SUITABLE COMPOST + GOOD TUBER + RIGHT CONDITIONS
DOING THE RIGHT THING AT THE RIGHT TIME
will give a
that will produce
Given good stock and compost, the right conditions and doing the right thing at
the right time, correct WATERING is the single most important factor in
SUCCESSFUL BEGONIA GROWING.
For many years now I have used only peat based composts, the preference
being for SCOTTS LEVINGTON PROFESSIONAL.
I use 50% F2 with 50% Irish Moss Peat for starting, M3 for potting on and final
potting. Once the buds are allowed to develop (about 3 weeks after final
potting) I apply a top dressing again using M3.
Like most things in life, if you want the best you have to pay for
them. Named varieties do not come cheap. The main nursery in the United
Kingdom is BLACKMORE & LANGDON.
Expect to pay £10 - £20 for a dormant tuber. New introductions are
currently £30. Do not be alarmed by the irregular shape, what you are
receiving is a tuber grown from a cutting, this is because tuberous begonias do
not grow true from seed. New varieties are developed by hybridisation,
hundreds are then grown from the resulting seed and any promising plants
retained for further assessment the following year. Once selected
(possibly 4 -5 years after first flowering) stocks have to be built up and
this can take several more years. All this adds up to extensive labour and
expertise, hence the seemingly high prices.
But good stock does not just mean buying expensive tubers it means looking after
them correctly right through the year. If you do they will last for
several seasons and you can carry on increasing stock by taking cuttings from
them each year.
Large flowered tuberous double begonias do not make good house
plants, growing to the full potential requires a greenhouse. This will
need heating in the early months then shading and plenty of ventilation as the
What can be more difficult sometimes is trying to to maintain
a suitable environment during the flowering season. Very high temperatures
make the buds blow open too quickly and flowers deteriorate prematurely whilst
wet weather causes blooms to damp off around the edges.
DOING THE RIGHT THING AT THE RIGHT TIME.
Understanding the needs of the plant as it develops. Potting on at the
right time, staking, disbudding, feeding and most important of all CORRECT
This is what we are aiming at! A well grown plant of good stock is the
building block for good blooms. The foundation of a good plant is of
course the root system. By the time the first blooms are open the pot
should be well full of roots, but not completely pot bound. Until the
plant is fully grown all buds must be removed, even the finest varieties will
produce poor blooms from early buds. As a general rule the plant should be
3 weeks in it's final pot before the buds are allowed to develop.