Seeds forum: Can you tell me about begonias?

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Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Nov 15, 2010 6:49 AM CST

Moderator

I've never tried begonias. I ordered some seeds from T&M this week for B. Boliviensis and B. Show Angels. I think they've screwed up the order, but I won't know until (IF) they arrive. Seeds are on backorder. And because I don't have them yet I don't know what kind of timing will be suggested on the packet.

I've read that begonias are challenging to germinate and slow growing. I read recommendations to sow them anywhere from 3 to 6 months in advance. Can you give me any suggestions on when to start?

I do hate using such tiny dust-like seeds, but I couldn't find pelleted ones of the types I wanted. Swallowtail has the pelleted Show Angels but not Boliviensis.

Karen
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Nov 15, 2010 11:28 AM CST
I have started them under lights in January.
Yes, they grow slowly so plan to keep them under lights.
But you must restrict the number of hours of light.
Too much light and the seedlings stop and form tiny useless tubers.
When I grew them I used 6 hours on and 6 hours off cycles.
I am going to try again in January.
The dust like seeds are best scattered onto a small pot of seed starter mix.
The small seedlings are easier to handle than the dust like seeds.
I use a plastic toothpick to transplant them to separate peat pots.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Nov 15, 2010 7:02 PM CST

Moderator

Thanks, Caroline.

Do you use that light schedule all the time, from sowing through growing on seedlings? For all kinds of begonias?
I've read that they need a minimum of 14 hours/day of light.

Karen

Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Nov 16, 2010 2:46 PM CST
Hi Karen,

I started some Bada Boom & Bada Bing begonias last year. The seeds were pelleted so it was easy. I had them under lights along with everything else for 15hrs per day. They do require feeding quite early. They are very tiny too and takes a few weeks to really get going.
The 1st tray that I seeded last January did not do well. Poor choice in medium (note do not use cocoa choir..zippo for nutrition.
I thought I would try again with different soil in March and they did awesome. I used Premier Pro-Mix BX and fertilizer with fish fertilizer. I had bought a few bedding plants in late May and the ones that I started from seed were the same size or bigger than the ones boughten in the 606 (6pack).

Stokes Seeds has a get "how to" explanation for Fibrous Begonias. I will definately seed them again and will use the BX soil mix with Fish fertilizer.

Hope they do well for you
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Nov 16, 2010 3:17 PM CST
I used the 6 hour cycle right through---but my plants were smaller.
I have read that if they get too much light then they form tubers too early.
Stokes gives complete directions with the seeds, and I think it is okay up to about 12 hours.
I don't think lighting is so much of a problem for the fibrous begonias. I have not done those for several years.
Maybe next year?
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Nov 16, 2010 8:14 PM CST

Moderator

Thanks, ladies.

Karen
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Nov 17, 2010 9:47 PM CST
Not sure where you got your info from Carolyn, but the Stokes Seeds info says 14 to 18 hours of light other wise these will stop growing & disappear. I followed the Stokes info and it worked great.

Thumb of 2010-11-18/Joannabanana/c5c6dc
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Nov 18, 2010 11:55 AM CST
I stand corrected, Joanne!
I know I lost one batch which quit growing and I thought it was too long lights.
That is when I went to 6 on and 6 off.
Going to try again after Xmas.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
Image
kqcrna
Nov 18, 2010 3:15 PM CST

Moderator

Thanks, Joanne. That begonia basket is gorgeous!.

Karen
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Nov 18, 2010 3:58 PM CST
It is one of those green grow bags
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Dec 6, 2010 9:46 PM CST

Moderator

such great info thanks all!!!
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Dec 7, 2010 4:53 AM CST

Moderator

Allison, do you start begonias from seed? tuberous or fibrous?

I bought some seeds which just came yesterday. From all I've read they sound pretty difficult. I'll most likely kill them. Sad

Karen
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Dec 7, 2010 5:13 AM CST

Moderator

tuberous..... and it didn't go well... only 2 or 3 lived and stayed pretty small.... no way a tuber formed... left out to die
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
Image
kqcrna
Dec 7, 2010 11:16 AM CST

Moderator

That's not too encouraging!

Karen
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Dec 7, 2010 9:30 PM CST

Moderator

sorry... I didn't pay them much attention though... they were growing way too slow for me... they were still alive once fall rolled around... but still only a few inches tall.. might try it again
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Dec 8, 2010 10:46 AM CST
You don't want them to form tubers until fall.
They form tubers when they get more light.
Name: Emily
Mid-Cape Cod, MA. zone 7a
Charter ATP Member
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CapeCodGardener
Jan 11, 2011 8:33 AM CST
Hi there, seed-people!
Just got back from a long time away and saw this thread. I've been interested in trying begonia-seed myself, so I also googled the question of how to grow from seed. I found the website below. It tells you almost more about penguins than you cared to know ;-) ! Obviously a labor of love on the part of "Brad" but the instructions, though complicated, are quite clear. He also notes that it can take months to grow seedlings. Light-wise, he recommends at least 14 hours a day, and stresses the importance of sterilizing all materials and containers.

http://www.bradsbegoniaworld.com/seed.htm

I may just stick to my reliable coleus and pelargonia, coward that I am!
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
Image
kqcrna
Jan 11, 2011 9:07 AM CST

Moderator

Hi, Emily, so good to see you! I'd wondered where you were, now that seed starting season is upon us.

Yes, I found bradsbegoniaworld, too, when googling.

I started one APS-12 unit of begonias about a month ago. Just 6 cells of "Illumination" type and 6 cells of fibrous "Bada Bing". They sprouted in 10-12 days with bottom heat. I guess they're doing OK, but barely growing. They do stay pretty wet in that APS. I guess I'll transfer them to regular cells when they're a little bigger.

I'm going to try one more APS-12 of "big red" begonia, maybe today. It's a dreary, snowy, cold day here. I don't plan to leave the house, so maybe I'll just play in the dirt. As of now, I haven't done anything. Dreary weather makes me dreary, too. It saps my energy. I'm just glad I don't have to work today. It's snowing like crazy. Traffic is awful.

Karen
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
Image
kqcrna
Jan 11, 2011 7:44 PM CST

Moderator

Here are the begonias I started a month ago. Not much growth in a month!

Thumb of 2011-01-12/kqcrna/27e386

Karen
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Jan 12, 2011 7:16 AM CST

Moderator

Karen they look good!!!

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