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Tuberous Begonias

With their easy care and versatility, tuberous begonias bring elegance and charm to containers, hanging baskets, and garden beds, creating a captivating display that lasts throughout the summer.

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Tuberous Begonia: Lush foliage and stunning blooms make this versatile plant a showstopper in gardens and containers.

What are Tuberous Begonias?

Tuberous Begonias are a type of begonia characterized by their large tubers, from which they derive their name. They are native to tropical South America and are grown as annuals in most climates.

Habit and size: Tuberous begonias are tuberous perennials with a bushy or cascading growth habit, typically reaching around 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) in height and spread. They are divided into various groups depending on the shape of their flowers (camellia, carnation, rose), their petals (single, double, ruffled, banded), or their habit (bushy, cascading).

Foliage: Tuberous Begonia foliage is typically lush and attractive, featuring large, glossy leaves that are often serrated or deeply lobed. It comes in various shades of green, sometimes with hints of red or bronze, adding beauty and texture to garden beds and containers.

Flowers: The flowers are one of the most attractive features of tuberous begonias. They are large, sometimes up to 3 inches (7 cm) across, and come in a variety of forms, from single to double blooms, ruffled or toothed, and in colors that include white, pink, red, orange, and yellow.

Blooming season: The flowering season extends from early summer until the first frost in the fall.

Hardiness: Tuberous begonias are tender perennials and are typically hardy in USDA zones 9-11. However, they are often grown as annuals or houseplants, as they cannot survive cold winter temperatures.

Uses: tuberous begonias are incredibly versatile. They can be grown in borders, hanging baskets, containers, or as indoor plants. They can also be used as bedding plants, given their vibrant flowers and attractive foliage.

Pollinators: These plants are not highly attractive to pollinators due to their large double flowers that make it difficult for pollinators to access the nectar.

Toxicity: Begonias are considered mildly toxic to pets and humans if ingested, causing irritation to the mouth, throat, and stomach.

Deer and rabbit resistance: Begonia is typically not favored by deer or rabbits, so it can be a good option for gardens prone to these animals.

Guide Information

Hardiness 9 - 11
Heat Zones 1 - 11
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1
Plant Type Bulbs, Perennials
Genus Begonia
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Full Shade, Deer, Rabbit
Landscaping Ideas Patio And Containers, Hanging Baskets, Beds And Borders
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden, Traditional Garden
Begonia ‘Dragon Wing Pink’
Begonia ‘Dragon Wing Red’
Begonia ‘Encanto Orange’

Why Should I Grow Tuberous Begonias?

Tuberous Begonias are a fantastic addition to any garden or indoor space for several reasons:

Spectacular Flowers: Tuberous Begonias boast large, vibrant blooms in a wide range of colors. These flowers can add a pop of color to any space, making them an excellent choice for aesthetic purposes.

Versatility: These plants can be grown in a variety of settings – in the ground, in pots or containers, or even hanging baskets. This flexibility allows gardeners to use them in many ways around the garden or home.

Shade Tolerance: Unlike many flowering plants, Tuberous Begonias perform well in partial shade, making them perfect for those less sunny spots in your garden.

Extended Blooming Season: They have a long flowering period, often from early summer until the first frost, providing color for many months.

Low Maintenance: Once established in the right conditions, Tuberous Begonias require little care beyond regular watering and occasional feeding, making them a relatively low-maintenance option for busy gardeners.

Deer and Rabbit Resistant: These plants are typically not a preferred food source for deer or rabbits, which can help keep your garden intact if these animals are common in your area.

Good for Indoor Culture: If you live in a colder region, Tuberous Begonias can be grown indoors as houseplants, bringing color and beauty into your home year-round.

Begonia ‘Picotee Calypso’
Begonia ‘Hanging Basket Scarlet’
Begonia ‘White-Pink Picotee’

Garden Design with Tuberous Begonia

Tuberous begonias offer a wide range of design possibilities for your garden thanks to their brilliant colors, lush foliage, and ability to grow in different environments. Here are some garden design ideas with tuberous begonias:

Containers and Hanging Baskets: Due to their compact size and trailing or upright habit, tuberous begonias are perfect for containers and hanging baskets. A hanging basket of trailing begonias could become a striking focal point in your patio or balcony.

