on my mind – tuberous begonias

I bet it would be hard to find a gardener who hasn’t grown begonias at some point in his or her gardening lifetime. The tuberous begonia is very popular and more widely cultivated than the other 1300 species and their cultivars combined. It’s a wonderful thing to see the vibrant rainbow of colours light up the shadiest of gardens.
My mother grew begonias every year. Most of the potted tuberous begonias for sale at the nurseries have been grown from cuttings, therefore don’t have enough time to produce a tuber in our notoriously short summer season. So she never could dig and store them over winter to have again for next season. Every June she would buy a dozen red begonias to plant around the hostas under a maple tree in our back yard.

The lovely scent of these begonias is amazing. I got to see and smell the newest cultivar from Blackmore & Langdon called John Smith at a nursery last year. The most beautifully soft coral-pink colour you will ever see on a flower. There were only a handful for sale and the price nearly knocked me to the floor – I believe for one plant it cost $65. I’m sure is worth every penny, being very high-quality [and if they are properly cared for] can last at least five years making it more economical in the long run.

John Smith is named for one of the breeders who is now working with the fourth generation of Langdons. It shows yet another begonia breakthrough  with being the first upright fragrant begonia rather than the usual pendulous blooms.

 I would really like to try germinating begonia seeds. I have heard the good [cheaper and economical] and the bad [much skill and patience]. I am not an experienced gardener, but I feel the urge to indulge my spring fever. The Blackmore & Langdon website sells perfumed pendulous begonia seeds in mixed colours and I’m very tempted. Perhaps I should read all the information I can first before I give the seeds a try so I know what I am getting myself into. For now, I’m really wanting to add Sunrise tuberous begonias from the Scentiment series to my garden. Ahh, I can smell them now.

photo credit – GAP gardens

7 thoughts on “on my mind – tuberous begonias

  1. Oh, I hear you on those begonia prices…saw them myself when looking at catalogs. Unreal. I was lucky last year – at a friend’s wedding they had potted, beautiful tuberous begonias on the dinner tables as centerpieces, and we were all encouraged to take one home. I got two. 😉 They were gorgeous all last summer, although one died toward fall. I saved both bulbs, dried them out, and I’m really hoping they’ll come back for me this spring!

  2. I love begonias! It is 70 degrees and sunny here, I am itching to get out and plant some things – just dig around in the dirt a bit. You have inspired me to try some more begonias this year. I have some indoors but haven’t tried them outside yet.

  3. Erin, have you tried root or stem cuttings? It’s way cheaper and you can get an exact copy of the parent plant. Plus, the really cool thing is once you have one plant, you can have as many more as you want for no additional cost!. Got to love that. Check out Brad’s Begonia World for detailed instructions. and let me know how you make out.

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