The Q&A Archives: Starting Begonias

Question: I live in Atlanta. In the spring, I received 2 packages of Begonia bulbs that my father ordered from your catalog: Santa Classic and Santa Picotees. There were approximately 11 bulbs. I followed the planting instructions but they showed no sign of growth. Since I marked the ground where I planted the bulbs, I dug them up about 4 weeks ago. Only 2 had started to sprout. I replanted them in clay pots and buried the pots in the ground. I'm very disappointed not to see any growth. They receive over 4 hours of sunlight. Is this normal? Should I assume they are dead?

Answer: Begonia tubers are best started early, indoors, in trays of peat moss where the temperature, watering, and soil conditions can be controlled. After several weeks and when the soil outside is adequately warm, the tubers can be transplanted. Begonia tubers in the ground too early, especially if the soil is wet from rains or watering of other plants, can easily rot. Those that you have dug up and repotted should be placed where you can better control the watering (not sunk in the ground). Transplant them to the ground after you see lots of growth.

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