The National Begonia Society


John Hamilton
National Begonia Society Cut Bloom Champion  2008   2002
British Begonia Champion  2012  2009  2008  2004
SBS Pot Plant Champion 2012



I would like to start this insight into a year in my greenhouse by thanking the website editor for extending me the  invitation to contribute to the web site. 

I have been growing begonias since 1979 and have been lucky enough to have met some of the leading growers in the UK over this time.  Most of my growing method has been based on helpful advice given to me, and hopefully I can share some handy hints and tips over the following months.

This year I am going to concentrate mainly on growing pot plants, which I will have to admit has been my preferred method of cultivation.  I have never grown single stem plants so part of this year’s growing will be a learning experience.

The year began for me on boxing day when the cutting tubers were put into the propagator, many of these are quite small and as such would not survive an extended period out of the pots.  I store my tubers in the house as the cost of heating a 60 feet greenhouse has become prohibitive.  Early in the year I use two 80 feet heating cables and two 20 feet heating cables.  I have found with careful planning I can start all my begonias using these.  Additional heat will have to be provided in March but more about that later.

The next task after removing the cutting tubers from their pots is to plant them. This year I have re-used the compost from the pots they were growing in.  This will have very little nutrient so the cutting tubers are given a liquid feed with a balanced fertiliser to get them started.  This is mixed with Rovral to prevent tuber losses due to botrytis.  Once tubers have pipped up they will be boxed up into new compost.

After the cuttings are in the next task is to identify the tubers to be used for multi stem plants, it is a bit like Christmas again unwrapping the tubers from the kitchen roll they were stored in.

Winter storage has been kind with only two losses so far and once the tubers have been inspected and selected, those tubers to be grown are moved to a warmer room to allow them to pip up.  This gives me a two or three-week period to get the propagating house ready to start them up.

It does look as if I will have plenty of stock this year but homes can always be found for excess plants later in the year, and I have heard that a certain Dodgy character from the North West is getting a bigger greenhouse and an extended list. 

Cold weather.

Propagator covered to keep out cold.

Cutting tubers covered in dry compost.

Cutting tubers watered in.



British Begonia Champion  12 Cut Blooms   2012

Scottish Championship 9 Pots    2012

John's Open Days
2016          2014          2013