While we may be suffering from the mid-winter blues many home gardeners are just bubbling with enthusiasm for this year’s garden. These gardeners are starting to seed and propagate plants for this spring garden. Here’s what they are doing now!
The soil-less medium is kept just moist until the tubers are well rooted and growth has started. It is now time to start transplanting your tuberous begonias into four inch pots or hanging varieties directly into their hanging basket if space allows it. Transplant into a soil-less peat moss mix. Fill the pots half to three quarters full and place your tuber on the surface of the mix. Then gently add a small amount of your mix and firm in. Water in your tubers with a transplanter fertilizer and place in a bright indirect light or under artificial lights for 12 to 16 hours per day. After growth has become well developed add one quarter to a half inch of potting mix to just cover the tuber.
Occasional feedings of 15-30-15 plus iron fertilizer can be used throughout the gardening season.
Tuberous begonias come in Camellia, double, hanging and frimbriated type flowers and in colors of white, pink, salmon, copper, orange, red, scarlet, yellow and bicolours. Tuberous begonias prefer a moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil in partial shade. They do not like deep shade.
A special note on planting tuberous begonias. Always plant with the points of the leaves facing the direction they are to be viewed from. The reason is that this is the direction that the blooms will face.
Another thing many gardeners are now seeding their fibrous begonias and geraniums. The partial shade loving fibrous begonias are started in a fine soil-less mix such as Peter’s Professional Mix. You can find this at your local garden center. For easy handling purchase pelletized seed and place them on the surface of the growing medium and gently water in. Do not cover the seed and place in a bright area with a constant 70 degree temperature. Mist regularly to prevent drying out. A weekly half strength 20-20-20 fertilizer is used after plants are well up. Fibrous begonias are best started under artificial lights running 14 to 18 hours per day until sizable plants are produced and can be moved to bright indirectly lit windows until spring planting.