Begonias are some of the most beautiful, visually interesting plants you can grow indoors. However, they can be a bit picky about light and water, though not overly delicate, making them a great intermediate-level plant project. Here’s what you need to know.
Choose the Type of Begonia To Grow
First of all, select the variety of begonias to grow. There are two basic types of begonias – one is grown from seed and another is grown from bulbs or tubers. Choose the bulbs if this will be the first time you are growing this plant. Growing the begonias from seeds is a bit difficult since it is smaller. On the other hand, begonia bulbs are larger and sturdier.
Since you are growing begonias in containers indoors, then you should choose the indoor variety. Indoor varieties can be grown in both seeds and bulbs. They are also available in different colors and varieties. Begonias are annuals, however the bulbs can be possibly saved and replanted at a later time.
Prepare Your Soil for Planting
Begonias will be able to grow better in a soil-free garden mix than in a typical dirt soil. Therefore, before you start growing begonia indoors, prepare a mixture of 1/3 of soil-free potting mix and 2/3 peat moss mixtures. Choose the potting material that is slightly acidic or relatively neutral in the pH scale. Begonias love acidic and well-draining environment and this is what the peat moss mixture can provide.
Plant the Begonia Bulbs
Place the peat moss mixture into the container that you will use to grow begonia. Dig a hole in the middle just enough for the bulb to fit in. Place the begonia bulb in the hole you have dug. Allocate a hole on each and every bulb. You can plant them close to each other if you wish.
Cover the bulb with only a few inches of the soil and potting mixture. Break the bulbs a bit before planting if you are growing small begonias in containers.
Place Near the Window To Get Enough Light
Proper location is a must when growing begonias in containers. Place the plant in a place that is bright and receives indirect sunlight. Consider growing your begonia beside a window. Avoid placing them on the southern windows during the months of February until September since too much light will be getting inside during these months.
Water the Plant
After only a few weeks, you’ll notice your begonia plants will start growing. Water the plant regularly. Begonias will need a bit of extra watering right after they are planted. Thus, one of the most important indoor begonia care tips is to make sure you water it regularly. Give it heavy watering so that the soil will remain moist but not drenched.
Deadhead the Begonia Flowers
To ensure successful growth, you need to learn how to care for begonias. One of the most important indoor begonia care tips is to deadhead the flowers. Eventually, you will notice that the flowers of your begonia plant will start to turn brown and will soon die. This is when you need to apply deadheading.
To do this, cut and pull all the heads of the dead flowers to encourage new growth and to divert the nutrients to some other parts of the plants. Remove all dead buds at the end of the begonia’s blooming season. Leave the green leaves behind. This way, the nutrients that the plants have gathered will get stored at the bulb for the next season of growing, instead of helping those flower bulbs that already died.
Aside from removing dead flowers, you also need to trim off the broken stems and dead leaves in order to promote new growth. Dust off the leaves if needed.
Begonia Care and Tips
In order to ensure success, here are more tips in growing begonias:
• Skip the seeds – as mentioned above, seeds are a bit difficult to grow. Therefore, use the bulbs instead when it comes to growing begonias.
• Provide afternoon shade – observe the sun patterns in your garden. That way, you can grow the begonias in an area that’s capable of receiving plenty of afternoon shade.
• Keep the soil most – begonias love moist soil. Therefore, it’s highly advised that you mist the soil using a spray in between feedings. However, be very careful not to saturate the soil because this could lead to disease and rot on the roots.
• Feed the plants often – begonias are able to respond well on fertilizer, most especially after the first planting. Feed the begonia once after you plant and then continue with weekly feedings at the first few weeks of growth.
• Deadhead often – deadhead the plants as often as you can. The dead blooms could kill your plants if you leave them longer.