This is one of the Dig Your Own Begonias
(See also the page on Nonstop Begonias!) Yes, you can grow tuberous begonias where it is hotter and drier but it will be much more difficult. Inland areas should use the more heat tolerant non-stop begonias, buy them as early in the spring as possible and plant lots of ferns, baby tears and other plants to increase humidity. It helps to mist during the heat.
There are other newer different tuberous begonias that can take more sun. TIP: You can make a shade map to help determine what areas get the right. All begonias like good light well drained soil. You can easily find out what kind of soil you have and add what your plants need or put your begonias in pots or baskets.
If you dug your begonias from our field, put them in the shade until you can plant them (not more than 2 days), and plant them about the same depth that they were growing.
Tuberous begonias like to have space between them so that the air can circulate. Planting too deep or planting with too many other plants close up to the stem can cause stem rot. This is where the stems close to the base just turn to mush and rot off due to a fungal disease. Having good air flow helps deter this.
NON-STOP BEGONIAS OR REGULAR GIANT-FLOWERED...WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? Non-stops begin to bloom earlier; they also bloom later in the fall, are more heat tolerant, and have smaller flowers and leaves but more of them. If you have outdoor lights that come on each night near your non-stops, they may keep blooming some all winter. Non-stops are easier to grow and are more heat tolerant, Giant flowered tuberous begonias do best in cool coastal areas in light filtered shade. Both varieties will bloom until late fall.
A note for those of you buying Early tuberous begonias: ask us about lighting and care so your begonias don't fall asleep.
Did you know that tuberous begonia blooms are good to eat? Quite sour, but good with fruit yogurt. And, the double flowers are the boys, the single flowers are girls. Usually 2 girls for 1 boy. Just like life!
Be sure to stake and tie your begonias. They have very brittle stems and can break very easily. Tuberous Begonias go to sleep (dormant) when the days get shorter and the weather gets colder.
IN THE SPRING (sometime in March or April), your tubers should start to wake up. You can give them one good drink and put them in the warmest spot in your garden. It is warmth and moisture, not lots of water that starts the growth. Water gently at first. Too much water will drown your new babies. As the first real leaves appear you can feed the first time with some half strength liquid fertilizer. We hope you are using Weidner's Good Stuff but the truth is that any good well balanced liquid feed will do. After you have three to four leaves going well then you can begin to feed twice a month. After your plants are several inches high you can begin to fertilize. ½ strength the first time. Pinch out the tip of basket begonias for more branches. You can start out your non-stop begonias earlier because they come into bloom naturally at an earlier time. You can try to get your non-stop tubers to sprout as early as January.
IN THE FALL. Sometime in the Fall, your tuberous begonias will begin to look straggly and tired. Let them go to sleep by gradually withholding the water. Do not cut it back, let the stem fall off by itself. It is putting strength back into the tuber for next year. Now you have some choices. We’ll start with the one that seems to give the best result. A lot is just plain luck, but it does help to keep fertilizing well into early Fall.
Here's the options:
#1 Leave it in the pot or basket, lay the pot or basket on its side somewhere in the garden out of the way, and where it won’t get too wet all winter. You can also store in the garage, tool shed, or under the house.
#2 Dig out the whole clump of soil, just like you did here in the gardens. Store in a dry spot and in the Spring, water and wait for a sprout.
#3 Dig up the tuber only (no soil) and store in the garage. Wait until there is only a single stem left, then follow the stem down to find the tuber at its base. Dry the tuber well in a sunny spot, store in shavings or peat moss in a box or bag.
#4 Forget the whole thing and just leave it where it is. Lazy gardener style. What comes up, comes up; what doesn't you forget about. Don’t do this if you live where it really freezes.
REPLANTING NEXT SPRING
Tubers left in baskets or pots. Give them one good drink of water and place in the warmest spot you have. Remember it is warmth and daylight that will wake your tuber up. It does no good and can rot your tuber for you to water a a lot There are no roots yet, there are no leaves yet. Hello...there is nothing there to use extra water! Too much water can rot your tuber and then you have lost it.
For tubers that are stored you can choose between two methods.
Method one is to simply put the tubers bare on a window sill or in a flat and wait to see that little pink bud appear. Then you can pot your tuber in some good soil and let it begin its spring growth cycle.
Method number two is to place your tubers in some good light soil mix with just an inch or less of soil on them. Water them in once and wait to see the growth begin. Either way there is a huge difference in when each tuber decides to wake up.
Finally, what comes up in the Spring, welcome back with joy. Forget about those that didn’t make it, Plants and flowers are for giving happiness, not worries.
Tuberous Begonias grow best in cooler shady areas. In Southern California that is our coastal areas in about 15 miles. The further inland you go the more difficult it will be. We have so many micro climate areas and there is such a difference in gardens it's not a hard and fast rule. Early morning sun or direct sun in late afternoon is OK. The sun that would make you feel too warm if you sat in it for an hour or so is too bright and will burn the leaves.
Feeding and Watering:
If you dug your begonias, be sure to water them lightly as soon as you get home. Water again after you plant. After that, water your begonias when the soil feels dry to the touch down into the soil a little bit. Keep them moist BUT NEVER SOGGY WET! Stem rot usually comes from too much water. Tuberous begonias like to stay on the dry side, so don’t over water! Begonias that were already potted when you bought them are in a lighter soil and will need water more often than the field dug begonias. Watering or misting done before noon will cut down on mildew. The heavier the soil the less often you will need to water. You can begin to fertilize your dug begonias after about 2 weeks. Feed every two weeks for best results. You can use Weidner's Good Stuff’ mix which they are used to, fish emulsion, or any balanced fertilizer.
NonStop varieties have smaller flowers and leaves but more of them and can be used as either semi-baskets or uprights. Giant-flowered California hybrid types have huge flowers, fancy colors, interesting picotee edges. They also come in both hanging and upright forms.
Season(s) Carried at Weidners:
Late spring thru summer.
Container or ground?
Regular and Non-Stop begonia varieties Tuberous begonias are not indoor plants! Plant your begonias outdoors. Use Solenia or Reiger begonias for indoors. Begonias grow best in a light well-drained humousy soil. If you have the kind of soil that can stub your toes....either plant your begonias in raised beds, large pots, OR improve your soil. Six to eight inches of redwood soil conditioner or other amendments dug into your soil will do wonders. Any good light potting mix is okay for your containers.
Watch out for powdery mildew and stem rot. Keep a good fungicide on hand and be ready to counter attack. Give your plants a good breezy, airy place with good light to avoid mildew. Stem rot usually comes from too much water. Tuberous begonias like to stay on the dry side, so don’t over water! The same fungicides will help in both cases, but you must act quickly else it is too late.
The links below are to the instructions we give out at the nursery. This page contains additional and expanded information.