I am beginning a series of discussions so do not miss any of them. Let?s start with Begonias. Monk Charles Plumier named begonias after a French official in the Louis the 14 government by the name of Michel Begon. It did not truly become important until the Tuberous Begonias were discovered in South America in 1865.
We now have the smaller wax leafed begonias in green and bronze leaf types. I like the Cocktail series and Eureka series. The Eurekas are more vigorous. The Dragon Wing series is a new one that everyone should be growing. Very vigorous and does exceptionally well in containers. A few of the waxy leaf types come from cuttings. Charm is one with variegated foliage. The bronze leafed ones do better in the sun. Vodka, a red bronze leafed variety, is used in many plant signs.
The other wonderful varieties are Hiemalis, Tuberous, and Rex. The Hiemalis have been around a long time but new breeding work the last few years has allowed them to become popular. We like the Rhine series. Tuberous Begonias come from seed and tubers. They have become very popular the last ten years due to better breeding. The entire Non-Stop Series, Panarama Scarlet, and Illumination Apricot are wonderful. The Rex begonias are grown for the wonderful foliage and are used as house plants. I have one that was started in 1977.
Care. The wax leafed types are probably the easiest plant in all of the garden to care for. They can take sun and shade but prefer an eastern exposure. They can be run dry or moist but prefer an evenly moist soil. The Tuberous and Rex varieties need to be watered in the morning so they are dry by nightfall as they are very susceptible to basal stem rot and need shade all day.
Our open house is through today with free hotdogs and popcorn. We close at 5 PM.