It's time to plant Tuberous Begonias for an aristocratic display of summer colour fit for a king. Modern hybrids include singles, doubles, crested and camellia flowered forms, pendulous basket varieties, one type even looks like a daffodil!
Some varieties are covered with masses of small blooms while others are giants in a huge range of shades. They are easily grown in a glasshouse, sunroom, sheltered veranda or porch, bush house or outdoors in sheltered spots.
Dappled or partial shade gives best results but they need plenty of bright light just short of scalding summer sun. While excellent for bedding, they are almost unrivalled as container plants.
Plant the tubers with the indented cup facing upward at or just beneath ground level with one tuber to a 10cm pot. Larger containers usually produce larger plants.
For a really spectacular mass display plant a number of tubers in a tub or planter box.
Compost, leaf mould and loam, mixed with 1/4 sand with a handful of blood and bone, some powdered cow manure and a dash of slow release fertiliser is the perfect mix.
Provide a cool, moist atmosphere with good air circulation. Liquid feed to boost bloom size and remove old blooms to prolong the display.
To keep the spectacular tuberous begonia flowering well into the autumn, feed weekly with a complete liquid plant food.
Quantity, size, and colour of blooms can be enhanced by adding extra phosphorous and potash. Gently does it as these delicate plants burn easily.
Keep moderately moist but never wet. Provide good air circulation. Morning sun is the best position.
As the late summer sun wanes, attempt to give them a little more direct light. As older stems begin to fade, cut them back severely to just above a leaf node with a side shoot.
This shoot will usually develop into a new flowering stem. Strong, healthy stems cut just below a joint or with a tiny bit of basal tuber will often strike at this time of year.
Rub a bit of charcoal dust or fungicide into the wounds to stop any rot then plant into a sandy potting mix.
Place the pots in a partly shaded and sheltered spot. The baby tubers formed will flower next year.