The characteristics of begonia
- Type: flower and flowering plant
- Height: from 0 to 30 cm, from 30 to 60 cm
- Flower colors: red, white, pink, yellow, orange
- Desired exposure: shaded, semi-shaded
- Foliage : persistent or spent
- Type of soil: well drained
- sanitizer: no
- variety: rustic begonia, bedding begonia, begonia erecta, begonias rex, begonia bamboo…
Origins and peculiarities of begonia
The begonia is a flowering plant, robust, from the begoniaceae family. There are almost 900 different species with very different sizes, shapes, colors and foliage.
Begonia is native to the south and center of the American continent and Asia. We distinguish the annual varieties, low plants with small flowers, and tuberous begonias with large round flowers and bright colors. You can grow the begonia either outside in the garden (then prefer upright varieties, perfect for a flower bed), or in pots on a terrace or balcony (in this case, you can also opt for a species with falling port).
To note: we often ignore it, but the begonia flowers are completely edible! It is possible to use them to decorate dishes, but also to make jams with a good tangy taste.
Planting and growing begonia
The begonia is planted in a pot, in a planter or in beds among other summer flowering bulbs. It is a hardy plant which tolerates low temperatures, but not frost. Begonia likes to take its time to develop. It is better to start your sowing in January for transplanting in March or April and planting in May after the last frosts.
For planting, choose a semi-shaded location with moist, rich soil. Maintain a spacing of approximately 10 to 15 cm between the plants and ensure regular watering.
The tuberous begonia is also a very beautiful houseplant. Planted in a pot, it brings color to a room with yellow, orange, red or pink begonia flowers. Indoors, make sure to bring light to your begonia while avoiding direct exposure to the sun.
Multiplication of begonia
It is possible to multiply begonia plants, either by dividing the tuber in early spring, taking care that at least one bud remains per piece, or by cutting stems at the very beginning of summer.
Good news for lazy gardeners: once its flowers have bloomed, the begonia plant requires little maintenance! A twice-weekly watering and a fertilizer for flowering plants twice a month are enough.
Also be sure to remove the wilted flowers as you go to benefit from a long flowering.
In winter, it is advisable to cover the perennial begonias with dried leaves or vegetable mulch and to bring the tubers of the annual begonias in a cool and ventilated place, such as the garage. After the tuber has dried, place it in sand until the end of the winter season.
Begonia diseases and parasites
In a garden, the begonia is known to have 3 main enemies:
- Slugs, which particularly appreciate rhizomatous begonias. To prevent them from snacking, install beer traps, or barriers of ash and / or eggshells near your plants.
- Powdery mildew and botrytis, diseases that are often caused by excess moisture, and that you can prevent by investing in a special fungicide in garden centers.