A How-To Guide for Begonias and Gloxinias
Begonias and gloxinias are a favourite among gardeners since they are one of the earlier tubers available for all the eager gardeners out there! Both of these gorgeous flowers can be started indoors, and begonias can easily be transferred into the garden during the summer months when the temperature is warmer. This way you can enjoy the gloxinias and begonias indoors, and then take the begonias outside with you to add colour to your outdoor living spaces. Find begonia and gloxinia tubers in a garden centre near you in February and March!
Their blooms may look delicate and graceful, however both begonias and gloxinias are strong growers and fairly easy to grow. With so many varieties, colours, and forms these are a must to add to your collection.
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How do I start?
If you’re wanting to get a head start on your gardening, start your tubers inside and enjoy blooms all summer long. Start with finding a container with good drainage holes and with well-draining soil.
For Begonias, set the tuber rounded side down and the hollow bowl side up. The rounded shoulders of the tuber should sit even with the soil level. Plant in groups if you’re wanting to create a bigger impact when they bloom. Cover lightly with moist growing medium so that you can still see the rounded shoulders and growing points when finished. Set the tray in a warm sunny location indoors where temperatures average 10-15° C (50-60 °F).
For Gloxinias, plant the tubers hollow side up, about 1/2 inch deep. They do best when planted in singles on their own. They like to have room to grow and don’t enjoy being overcrowded by other tubers. Cover the tubers with soil, set your containers in a sunny location, and wait for the magic to happen!
How often should I water my tubers?
Water is a key part of seeing any plant grow and thrive. However, there is a fine line between too much water and not enough. That’s why it’s important to check up on your tubers and see how their moisture levels are. Water sparingly until the first leaves begin to grow. Once you see growth, make sure the soil is moist but not overly wet. This will create the perfect medium for them to grow in. Begonias and gloxinias like it best if you water their surrounding soil, rather than the tuber and leaves themselves!
Can I bring them outside?
Once all the dangers of frost in your area have passed, you can slowly introduce your begonias to the outdoors. Start slow, with just a few hours, then for a full day, then overnight, and afterwards they can be placed into their final positions! Begonias do best in partial shade, in areas under trees, shady decks, or an area that receives filtered sunlight.
Gloxinias on the other hand, don’t love the great outdoors like begonias do. They prefer to be indoors and are happiest when you nurture them from the comfort of your home. Be careful to water the soil only and not allow any to fall on the leaves, as this will leave brown spots and damage the protective velvety cover. Adding gloxinia to your home can add colour and blooms, making the perfect centerpiece or décor item.
How long will they last?
Begonias will bloom throughout the summertime, right up until the first frost. Keep removing spent blooms all summer to encourage flowering. Gloxinias flourish for months and will naturally go dormant. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!
Are the tubers winter hardy?
Begonia tubers are not winter hardy. Dig them up before the first frost and store them in a warm well ventilated and frost-free area. This way, you can replant them next season, and enjoy their blooms all over again!
Gloxinias will naturally go dormant after a long period of blooming. When the fluffy leaves start to die back, stop watering, and trim the leaves and stems to the base. Allow the soil to dry out and store the tubers for 2-3 months, then repot the tuber in fresh moist soil and start growing again.
Our favourites for this spring:
Begonia Novelty Bouton de Rose
Bouton De Rose has unique blooms, in vibrant shades of pink and white. This double blooming begonia adds texture, colour, and shape to your patio planters and garden beds. Their blooms are attractive to hummingbirds, and our other pollinator friends, making this a garden favourite. Growing to a height of 30 cm (12″), this reblooming Begonia will make your garden glow with its dazzling blooms!
Gloxinia Tigrina Blue
This showy rebloomer has velvety leaves and large blooms with spotted petals and dark purple edges. A dramatic addition to your home and outdoor living space. Growing to only 20 cm (8″) tall, this Gloxinia thrives in containers. This classic florists favourite is super easy to grow and provides blooms all summer long. A must try for those who are looking to get started with some early indoor gardening!