, but certainly not later than the end of February. The normal habit of all the tuberous begonia hybrids is to start producing a flower after the third or fourth leaf. Obviously the plants at this stage have not grown enough to make a good flowering plant, and with baskets the intention is to produce as many flowers as possible. Unlike the large flowered double varieties were size is important, so reducing the number of flowers helps to increase the bloom size. By stopping the shoots with basket varieties, you will encourage the plants to grow more shoots, which means more flowers. Also stopping will make the plant break from the base, so helping in the creation of a bushier better branching habit, this will ensure the maximum display of bloom. The new side shoots can also be stopped, but rubbing out the tips of growing shoots delays blooming, you must allow between 9 to 10 weeks from the last stop to flowering. 

  If growing baskets in a peat based compost, you must remember that these composts have only enough fertiliser to last approximately 6 weeks, feeding is therefore essential after this time.  

  I bred the variety shown below a number of years back, the influence of “Isabella”one of the parents can be clearly seen. This was named “Jeannie”, after Jean Telford wife of Derek Telford, as Derek always calls her Jeannie.

OTHER PAGES BY DENNIS NEED
RECENT & NEW BEGONIAS FOR 2009
2008 CULTURAL DIARY - Multiflora & Garden Begonias
Begonias in the Garden     Basket Begonia Gallery     Multiflora Begonias

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