2008 - Multiflora & Garden Begonias
cool nights during June growth has not been as vigorous as expected,
this time last year the plants were more advanced, I still live in hope
that summer will eventually arrive. In spite of the cool conditions
tubers left in the ground are showing growth as can be seen in
image 27, being planted near to a
wall helps in the survival of the tubers over the winter.
My front garden although showing some colour
(image 28) is still looking a little thin regarding the
spread of the plants, with the long days during this month I would have
expected more ground to have been covered. They will no doubt catch up
over the month of July.
The group of begonia grandis martiana (hollyhock begonia) are now
showing colour as the flowers develop (image
29), the tubers are 2 years old. The picture in the garden of
my friend Phil Crosswell of 4 year old tubers
(image 30), shows stronger growth and flowers further
variety of mine Flutterbye “Apricot”, is useful for planting at the back
of a bedding display as being a taller variety, it can be seen over the
top of most multiflora varieties. (image 31)
It is also a useful variety for planting in containers as the taller
arching flower stems help to display the flowers
(image 32). Planted in a permanent position in my
Daughters garden in Jersey, it has flowered profusely every summer for
the past 3 years. Surprisingly it has also proved hardy in Barry Walker's
garden in North Wales, although signs of growth only show in June with
flowering being much later. Plants of this variety have been available
in a number of Garden centers in the past month.
interest now being revived in the single flowered types, the seedling
shown (image 33) may be a useful
addition to this type of plant, it would help as a contrast to the
coloured garden varieties. I shall take some cuttings later so that I can
trial this next season.
The picture of the clean growth on a plant now recovered from the mite
infestation shows both the damage and healthy shoots above the damage
area (image 34). Whilst this would
prevent the use of many plants for exhibition, it does allow a grower to
still enjoy the benefit of flowers in the greenhouse or garden.
No matter how long one grows multiflora begonias, there are always a
number of tubers that are planted upside down;
(Image 17) 6 or 7 needed turning the right way up this
season. It is easy enough to see the hollow side of seed grown tubers
but with tubers grown from cuttings it is not always easy to identify
which is up and which is down. Once righted the plants soon grow in the
As usual there is always a night frost warning at some time of
month of May, this means giving any plants that have started the
hardening off process some extra protection. I find it easier to
re-house the plants over night. This takes some time and the plants get
crowded as can be seen in image 18
but I would rather do this than chance any frost damage. In some years
this can be a pain should the night frosts go on for too long,
thankfully this year, it was only for a couple of nights.
May is a good time to be taking cuttings, and whilst the cuttings
in image 19 look a mixed lot, I have
found that they need not look like the accepted type of cuttings as long
as they root and grow. After all, what is required is the production of
tubers by the seasons end and there is usually plenty of material
available during May. If there is a need to increase a selected seedling
and material is short, it is worth using leaves, log cuttings and any
material that will root.
There is always a variation in plant growth from tubers and whilst
one tray can be full to overflowing, others can look totally different.
This variation can be seen in image 20,
both trays in the same compost.
A start was made in planting my front garden on the 22nd of
May, the plants in image 21, are
“Flutterbye” Apricot. These are a single flower variety which being
taller than the multifloras are being planted at the back of my display.
The root system shown (Image 22)
is the result of using the mineral Nutrimate incorporated into the
compost, something I have been using for a number of years and it
certainly improves the root development. Some of the plants had such a
strong root system it was difficult knocking them out of their pots.
You can see from the root system of a plant taken from one of the
trays (image 23), that they will
soon spread into the surrounding soil, unlike the pot grown plant in the
previous image which will take much longer.
The strongest plant of the Hollyhock Begonia, gracilis martiana; is
already showing flower buds (image
24). Hopefully the group of 22
plants in the centre of the multifloras will be an improvement on last
season’s display. I must ensure I spray on a regular basis with a
suitable fungicide as the species is susceptible to mildew which is its
Image 25 shows that the
introduction of the predatory mites Amblyseius cucumeris is very
effective in the treatment of the attack of Tarsonamid mite. The damage
will stay on the plant but the new growth is looking very healthy. It is
approximately 4 weeks since the predatory mites where introduced into
the greenhouse and whilst I did move many of my baskets out under the
pergola where I grow them, I returned them to the greenhouse as the
predatory mites were more effective at a temperature range between 20oc
There are a total of 400 begonias in the front garden
(image 26), and whilst they look a little thin as yet, growth
over the coming weeks should fill in the spaces and will hopefully give
a good show over the summer.
MARCH & APRIL
JULY & AUGUST
SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER
BY DENNIS NEED
RECENT & NEW BEGONIAS FOR 2009
Begonias in the Garden
Basket or Pendula
Basket Begonia Gallery
Multiflora Begonias Gallery