It’s March! Yes,winter is still here. But that doesn’t stop us now from planning our gardens. Summer bulbs are arriving steadily at Caan Floral and I have chosen tuberous begonias as my first spring blog to write about. What is a tuberous begonia you might ask? It is a begonia that is started through a tuber, which is sort of like a bulb. But to grow them takes some planning. First determine when you will expect them to bloom for your garden or containers. These plants will need eight weeks before they can be left outside. If you are not sure, March is a good overall time to start them.
When purchasing the tuber, make sure to choose those that are in good condition, not soft and disease free. A soil less potting mix is preferred for starting your tubers. We carry a great blend called Metro mix, perfect soil for all plant starting needs. Next choose your container, it needs to be about twice the size of the tuber and somewhat deep. Fill the container 2/3s full with the soilless mix and gently tap down on the table surface. Next look at the tuber. You may notice one end has a concave shape. This is the end in which the leaves and stems will germinate. When placing your tuber on the soil make sure the concave side is up. Next, cover the tuber with additional soil until it is covered. Then, tap and gently push down and follow with a good watering. If the tuber is showing after watering, add more soil to cover and water again. Place in a room that is kept around 60 degrees along with indirect sunlight. Keep the the soil evenly moist [not soggy wet] and in about 3 weeks, you should see the soil start to crack. This will be the stem and leaves starting to break through the soil. In about a week, you will begin to see the leaves. Continue to care for the begonia until the roots have filled up the pot. After this has happened it will be time to transplant. A 10 to 12 inch pot is a great size for your begonias new home. When transplanting your begonia be careful not to plant deeper then the level that it is emerging. Leave at least a 1/2″ rim of the pot exposed to prevent soil spilling over the edge when watering. Top the soil with a slow release fertilizer like
Osmocote, or an organic variety from Dr. Earth or Espoma. All of which we carry at Caans. Now, place your newly planted begonia in a sunny location. When danger of frost has passed, move the plant outdoors.
Begonias prefer more shade then sun, so an east area with morning sun would be ideal. Just remember to bring them in before a killing frost, allow them to dry out, and store them away until next year when the process can begin again.
Next week let’s plant some Dahlias!