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Plant Pick:

Hardy Begonia

Latin name:  Begonia grandis

by Vancouver Island Master Gardener Association

 

Reasonably new to our local gardens, the Hardy Begonia is a track-stopper when you come upon it. 

The olive green, angel-winged leaves are veined with dark red and the plum undersides literally glow when backlit.  The pendulant pinky white blooms are late comers, perfect for fall colour in the garden, starting in July and continuing until frost. 

They prefer moist slightly acidic soils (who doesn’t have that here?!), part shade to full shade but could take morning or late evening sun.  They form a tuberous root system and display a mounding bushy habit that gets more multi-branched each year. 

They show no major issues with pests or disease and can be propagated as most begonias - by leaf cuttings. 

Of particular interest is that mature plants form bulbils in their axils that drop to the ground to bloom next year, so don’t be too quick to cut them back in the fall.  If a cold spell comes early or is predicted, mulch well. 

Don’t give up in the spring when it looks like they’ve given up, late blooming plants are often late to return in the new season.

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Photos courtesy of:  Kim Hammond

Form:

Multi-branched, bushy habit.

Foliage:

Ovoid blade, pointed tips.

Height/Width:

30cm x 20 cm.

Hardiness Zone:

Zone 7.

Exposure:

Part shade to full shade.

Flower colour:

Pink.

Leaf colour:

Olive green on surface, plum beneath.

Flower time:

September on.

Preferred soil

& watering:

Moist, rich organic soil.

Other:

Propagate by leaf blade cuttings or bulbils.

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