|The Begonia genus consists of hundreds of species but only one category, tuberous begonias, comes within the scope of this site. Modern tuberous begonias are not a species of one of the greatest tropical plant families, but are the creation of horticulturalists and are botanically described as Begonia tuberhybrida. No other flower has so many ancestors as these large-flowered hybrids descended from many species native to tropical South America.
All make excellent indoor plants, but they are mostly known as bedding plants or for use in borders, hanging baskets and containers. The name Begonia comes from Michel BÃ©gon (1638 - 1710), intendant of San Domingo, later governor of Canada, who was very active in botany. When Charles Plumier, a French botanist and monk, described the first Begonia in the early 1700s, he chose to honor Mr. BÃ©gon by naming the Begonia for him.
Flower colour: red, white, pink, orange, yellow, purple, apricot, bicolours.
Flowering period: June - October
Average plant height: 25 - 40 cm
Planting depth to base of bulb: just covered with soil
Spacing between bulbs: 15 cm
Type of bulb: tuber
Light requirements: grows best in light shade, direct sunlight causes burning of flowers and leaves (AM sun to 50% shade)
Landscape uses: borders, beds and pots
Begonias are not winter hardy. They cannot tolerate exposure to frost. In spring, plant them out after the last threat of night frost. (Many people start up begonias indoors 4 - 6 weeks before planting them outdoors to get a "jump" on the season and produce earlier blooms. In fall dig up the bulbs before the first night frost and store them, layered in peat or vermiculite, in a cool dry place, for replanting the following spring.
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