begonias are well suited to mixed containers or as
a monoculture with their bold look.
remember the day we all walked into Benary seedís
plant trials in California and saw the BIG begonia for
the first time. We knew immediately this plant was
something special. My thoughts were centered mostly on
whether I could capture a photographic image that would
tell the story.
pretty much failed that day for a couple of reasons.
First I was in a crowd that was enamored with the
begonia and rightfully so. This innovative breeding of
an angel wing and a fibrous begonia had given us the
dawn of a new day in begonias for the landscape. But I
also failed to capture an image that would tell the
story because in a long hot summer this begonia is even
better than what we were looking at that day.
speaking, the nomenclature is Begonia x benariensis and
this breeding from Benary gave us the BIG and also gave
us the Whopper. If you havenít grown BIG it is as the
name suggest, absolutely HUGE. The plants reach 24
inches plus in height with a spread of 24 inches. There
are scads of reports where they have grown even larger,
but this will give you a starting point.
Begonias now come in 5 colors, three with green leaf and
two with bronze leaf. The newest in the lineup is BIG
Rose with green leaf. The bronzed leafed varieties can
tolerate full sun but I can tell you in Savannah, GA
where we have a lot of dappled or shifting sun during
the day itís absolutely perfect for all of the BIG
you choose to grow in full sun or partial-sun, the soil
should be fertile, organic rich and well drained. Work
in 3 to 4 inches of organic matter, turning the soil to
a depth of about 8 inches. While tilling, add two pounds
of a slow-release, 12-6-6 fertilizer with minor
nutrients per 100 square feet of bed space.
BIG begonia plants 12 to 15 inches apart in the
landscape. Keep them well watered and feed monthly with
light applications of the fertilizer. In containers and
baskets, use controlled-release granules or dilute water
soluble 20-20-20. Apply a good layer of mulch to
conserve moisture, deter weeds and keep the soil
plants are ever-blooming with dark bronze or green
leaves that have the ability to form an almost dwarf
shrub-like appearance. They lend themselves to stunning
landscape performance when planted en masse. Use them as
a filler plant in large mixed containers or as a
monoculture in decorative pots and they will simply
dazzle on the front porch or patio.
begonias have the ability to make partial shaded beds
look like Martinique or the volcanic island paradise of
Saba when combined with plants like bananas, cannas,
elephant ears, fatsia, gingers, or hostas. If you grow
the giant leopard plant or farfugium a cluster of BIG
begonias may be just what you need for companionship.
have long been the standout performers of the summer
landscape. You certainly have choices now from those
that are short and diminutive to those that are BIG.