Begonias are prized for their colorful, long-lasting blooms.
image by Melodi T: sxc.hu
Many gardeners favor begonias because they thrive in shady areas where other summer flowers flounder. Begonia petals come in an array of shapes, including ruffled and toothed. Tuberous begonias, sometimes referred to as bulbs, have larger flowers and more strength than seeded varieties. Native to Africa and South America, begonias are easy to care for but require warm weather to thrive.
Choose a well-drained bed in partial shade, such as under trees or in shaded borders. Raise the bed 2 to 3 inches by working peat moss or compost into the soil to improve drainage.
Loosen the top 6 inches of soil with your trowel. Remove any weeds or weed roots while working the soil.
Set the tubers into the loosened soil so it surrounds them but doesn't cover them. Space the tubers 8 inches apart. Plant them so the hollow in the middle of the tuber faces upward.
Water the tubers thoroughly, soaking the soil. Keep the soil moist at all times. Roots will form in two to four weeks.
Fertilize the tubers once a month with a balanced fertilizer once shoots appear. Fertilize throughout the growing season to encourage healthy blooms.
Allow the leaves to die back naturally until the plant goes dormant in the fall. Pinch off buds to encourage dormancy if they are still present in September.
Cut the stems off to 5 inches once foliage has completely died back. Dig up the tubers for winter storage in a cool, dry area.