Shady Areas: Tuberous begonias are perfect for areas in your garden that receive partial shade. They can be paired with other shade-loving plants such as hostas and ferns to create a beautiful woodland garden effect.

Borders: Use tuberous begonias to add color to your garden borders. The smaller varieties can be used at the front of the border, while the taller ones can provide height and structure at the back.

Mixed Plantings: Mix them with other summer-blooming plants for a continuous display of color. They pair well with impatiens, coleus, and fuchsias, which have similar light and water requirements.

Mass Plantings: For a dramatic effect, plant a mass of tuberous begonias together. A large group of begonias blooming in unison creates a vibrant splash of color.

Remember to account for their growth habit when designing – upright varieties can provide vertical interest, while trailing ones will spill beautifully over the edges of containers. Regardless of how you use them, tuberous begonias are sure to add color and interest to your garden.

Begonia ‘Roseform Rose’
Begonia ‘Hanging Basket Apricot’
Begonia ‘Nonstop Fire’

Companion Plants for Tuberous Begonia

Tuberous begonias have gorgeous, lush foliage and vivid blooms, making them ideal for combinations with other plants with similar light and watering requirements. Here are some great companion plants for tuberous begonia:

Ferns: The texture contrast between the smooth, bold leaves of begonias and the delicate, feathery foliage of ferns can create a beautiful effect in a shade garden.

Impatiens: Like begonias, impatiens love shade and moist soil, and they can contribute a variety of colors to the mix.

Hostas: These plants have striking foliage and thrive in similar conditions to tuberous begonias. They add a contrasting shape and texture.

Coleus: Coleus is known for its colorful, patterned foliage which can complement or contrast with begonia’s bright flowers.

Heuchera: Also known as coral bells, these plants provide beautiful foliage in a variety of colors that pair well with begonias.

Fuchsia: These plants offer stunning hanging blossoms that match the display put on by tuberous begonias.

Lobelia: The dainty, cascading blooms of lobelia can complement the boldness of tuberous begonia flowers.

Remember, tuberous begonias love rich, well-drained soil and partial to full shade, so be sure to choose companions that thrive under similar conditions.

Companion Plants for Tuberous Begonia

Athyrium (Lady Fern)
Hosta (Plantain Lily)
Coleus scutellarioides (Coleus)
Impatiens
Heuchera (Coral Bells)
Fuchsia

Growing Tips

Growing tuberous begonias can be a rewarding experience, as they offer bright and continuous color in the shade where few other flowers thrive. Here are some steps to grow them successfully:

Purchase Bulbs: Buy healthy begonia tubers from a trusted nursery or online. Look for plump tubers with no visible damage or signs of disease.

Choose the Right Location: Tuberous begonias thrive in a location with partial to full shade and protection from strong winds. They’re ideal for a north or east-facing garden or under trees and shrubs.

Prepare the Soil: Begonias prefer light, well-draining, fertile soil. Amend your soil with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to improve its structure and nutrient content.

Planting: Plant the tubers in the spring after the last threat of night frost, approximately 6 inches (15 cm) apart and slightly below the soil line (they rot easily when planted too deep). They can be started indoors, 6-8 weeks before the last frost date to get a “jump” on the season and produce earlier blooms.

Watering: Water the tubers thoroughly after planting, then water sparingly until you see sprouts. Once the plants are established, keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to root rot.

Fertilizing: Feed your begonias every two weeks during the growing season with a balanced flower fertilizer to promote blooms.

Pruning: Prune off spent flowers to encourage new blooms. In fall, cut back foliage after it yellows and dies back.

Overwintering: In cooler areas than zones 9-11, dig up the tubers before the first frost. Store them in a dry, cool (but not freezing) place over winter and replant in spring.

By providing the right conditions and care, you can enjoy the stunning blooms of tuberous begonias throughout the summer and fall.

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 9 - 11
Heat Zones 1 - 11
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1
Plant Type Bulbs, Perennials
Genus Begonia
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Full Shade, Deer, Rabbit
Landscaping Ideas Patio And Containers, Hanging Baskets, Beds And Borders
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden, Traditional Garden
Compare All Begonia
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Guides with
Begonia

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