The white iron hanging basket was one of the last in stock, and I’d planted it last year with ferns and begonias. It had looked beautiful through the growing season – until it dried out a couple of times too many. It happens to the best of us!
So I decided to replant it with the remaining ‘Escargot’ begonia, a beautiful blue-green patterned begonia that, yes, has the perfect name. I lined the entire basket with green sheet moss, replaced all of the potting soil, and added some Osmocote slow-release fertilizer.
Next I added a couple of purple shamrock, a bit of fern, and the beautiful and foolproof pilea glauca ‘Aquamarine’ to trail…and, voila, it was finished. It’s happily growing in the greenhouse and hopefully will find a home this spring.
While some might turn up their nose at the plain old bedding plant begonias, those and other members of this family of plants are undemanding and useful flowering beauties perfect for containers in our hot and humid climate.
The patterned leaved begonias are best used in shade plantings or in some filtered sun. All on their own they are stunning in a container or mixed with some ferns and the addition of trailing torenia, angelvine, and/or creeping jenny. Many more beautiful combinations can be made playing off the foliage color.
Those with the prettiest leaves are the rex and rhizomatous begonias. They can grow to substantial proportions and will need even moisture through the season, though they do not like soggy soil.
There are now plants sporting much larger blooms and leaves too. These have names like Whopper begonias, Dragonwing Begonias, and a smaller variety (and a favorite of mine), Baby Wing begonias.
Easy to grow and a winner for our climate, don’t pass them up on your next plant shopping trip!
Begonias are heat lovers. Wait until at least mid-April before planting bedding plants in garden beds, and take care not to over- water young transplants.
By Kris Blevons