With the large selection of different begonias, there is something for everyone. Here’s what to look for when planting begonias.
Begonias ( Begonia ) are incredibly versatile: With their colorful flowers, they bring summer freshness to your home or decorate the shady corners of your garden. Some of the plants even love full sun and can make your balcony shine. And so that the tropical beauties also thrive optimally in you, the right planting is the first step.
Begonias: origin and characteristics
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Begonias mostly come from the rain and mountain forests of the tropics and subtropics. The hot tropical sun is caught above them by the large leaf roofs of the trees. There, in the lower layer of the forest, on the mighty branches of old trees or rocks and water, the conspicuously crooked leaves of the begonias blend into the lush green of the vegetation. It is humid there all year round and the temperatures only fall a little lower more frequently in the mountain forests. The begonia feels comfortable under these conditions. So to stimulate a begonia to flower magnificently, you should do everything you can to make the plant feel at home.
Most of the begonias are at home here: in the humid forests of the tropics and subtropics
When to plant begonias
If you want to put your begonia outdoors, it is best not to do so before May 16. Because although they are perennial, begonias planted out, except for a few species, do not survive the local winter. Even the so-called ice begonia ( Begonia semperflorens ) is not frost-tolerant. So you better wait for the ice saints before you plant the sensitive plant in the ground. To bring the plants through the winter, you have to dig them up again in autumn before the first frost. The only exception here is the Japanese slate ( Begonia grandis var. Evisiana), which can withstand freezing temperatures in protected places and is therefore one of the hardy begonias.
The right location for begonias
Begonias have incredible biodiversity. So it’s no wonder that the demands on the location are diverse. The soil or substrate should be slightly acidic and have a pH value between 5.5 and 6.5. Since many begonias bloom abundantly, they need sufficient nutrient-rich substrate. Humous garden soil with a good addition of compost corresponds exactly to the wishes of the plants. As for the light, the begonias like it bright, but not too sunny. They come from tropical forests, where the sun shines more intensely, but the plants are protected from strong sunlight.
A location in partial shade or even partially in the shade is therefore exactly the right thing. You can also put the plants under trees or bushes to protect them from the blazing sun. Only the ice begonias are an exception: They also thrive in direct sunlight without being damaged. Good thing, because they are predestined for sunny balconies and shadowless terraces. In fact, with sufficient water supply, they become even more beautiful in the sun than in partial shade or shade.
Begonias mostly prefer shady spots. Only the ice begonia prefers a pleasant sunbath
The correct approach to planting begonias
You can plant begonias in your garden, keep them in pots or cultivate them as house plants. If you put the plants outdoors, you should choose a cloudy day for it. If you did not overwinter the plants in your house, they were grown in large greenhouses. The plants are therefore not used to radiation from the direct sun. In the midday sun, they quickly get sunburned. Ice begonias that are to be planted in the sun can only be placed in the shade outside for a few days because even there the radiation is already higher than inside.
Use nutrient-rich and humus-rich garden soil for planting the begonia, ideally enriched with a good portion of the compost. Planted begonias will also benefit if you put some good compost soil in the dug hole before you put the plant in it. If you put the plant in a bucket or pot, you should make sure that it has a drainage hole for excess water. After planting or potting, you should press the soil lightly so that the begonia stands securely. Finally, all that is missing is the casting.
Leave about 20 cm of space between the individual plants so that they can develop into a healthy sea of flowers
Caring for begonias after planting
After planting, the begonia is well supplied with nutrients from the fresh soil for the first few weeks. Start fertilizing again after two weeks at the earliest. The plant is of course thirsty anyway and should be watered regularly. You can find out everything about the correct care of begonias here.
Popular begonia species include ice begonias ( Begonia semperflorens ) and elatior begonias ( Begonia x hiemalis ), which we present to you in more detail in our special articles.