The Q&A Archives: Begonia

Question: About two months ago I planted mixed begonia bulbs. I started them in a planter and then transferred them in the ground outside. I have yet to see anything germinate. What did I do wrong?

Answer: Here are some basics on starting begonias, taken from "Flowering Bulbs for Dummies," by Judy Glattstein and the NGA editors.

Start the tubers indoors in Jan. or Feb. in flats or shallow containers, setting them apart one inch, with tops showing. Keep the soil moist, not wet. When sprouts appear, cover them with about one half inch of soil mix and move the container to a warm, bright location. When the sprouts reach 2 inches, transfer each to a pot of hanging container, and move them outdoors after last chance of frost.

In hanging baskets, space the tubers 6 inches apart, or use 3 in small baskets and 4 in larger ones. They prefer partial shade, or morning and late afternoon sun. Water regularly to keep the soil moist, but don't sprinkle from overhead, which promotes powdery mildew. Fertilize during active growth and blooming, until the leaves start to yellow in fall. Let the cycle finish and dig and store corms in mesh bags in a cool, dry spot, until next year.

Hope the above information provides some insight into proper planting, and offers hope for your newly planted begonia's.

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