Balcony Begonias: A Guide to Growing and Caring for These Colorful Plants
Balcony begonias are an excellent choice for brightening up your balcony with lovely flowers that are simple to cultivate and care for. Balcony begonias are a collection of begonia types that have been specifically developed to grow in containers and hanging baskets. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes and may bloom from spring through fall if properly cared for. In this post, well teach you how to cultivate and care for balcony begonias, as well as how to reproduce them for more plants.
What are Balcony Begonias?
Balcony begonias are not a specific type of begonia, but rather a term that refers to any begonia that can be grown in pots or baskets on a balcony. They belong to the Begoniaceae family, which contains over 1,800 species and 10,000 cultivars of flowering plants. Begonias are native to tropical and subtropical regions of the world, and they are popular as ornamental plants for their showy flowers and foliage.
Types of Balcony Begonias
There are several different varieties of begonias that may be grown on a balcony, but the most frequent are tuberous begonias and semperflorens begonias.
Tuberous begonias get their name from their fleshy, thick roots that store water and nutrients. Large, double, or single blossoms resembling roses or camellias. They are available in a variety of hues, including red, pink, yellow, orange, white, and bicolor. Some tuberous begonias have petals that are fringed or ruffled, while others have smooth or wavy petals. Tuberous begonias are typically 12 to 18 inches tall and broad.
Wax begonias and bedding begonias are other names for Semperflorens begonias. Their flowers are small, round, and can be white, pink, or red. They also have glossy leaves that are green or golden in color and contrast with the blooms. Semperflorens begonias are bushy, compact plants that grow 6 to 12 inches tall and broad.
Growing Balcony Begonias
Growing balcony begonias is not difficult if you follow some basic guidelines. Here are some tips on how to grow balcony begonias successfully.
Choosing the Right Location
Balcony begonias need a location that receives bright but indirect light. Avoid placing them in direct sun, as this can scorch their leaves and flowers. Also avoid placing them in deep shade, as this can reduce their flowering and make them leggy. A good spot for balcony begonias is one that gets morning sun and afternoon shade, or filtered light throughout the day.
Soil and Fertilizer
Balcony begonias need a well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. You can use a commercial potting mix designed for flowering plants, or make your own by mixing equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and compost. You can also add some slow-release fertilizer to the soil at planting time, or use a liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season. Balcony begonias prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
Watering and Drainage
Balcony begonias need regular watering to keep their soil moist but not soggy. Overwatering can cause root rot and fungal diseases, while underwatering can cause wilting and leaf drop. Check the soil frequently and water when the top inch feels dry to the touch. Use a watering can or a hose with a gentle spray nozzle to water the plants thoroughly until the excess water drains out of the bottom of the pot or basket. Make sure the pot or basket has drainage holes and a saucer or tray underneath to catch the excess water.
Light and Temperature
Balcony begonias need moderate temperatures to grow well. They can tolerate temperatures from 50F to 85F (10C to 29C), but they prefer temperatures from 65F to 75F (18C to 24C). They do not like extreme heat or cold, so protect them from frost in winter and from scorching sun in summer. You can move them indoors during harsh weather conditions or use a shade cloth or an umbrella to cover them.
Caring for Balcony Begonias
Caring for balcony begonias is not hard if you follow some simple steps. Here are some ways to keep your balcony begonias healthy and beautiful.
Deadheading and Cleaning
Deadheading is the process of removing faded or spent flowers from the plant. This helps to keep the plant tidy and encourages more blooming. To deadhead balcony begonias, simply pinch off the flower stem at its base with your fingers or use a pair of scissors or pruners. You can also remove any dead or damaged leaves or stems from the plant.
Pest and Disease Control
Although balcony begonias are generally resistant to pests and diseases, they can still be affected by aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, powdery mildew, botrytis blight, and root rot. Keep your plants healthy by providing them with excellent growth conditions and frequent maintenance to avoid these issues. If you observe deformed leaves, sticky honeydew, white fluff, gray mold, or brown patches on the roots, treat them as soon as possible with an appropriate pesticide or fungicide.
Propagation is the process of creating new plants from existing ones. There are three main methods of propagating balcony begonias: seed propagation, cutting propagation, and division propagation.
Seed propagation is the method of growing new plants from seeds collected from mature plants. This method is suitable for tuberous begonias that produce seeds after flowering. To propagate balcony begonias by seeds:
Collect the seeds from the dried flower heads after they turn brown.
Sow the seeds in shallow trays filled with moist seed-starting mix.
Cover the seeds lightly with more mix and mist them with water.
Place the trays in a warm place with bright but indirect light.
Keep the soil moist but not wet until the seeds germinate in two to four weeks.
Transplant the seedlings into individual pots when they have two sets of true leaves.
Grow them until they are ready to be moved outdoors.
Cutting propagation is the method of growing new plants from stem cuttings taken from healthy plants. This method is suitable for semperflorens begonias that produce new shoots from their stems. To propagate balcony begonias by cuttings:
Cut off a healthy stem tip with at least three nodes (the points where leaves emerge) using a sharp knife or pruners.
Remove the lower leaves from the cutting and dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder (optional).
Insert the cutting into a small pot filled with moist potting mix.
Water the cutting well and cover it with a plastic bag or dome to create a humid environment.
Place the pot in a warm place with bright but indirect light.
Keep the soil moist but not wet until roots form in four to six weeks.
Remove the cover and grow the cutting until it is ready to be moved outdoors.
Division propagation is the method of growing new plants by dividing an existing plant into smaller sections. This method is suitable for tuberous begonias that produce multiple tubers (the swollen roots) under their soil surface. To propagate balcony begonias by division:
Dig up a healthy plant at the end of its growing season when it starts to go dormant.
Shake off any excess soil from its roots and tubers.
Cut off any dead or diseased parts from the plant using a sharp knife or pruners.
Divide the plant into smaller sections with at least one tuber each.
Dust the cut surfaces with fungicide powder (optional).
Replant each section into a new pot filled with fresh potting mix.
Water each section well and store them in a cool place until spring.
Resume watering and fertilizing when new growth appears.
Balcony begonias are wonderful plants that can add color and charm to your balcony garden. They are easy to grow and care for if you provide them with suitable conditions and regular maintenance. They also offer various options for propagation if you want more plants for yourself or for sharing with others.