25 December 2012

Tuberous Begonias - A Christmas Gift

Tuberous begonias come with many varieties of leaves and flowers.  This plant was first hybridized in 1870 from other species gathered in the Andes mountains.  They are grown in the landscape as well as in pots.

Tuberous begonias need bright, indirect light all day, but a little morning sun or late afternoon sun is fine.  They like evenly moist, well drained soil.  They do not like the soil to dry out.  Begonias want a little dormancy in the winter, so cut back on watering in the winter.  They are also frost-tender, so keep them out of freezing or near-freezing weather.

In spring, begin fertilizing with a diluted, complete liquid fertilizer every two weeks, or once or twice with a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

Make sure begonias have good air circulation, but keep them protected from wind.  Sometimes poor air circulation leads to a fungal disease called powdery mildew.  As its name suggests, it will look like a white powder covering the leaves.  As a preventative, you can spray a mixture of one tablespoon of baking soda per one gallon of water once a week.  Once the fungus develops the only treatment is a commercial fungicide.

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