Tuberous Begonia

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Lawn & Garden

Tuberous begonia is a type of annual flower that comes in a variety of colors. It has multicolored flowers that are a sight to behold. These flowers can be as big as a salad plate and come in various colors, including petal edges tipped in a contrasting color. They grow well in areas with morning sun and light shade. In recent years, new varieties of tuberous begonia have been introduced. These have more modest flowers but many more of them.

Tuberous begonias have large flowers that come in different types, including upright and pendulous, single or double-flowered, and with frilled or plain petals. Unlike the semperflorens cousins, they offer a wide range of colors including white, pink, rose, red, orange, and yellow. They grow upright with large, arrow-shaped leaves. Both the large and small-flowered begonias alternate between male and female flowers. The smaller-flowered ones bear many flowers that can be up to 3 inches in diameter.

Tuberous begonias thrive well in midday and afternoon shade, as the foliage may scorch otherwise. They need soil that is rich and well-drained with high organic matter. It is essential to allow the soil to dry between waterings. Staking is necessary for the large-flowered varieties, which can easily become top-heavy. On the other hand, the smaller-flowered varieties can usually support their own growth. Powdery mildew is a common problem with tuberous begonias, especially if grown in areas where the air around leaves and stems is stagnant. At the first signs of a white powder on the leaves, spray with a fungicide.

Tuberous begonias can be propagated from seed, tubers, or cuttings. Most of the large-flowered ones are sold as named-variety tubers. When tiny, pink growth appears on the upper side of the tuber, place it with the hollow side up at soil level in a pot filled with packaged soil mix. Water well once to firm the tuber in the pot and provide a temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. As the top swells and grows, roots will form below the surface. Do not allow the soil to dry out, but avoid drenching until the leaves expand. Provide high light until it’s time for planting outside.

Tuberous begonias have many uses. The large-flowered ones can be used as specimen plants in semi-shady areas, while pendulous varieties make good container plants. The new small-flowered ones can be used for larger beds, containers, and hanging baskets. It’s essential to watch container plantings to prevent them from drying out.

There are other related species of tuberous begonia, including Begonia boliviensis, which has glowing orange flowers with narrow petals. Bonfire has arching stems and red-orange flowers. The iron cross begonia (Begonia masoniana) is a widely grown indoor plant and makes a handsome foliage specimen for shade in summer. The chartreuse leaves, strongly marked with a chocolate-brown iron cross, make a bold statement. It is essential to take this plant inside before cool weather starts as it is very frost-sensitive.

Begonia richmondensis is a popular hanging basket plant across the country due to its elegant and flowing habit, vibrant growth, glossy leaves, and abundant flowers that open from cherry-red buds to bright pink. This species can be easily propagated from cuttings and thrives in areas with morning sun and afternoon shade. Meanwhile, Begonia rex, also known as Rex begonias, are foliage plants with a wide range of colors, including steel-gray, red, pink, green, and white splashes. These plants do well in shady spots during summer. Elatior begonia, or Begonia hiemalis, are a hybrid of several species and come in upright and flowing series suitable for planters, hanging baskets, and other containers. They are often referred to as Rieger begonias as the Rieger firm in Germany played a significant role in their development. The flowers of Elatior begonia are usually 1 to 11/2 inches in diameter and come in various colors such as red, orange, pink, and luscious white that appears green when exposed to light. Tuberous begonias, including the large-flowered and smaller-flowered types, are available in various colors and flower forms as named cultivars, tubers, seeds, or started plants. The scientific name of tuberous begonia is Begonia tuberhybrida. For more information, check out the links on annual and perennial flowers, organized by color, sunlight, soil type, and height.


1. What is a Tuberous Begonia?

A Tuberous Begonia is a plant that belongs to the Begoniaceae family. It is a perennial plant with tuberous roots and large, showy flowers. These plants are popular for their attractive, bright blooms that come in a wide range of colors and patterns.

2. How do you care for a Tuberous Begonia?

Tuberous Begonias require well-drained soil and partial shade. They should be watered regularly but not overwatered, as their tubers can rot if they are too wet. Fertilizer should be applied once a month during the growing season. Deadheading spent flowers will encourage the plant to produce more blooms.

3. Can Tuberous Begonias be grown indoors?

Yes, Tuberous Begonias can be grown indoors in bright, indirect light. They should be kept in a well-ventilated area to prevent mildew and fungal diseases. Indoor Tuberous Begonias may require more frequent watering than outdoor plants.

4. What pests and diseases affect Tuberous Begonias?

Tuberous Begonias can be affected by pests such as aphids, spider mites, and thrips. They can also be susceptible to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and botrytis. Proper care, including good air circulation and regular fertilization, can help prevent these problems.

5. When do Tuberous Begonias bloom?

Tuberous Begonias typically bloom in the summer, from June to September. The exact bloom time can vary depending on the variety and growing conditions.

6. How do you propagate Tuberous Begonias?

Tuberous Begonias can be propagated by dividing the tubers in the spring before planting. The tubers should be carefully separated and planted in well-draining soil. They can also be propagated by leaf cuttings taken in the summer.

7. What are some popular Tuberous Begonia varieties?

Some popular Tuberous Begonia varieties include ‘Non-Stop’, ‘Bossa Nova’, and ‘Chanson’. These varieties come in a range of colors and patterns, from solid reds and pinks to bi-colors and ruffled blooms.

8. Can Tuberous Begonias be grown in containers?

Yes, Tuberous Begonias can be grown in containers. They should be planted in well-draining soil and placed in a location with partial shade. Containers should be large enough to accommodate the plant’s root system and should be watered regularly to prevent the soil from drying out.

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