Tuberous begonias are tough annuals with double blossoms reminiscent of hardy camellia flowers. They grow well in containers and make a good addition to your houseplant collection. Here’s a little known fact: Tuberous begonia blossoms are edible. They have an acidic, sour, lemon-like taste. If you’re going to use them as a garnish, be sure the plants have been grown without pesticides or chemicals.
Garden Plans For Tuberous Begonia
Tuberous begonias feature flowers available in almost every color, except blue and purple. The plants bloom with both female and male flowers on the same plant. The female blossoms appear first, often single petals with a row of exposed flower parts. Then male flowers begin; they are showy and have hidden flower parts. Tuberous begonias bloom all season long, and gardeners appreciate the constant display of color. Tuberous begonias require little deadheading as they drop their spent blossoms. This can cause plants to be somewhat messy at times, especially in hanging baskets as the debris litters the ground below.
Tuberous Begonia Care Must-Knows
As their name implies, tuberous begonias grow from a large tuber, or storage root. It is important that the plants dry out a bit between watering, otherwise the tubers are susceptible to rot. This also makes the plants less than ideal for growing in the ground as they prefer the well-drained soil of potting mix in containers. Their semi-weeping habit favors planting in a hanging basket so the branches spill over the sides. Tuberous begonias are considered big feeders and require more food to sustain their floriferous habit. Apply a slow-release fertilizer along with an occasional dose of liquid fertilizer throughout the summer so the plant can put on the best display of blossoms.
Tuberous begonias generally do best in morning sun and afternoon shade. They are able to handle fairly dense shade with dappled sunlight. Too much sun causes leaf scorching and can damage the tender petals of the plant. Being native to high altitude areas with cooler climates, they perform best with cool nights and shelter from the hot summer weather.
Like most plants that have some sort of storage root system, tuberous begonias usually need a dormant period to encourage flowering. They typically enter dormancy in the fall and winter. During the dormant period, it is important to keep the soil dry as wet soil encourages rot and pests. As the soil warms up in spring, growth will typically emerge from the same tuber.
If you are growing tuberous begonias in the ground, allow these plants to grow as long as possible up to the first frost. At this point, dig up the tubers with a small amount of soil around them and allow to dry in a sheltered location like a garage or shed. Once fully dried and after the stems have broken off, remove any remaining soil from the tuber and store in a cool, dry location until spring.