Native to moist subtropical and tropical climates, begonias are a perennial flowering plant that belong in the family Begoniaceae. This genus contains over 2,000 species, making it one of the largest genera of flowering plants. Some of these begonia species are commonly sold and grown as houseplants, others are cultivated outside in the summertime for their bright and colorful flowers. Most species require warm temperatures, after all they are tropical plants. Tuberous begonias usually have a dormant period. During this period, the tubers can be stored in a cool and dry place.
There are many varieties available for the average gardener. Bright colors and variations in petal formations make for quite a spectacle when begonias are display. They can be directly planted in the ground, or easily grown in hanging baskets, window containers, and pots.
Many gardeners opt to start their begonias indoors, or inside of their greenhouse. To do so, start about eight weeks prior to transplant using a container that is between three to six inches deep. Select a loose and well draining soil. If needed, improve drainage by adding sand to your mix. Small stones can be placed at the bottom of your tray to further improve drainage. Identify which side is the top, and which is the bottom of the begonia tuber. To do so, look for the concave side. This is the top of the tuber where the plant shoots grow from, and should be planted facing up. The convex, or rounded side is the bottom, where the roots develop. Be sure to plant begonias in the right direction or they will not survive. Gently nestle them in the soil, but do not bury them. Place a small amount of soil on top of the tubers, allowing the tops to still show just slightly above the surface. Water the trays so that the soil is moist. Keep in a warm location (around 64°F) with sunlight, and check the soil for moisture every few days, careful not to overwater. In about three to four weeks, the begonias will start to produce green shoots. At this point, they can be transplanted outdoors as long as all danger of frost has passed. Frost is a tender begonias worst enemy.