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Cultivating your Tuberous Begonias

Your tubers are dormant when you receive them, in order to get them growing you will need to place them in a suitable medium. Begonias are susceptible to moisture related problems so your medium must be loose and well drained.  Most Begonia growers will use a half and half mixture of peat and sand. At Bloomex we advocate for renewable materials so coco coir or two year old wood shavings mixed with sand is our recommendation. Peat is not a renewable resource and rapidly increasing demand has placed significant pressure on natural habitats where peat mosses naturally occur. Whatever you choice, ensure good drainage.
Place your tubers, hollow side up, into prepared standard nursery trays or containers that are 3 inches deep, leaving room around each tuber to allow for development. Cover each tuber lightly with your starting mixture to help ensure even root development. Maintain moisture but do not over water. Place your tray in a warm location, a heating pad will work wonders, and once your tubers have sprouted and exhibit approximately 3-4 inches of growth you can move them to their summer container or a transplanting pot if they are destined for your border.
As with all art forms, technique and success develop over time. One mistake new gardeners make with Begonias is to neglect to pinch out their young plants. Pinching is what most of the staff at commercial greenhouses are involved with during the early growing cycle and it is directly responsible for the thick, lush plants you will see there.  Younger tubers will support fewer stems than older ones, so leave one or  maybe two on young tubers and three or four on older ones. When you are pinching out unwanted stems, choose dominant  ones and think of the location where your  Begonia will be displayed,  remember that plants have” faces” and we want to see that  face when we interact with them. If you are growing pendant Begonias for containers or baskets, disregard the above and allow all stems to grow.
The next cultural technique you will want to consider is which flower buds you want to remove... yes, that is correct, you want to remove some of those buds. Begonias are Dioecious, meaning they have separate male and female flowers on the same plant. If you examine the bud arrangement closely, you will note a large(er) central bud with two adjacent, smaller buds. The larger is the male and it is the showy double bloom you desire, pinch out the smaller buds to assist the male bud to grow larger.
Your tubers are dormant when you receive them, in order to get them growing you will need to place them in a suitable medium. Begonias are susceptible to moisture related problems so your medium must be loose and well drained.  Most Begonia growers will use a half and half mixture of peat and sand. At Bloomex we advocate for renewable materials so coco coir or two year old wood shavings mixed with sand is our recommendation. Peat is not a renewable resource and rapidly increasing demand has placed significant pressure on natural habitats where peat mosses naturally occur. Whatever you choice, ensure good drainage.
Place your tubers, hollow side up, into prepared standard nursery trays or containers that are 3 inches deep, leaving room around each tuber to allow for development. Cover each tuber lightly with your starting mixture to help ensure even root development. Maintain moisture but do not over water. Place your tray in a warm location, a heating pad will work wonders, and once your tubers have sprouted and exhibit approximately 3-4 inches of growth you can move them to their summer container or a transplanting pot if they are destined for your border.
As with all art forms, technique and success develop over time. One mistake new gardeners make with Begonias is to neglect to pinch out their young plants. Pinching is what most of the staff at commercial greenhouses are involved with during the early growing cycle and it is directly responsible for the thick, lush plants you will see there.  Younger tubers will support fewer stems than older ones, so leave one or  maybe two on young tubers and three or four on older ones. When you are pinching out unwanted stems, choose dominant  ones and think of the location where your  Begonia will be displayed,  remember that plants have” faces” and we want to see that  face when we interact with them. If you are growing pendant Begonias for containers or baskets, disregard the above and allow all stems to grow.
The next cultural technique you will want to consider is which flower buds you want to remove... yes, that is correct, you want to remove some of those buds. Begonias are Dioecious, meaning they have separate male and female flowers on the same plant. If you examine the bud arrangement closely, you will note a large(er) central bud with two adjacent, smaller buds. The larger is the male and it is the showy double bloom you desire, pinch out the smaller buds to assist the male bud to grow larger.