tuberous and other begonias

Jim McKenney
Tue, 07 Jul 2009 12:24:25 PDT
When I was a kid one of the neighbors grew tuberous begonias in a big way:
he had a border about thirty  feet or so long planted thickly with them. He
kept this up year after year in spite of the fact that tuberous begonias do
not as a rule grow well here.  Once the really hot weather (hot nights)
arrives, the begonias typically quit although they do not die. 


There are however begonias which do well here, and over the years I’ve been
patiently waiting for someone to develop tuberous style begonias which
tolerate our eastern summers. When the Non-Stop begonias were introduced,
they seemed to be a step in that direction. 


I was visiting a local nursery recently and saw a big display of Hyemalis
Hybrid begonias. With a name like hyemails, I would not expect these to do
well here. Also seen for sale: Rieger begonias. I can’t imagine these being
good in our summer conditions either. On the other hand, I think both the
Hyemalis Hybrids and the Rieger Hybrids have Begonia socotrana in their
background – and if any begonia can take heat (dry heat at least), it should
be that one. 


I’ve also just become aware of a new hybrid group of summer blooming
begonias, the Solenia begonias. I have a hunch that these are grown from
cuttings and are not tuberous, but I’m not sure. Nor am I sure how suited
they are to our local conditions – but I’m seeing them used by professional
garden people in public bedding plant displays in full sun. The ones I’ve
seen are very beautiful – especially the one called ‘Velvet Red’. 


Can anyone tell me more about these Solenia begonias? I Googled the name and
found the site for one of the wholesale distributors – but I didn’t see much
there of interest to the home gardener. Have any of you grown these? Can you
give me an idea of what to expect? Will they quit during the July muggies? 


Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

My Virtual Maryland Garden



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