Many people may not realise that Begonias grow from tubers or bulbs as many people call them. Growing Begonia bulbs is relatively easy, you can either plant them outside or grow them indoors. I want to warn you that some types of Begonias grow better outside and don’t make good houseplants. In this post we are growing Begonia bulbs that will be planted in the garden and make great shade garden plants.
Once you’ve got your Begonia bulbs you will want to do an inspection. You will be feeling around for softness. If your bulb is squishy, toss it in the trash. You will also be inspecting for mold and if you find a moldy bulb, you will want to also toss it out. If it’s a small amount of mold you can try to plant it, but know that mold spores don’t go away and your soil will likely get moldy too.
Prepare your soil. If you are growing Begonia bulbs outdoors, you will want to make sure your soil has warmed up enough. 60-65 degrees and higher is best for starting bulbs outside in ground. Add some fertilizer to the bottom of the hole before putting in your bulb, cover, then add water in.
If you are starting bulbs indoors, you will want to use a soil mix that is light and fluffy like a seed starting mix; alternatively, you can use potting soil with added Vermiculite or Perlite to add extra drainage to the soil. Make sure you use a pot that is 1 inch – 2 inches bigger than your bulb. If you are planting multiple bulbs in a pot, you want to make sure they have about an inch of space between the bulb and the sides of the pot.
TIP: You can also start your bulbs in flats. Add soil or damp peat moss to a flat tray. Set your bulbs on top and don’t cover. Once it’s past your frost free date, you can plant your bulbs in the garden or pots.
Which way to plant?
Believe it or not, there is a right and wrong way to plant begonia bulbs. Begonia bulbs can be quite confusing to determine the top and the bottom. The top of the bulb will have a cavernous space or a dip in the bulb.
The bottom of the bulb will be round and have dried root hairs. You will want to plant the solid round area towards the bottom of the pot or hole you dug. Once you’ve got your bulbs potted, cover with 2 inches of soil then water them in.
Water your pots when that first two inches of soil has dried. Bulbs can quickly rot when kept too wet for periods of time. When your bulbs begin pushing growth above the soil, continue with the same watering routine and your plants will thrive.
Keep the potted bulbs in a warm sunny room to help them wake up. They don’t need direct sunlight but bright light is helpful to help wake the bulbs.
Begonias are easy-going garden plants that thrive in shade and have gorgeous foliage and blooms. They are a must-have for the garden, and now you can start growing them from bulbs!