How to Grow Wax Begonias

Plants & Flowers
Growing Wax Begonias

Wax begonias are gorgeous plants that you can grow in your garden or your home. The best thing about these gorgeous plants is that you can easily start them directly from seeds. It is a great method because it gives you a lot of freedom. It also allows you to start your plants in winter or early in the spring so that the new begonias are ready to be planted in the garden when it's warm enough. Once you plant begonias in your garden, it is important to take a good care of them so they can thrive and give all those rich, beautiful flowers.

Simply germinate the seeds in a plastic container (as described in part I of this article) and watch seedlings grow until they are strong enough to be transplanted. You will know that they are ready when they develop at least one or two true leaves. This is the time to move them to new containers where they can grow strong enough to be transplanted to the ground in your garden.

Growing New Begonias

Once your new begonias have at least a few true leaves, it is time to transplant them to the new containers. If you transplant them in the greenhouse, simply put the seedlings in flats of soil. In the house, plant them into individual small pots. Small plastic containers are ideal for those who wish to grow begonias in a window garden. These containers are great because they are inexpensive, light, easy to handle and look very attractive when placed on the windowsill.

If you wish to grow more plants, keep in mind that it's possible to group 10 to 12 plants in a six or eight inch community bulb pan or pot.

There is no special potting soil you need for transplanting: a popular mix from the local garden center will do. Keep in mind that begonias like rich but loose soil. The one that is rich in organic matter works the best.

If you transplant your seedlings at least 2 inches apart, they can probably stay in that container until May or early June. This is when you should take them outdoors to plant them in the garden. However, in case they become crowded in their containers, make sure to move them to individual pots. Another possibility is to take a few from each flat and pot them to use them in your window garden or in the greenhouse. You can also give these begonias to your friends.

When your new begonias are about five or six weeks old, give them some light house plant fertilizer. This will promote growth and treat your new plants with much-needed nutrients.

How to Grow Wax Begonias: Useful Tips

Here are some useful tips on how to grow wax begonias in your garden or home:

  • Wax begonias are ideal plants for outdoor gardens but you may also grow them in your home or in the greenhouse. If they receive sufficient amount of sunshine, their leaves will get a shiny bronze color, which gives these plants very striking appearance.
  • When you plant begonias in the border, make sure to plant them close together. This will give them a mass effect. Make sure to plant about 4 to 6 plants in each planting. It is best to use the same variety so their color can truly stand out.
  • Once your new begonias are about four months old, you can expect them to bloom. If you take a good care of them you will be able to enjoy those wonderful flowers in no time. A group of begonias will give color to your home or garden from June until the September cold weather. The best thing is that this color comes both from the flowers and foliage.
  • It is possible to take cuttings from your begonias if you wish to start new ones - not all begonias need to be started from seed.
  • To have a nice window garden, simply take a few cuttings and place them 2 to 3 in each six inch pot. A bulb pan or a squatty pot seem to work the best because begonias have roots that spread out instead of growing down.
  • To prepare your begonias for winter, use pruning. You can prune your begonias severely both above and below the soil line. When you do that, place them in flats of soil in which you can winter them. Make sure to place them in the greenhouse or inside of your home.
  • If you wish to grow begonias in the garden, it is best to start new ones each winter or in very early spring.
  • There are many different varieties of begonias that you can use. Semperflorens begonias come in these main categories: dwarf, medium and tall. Dwarf varieties are 6 to 8 inches tall. Medium ones as 9 to 11 inches tall. Tall varieties are over one foot tall.
  • Begonias grow beautifully with some other shady border plants, such as impatiens, summer blooming oxalis, caladiums, coleus and tuberous rooted begonias.
  • Keep in mind that all types of begonias can be grown from seed. Even the most demanding and difficult to grow varieties have the same procedure for germination and transplanting.

Photo credit: Zaheer Baksh Photography

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