Rosemary's Garden - Summer Begonias

Long-lasting begonias are a wonderful choice for bringing a stunning array of colours into your summer garden.

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Adorn your outside space by displaying upright or compact begonias in borders and containers and trailing or cascading varieties in hanging baskets. The flowers grow round and full with both male and female blooms, Some come in bright, vibrant colours and others in more subtle pastel shades and they are often fragrant.

However, tuberous begonias are tender and cannot be put outside until the danger of frost has passed. Tubers can be planted from February until June. Put them into shallow trays and as soon as the shoots are about 2 cm long pot them on in 15 cm pots and then plant them in larger pots as the roots reach the sides.

Alternatively, begonias are readily available to buy as plug plants or garden ready plants online and from garden centres.

You can plant them in sun or shade. These showy plants like a cool spot out of the midday sun in temperatures between 15-20C so they are very useful for a semi-shady spot. It is worth remembering, however, that the sunnier your chosen site, the more vibrant the colours will be.

Feed them every two weeks until the blooms begin to fade and make sure they are watered regularly. Begonias love moisture and will need quite a lot if it is hot. Luckily, the flowers are resistant to both wet weather and heat.

Other great things about begonias are that they are easy to care for and do not need deadheading. And as well as their beautiful flowers many varieties have attractive and interesting foliage. You will need to lift and store them for the winter.

There are so many to choose from. Apricot Shades has large, cascading double blooms in apricot and lemon. It will excel whatever the weather, in sun or semi shade, and its trailing habit gives a spectacular show in hanging baskets and window boxes.

Another good choice is Destiny Pink which has large double pink flowers with rich dark brown foliage while Apricot Sparkle is a vibrant orange trailing begonia suitable for baskets. 

Inferno has a profusion of orange-red flowers that spill over smaller veined leaves. It is perfect in a container. Glowing Embers is compact and semi-cascading with purple-bronze foliage and luminous orange blooms. Try it in both baskets and containers. 

Compacta is a non-stop flowering variety in red, yellow, orange, coral, pink, cream and white that gives a stunning display in pots, borders and beds all summer long and Starshine Mixed is a trailing begonia with white or red flowers.

Love Birds, dark pink and bred for hanging baskets, is eye-catching. Amber Delight offers large double blooms in shades of orange, red, gold and yellow. Double Stars is a trailing variety with star-shaped blooms.

 

Top Ten Jobs for June and July

  1. June is the time to put out your hanging baskets and containers of bedding plants. Water them daily, feed weekly and keep deadheading.
  2. Deadhead peonies but allow the leaves to die back naturally.
  3. Prune deciduous magnolia once the plant is in full leaf and lightly prune rhododendrons after flowering.
  4. Plant out begonias, cannas and dahlias and finish planting out gladioli.
  5. Prune clematis montana rubens after flowering, early honeysuckles, pyracantha and flowering quince.
  6. In July clip over lavender bushes taking off the dead flowers with their stems and the top few centimetres of long new shoots.
  7. Deadhead roses as they fade. If you are going on holiday remove open flowers to prevent hips developing. Do not feed roses after the end of July. 
  8. Look after your clematis all summer long by keeping roots in the shade and removing any blackened tips.
  9. As the flowers on your penstemons fade, cut them back to just above a bud for more flowers.
  10. By the end of July plant autumn-flowering bulbs such as autumn crocuses, colchicum, sternbergia, amaryllis and nerine.

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