Begonias part 2!

Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800
After my post about begonias the other day I went in the GC today and was chatting to the owner in there about my pots with lilies in. She recommended planting Begonias, but from bulb (tuber?) as I can keep them. So, 2 questions; 1. How easy are they to grow forms seed / bulb / tuber, whatever you call it? 2. Is it best to grow them that way than buy the plants? I am thinking it might be as at least then I know they are the tuber type (that Ryan mentioned) that can over winter. Thanks, Tracey


  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,122

    Tracy, to be honest begonia's are best from the corm(tuber/bulb). You can grow them from seed, but it is a lot easier to grow from the corm. You get results straight away and they will, if you look after them, come back each year for years to come.

    It is a little more expensive to but the corms, but worth it in my opinion.

    They look like shrivelled lumps when you get them from suppliers, but they soon plump up when watered in.

    After the first frosts have blackened the foliage, you lift them, let them dry for a while and store them in paper bags in a frost free environment, just like dahlia's.

    In spring pot them up and water in well, they will soon spring into life, and if you want more cuttings they are easy to take straight from the corm, to increase your stock.

    In GW at the moment there is an excellent choice of some new varieties which will flower all summer through, many scented.

    The world of begonia's is your oyster.

    Best of luck.

  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800
    Thank so much Dave! that is really easy to understand! I have sen the GW offers, that is what has started me off but I wasn't sure whether they were the type that I can keep year after year as someone said there are types that are more like annuals (it's very confusing!!).

    The GC today had some that looked like flat bulbs at 99p each, not sure how much coverage one if those would give though. I wish I knew more!!!
  • Tracey you cant help but love them.This container has three tuber growing in it your looking at the blooms on two of them                                            


    This is a container of fibrous begonias.





  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800
    Ok, this is where it's confusing. What is the difference between the top one and bottom? It is the bottom type I have been looking at on GW offers and these are the ones I remember my mum growing. Are these the type treated as 'annual' and the top ones are the ones that can keep if stored?

    Sorry for seeming so dim, I will get it eventually!! Going to have a google and see what I can learn!
  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800
    Just had a google, found an RHS article which was very informative, so now know the difference and I think I will get both!!! That's that problem!!!
  • Number one you buy tubers/bulbs,number two you buy them in 4/6 packs.


  • Very glad to have come across this post I have been wondering about some aspects of growing begonias for ages

    I know about begonia corms since i have been producing  plants from them for a couple of years now and absolutely love them. However, I have also purchased begonias from GC which seem to be fibrous rooted. I have seen these described as HP although none of mine produce anything the following year ?

    My  question is, and sorry if this sounds stupid, if i grow begonias from seed do they produce fibrous roots or corms ? Are there advantages disadvantages to each ?





  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 5,113

    Dont forget when planting begonia corms that the concave side goes uppermost, and that you plant very shallowly, with the top of the corm only just covered.

    There's one more kid that will never go to school
    Never get to fall in love,never get to be cool.
  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800

    Thanks for pointing that out Punkdoc, I wouldn't have known and would probably have planted like bulbs....oops!!!  Also, can they be planted in borders or are they better in pots?

  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800

    Marion, I think I've read somewhere, either further up on this thread or on the other Begonia one, that they are quite hard to grow from seed.  However, if you buy the type with the fibrous roots they will over-winter in the greenhouse away from frost and will get little corms (or tubers image) on the end....I think I've got that right but no doubt someone will tell me if I have misunderstood.

  • Tracey-Newbie wrote (see)

    Marion, I think I've read somewhere, either further up on this thread or on the other Begonia one, that they are quite hard to grow from seed.  However, if you buy the type with the fibrous roots they will over-winter in the greenhouse away from frost and will get little corms (or tubers image) on the end....I think I've got that right but no doubt someone will tell me if I have misunderstood.

    Regarding the fibrous begonias, in my experience it goes like this: If you buy the begonia plugs,  at the end of Summer you can dig them up and you should find that there are little tubers on the end of them.

    The idea is to let the plant die down, take off the stems, dry off the tuber and store them  over Winter somewhere dry (I use dried out old potting soil but there are several ways to store them). In Spring you plant the little tubers onto moist compost set in a tray, plant them just up to their 'shoulders'. Keep them in a warm light room and after a few weeks they will start shooting. That shoot is the start of your plant, which you can plant up with the tuber completely under the soil and the shoot above (sorry - suck eggs and all that...)

    I think that the tubers supplied by the garden centres and nurseries are probably a few years old, as they are bigger than the first year tubers. Consequently you will get a bigger plant from them, with several shoots coming from the tuber.

    It's fun to try to grow them on yourself though (and it's free of course). I currently have some first year tubers in my unheated greenhouse, which I am about to bring into the conservatory to start shooting. I bought them as plugs last year.

    Hope this helps.

  • Ah! so thats how a corm starts, brilliant

    Think i will set myself a challenge this year and try some seeds.

    Thanks for this info

    kind regards


  • Good luck Marion. image

  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800
    Thanks for the info Lancs Lass, I must admit from all my questions so far begonias seem to be the most confusing!!
  • It doesn't have to be complicated Tracey. Begonias are lovely plants with a long flowering period. They are also very flexible as they are happy in sun or shade and can be very forgiving if not watered as they will sit in dry soil without complaint.  And there are begonias for every situation, trailers for baskets and bedding begonias for - well, for beddingimage.

    I have only ever grown the fibrous begonias from seed. I have started the tuberous begonias from tuber and from plugs. I think the plugs are simply cuttings, or young plants grown from seed.

    The only thing that you need to know is that the easiest way to start growing them is simply by buying some plug plants. All the popular stockists sell them really cheaply. Once you get to know them better, you can get into the tuber thing if you fancy it!

  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800
    Thanks again lancs lass and Mike, I've not been on much over the weekend as it was OH's birthday.

    Planning at trip to our local GC at weekend and will be investing in Begonias image
  • Mike, leaf cuttings  sounds very interesting will def try increasing stock by this method

    I have  just been checking the  tubers that I have overwintered in a cool cupboard as I did successfully last year

    however, this year,  some of the tubers have already started to sprout new shoots even without being in compost

    given that it’s only mid march should I remove these shoots or will that be detrimental to tuber?

    There also seems to be a lot of conflicting advice when it comes to planting tubers some say you should cover with compost  and others have said you simply sit the tuber on top of moist compost

    Any opinions anyone ?

  • LynLyn Posts: 8,086

    Dont take the shoots off, pop them on some compost, i use any old stuff that i save through the year, they dont need top class soil to start.  When they start to flower, I always pick the females off, you can see these straight away, they have a green seed pod behind, that way your males will keep coming till frost. We have been growing these for over 20 years, you cant go wrong. I will pot these into 8inch pots as soon as they have made a nice bush of real leaves.  You can cut the big ones in half, make sure they have about 3 or 4 shoots on each bit.






    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
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