Begonias, known for being a difficult plant to work with, can often prove more than a bit vexing for many beginning gardeners, and even professionals have a bit of trouble getting this one to take. With a bit of patience, though, and by following a few reasonably easy steps, your begonias should be up and growing in no time.
Plant your begonias in either September or October. You want the weather to be cool, but not cold. This should leave you with seedlings large enough to transplant by around April or May of the following year.
Set up your fluorescent lights above the area where you will be storing your growing containers. Begonias need a lot of light with a stable, even distribution in order to perform at their peak.
Sterilize the pots and the clear plastic shoe box. To do this, fill a sink with hot water and add 1/8 cup of bleach. Wash the pots and the shoe box thoroughly. Rinse them off with hot water and dry with a clean towel. Begonias are very susceptible to outside contamination, and sterilization greatly reduces the chance of infection.
Fill the pots almost to their rims with potting soil. Leave about a quarter of an inch to allow room for watering.
Pour between 50 and 100 seeds into each of the pots. Spread an ample amount around the top of the soil. Do not pack or cover the seeds.
Fill the bottom of the clear plastic shoebox with roughly half an inch of water. Place the seeded pots into the water. Begonias need moist soil to grow properly. Leave the pots in the water for approximately 15 minutes to allow water absorption by the bottom soil. Remove the pots from the water and dry the bases and the clear shoe box.
Return the pots to the dry shoebox and sit on a level, out-of-the-way surface.
Place the light roughly 6 inches above the tops of the pots. Run the light for at least 14 hours a day for best results.
Water the plants often enough to keep the soil lightly moist to the touch as the begonias grow.