IN THE GARDEN: Begonias are ideal for shade

  • Mar. 2, 2011 6:00 p.m.

The past few days have been good ones for me. I had an amarylis that really gave me my money’s worth. It produced three stems: one with four blooms, one with five blooms and one with six blooms, so 15 blooms in all out of one bulb.

I have had a couple of calls from folks who enjoyed the trailing begonias I had last  year. When you are selecting bulbs, be sure they are firm and with some weight. They should also show some sign of buds. I suggest you use 12-inch diameter  hanging baskets. A 12-inch diameter basket holds double as much as a 10-inch. There are some excellent potting soils available. I suggest you add a heaping tablespoon of bone meal to each basket, but avoid high-nitrogen plant foods. Do not cover the begonia tuber. If you have a good greenhouse, you can start them early. I find a starting date of March 15 to 20 is early enough. As soon as the weather warms above freezing, get them outdoors in good light, but no direct hot sun, as they are a shade lover.

An advantage begonias have is that no insects wants to feed on them. Do not use any sprays such as diazinon. If you see some mildew forming, a little soap and water and a very small amount of baking soda will clean it up.

Okanagan Gardens and Roses meets March 14 at the Schubert Centre at 7:30 p.m. Visitors are always welcome at our meetings.