Begonia bedding plants: Our buying and care guide to these vibrant blooms

Here is everything you need to know about buying and caring for Begonia bedding plants

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by Ellen Kinsey |

Begonia bedding plants are a fantastic choice for beginner gardeners, and bedding plants allow you to get creative and test out new designs each year.

Bedding plants are particularly versatile and can be planted in beds, hanging baskets, containers and window boxes. Begonia bedding plants come in all shapes, sizes and colours and will quickly fill your containers and hanging baskets with beautiful splashes of colours. They are also very affordable and will transform your outdoor space at very little expense.

What are begonia plants?

Begonias grow into big, bushy plants covered in large, frilly flowers that bloom through summer and autumn until the first frost of winter comes in. Many varieties have cascading effects as they spill over the edges of pots and baskets, while others are highly scented and bring an abundance of fragrance to a seating area.

Begonias are striking perennial plants that live for more than two years. Although they do have a reputation for being a little old-fashioned, there are now new bold new varieties that differ from the delicate plants traditionally used.

How to plant begonias

In March or April, you can purchase begonia tubers in a garden centre or from online stores. According to Gardeners' World, the best way to plant begonias is to 'plant the tubers into individual pots or the hollow side in a seed tray. Plant 2.5cm deep and keep in a warm spot at least 18 degrees centigrade. Once the leaves begin to show, pot on into larger pots filled with John Innes No. 2 compost or peat-free, multi-purpose compost.'

Most of the begonias we have selected are pot-grown plants or plugs. This is a more straightforward method to grow in a greenhouse or sunny windowsill and harden off before planting them out in the garden in May when all the risk of frost has passed before planting outdoors.

In autumn, you can dig up tuberous begonias and keep the tubers in a cool, frost-free spot to preserve them over the winter.

Bright flowers of tuberous begonias (Begonia tuberhybrida) close up in an English in garden
Bright flowers of tuberous begonias (Begonia tuberhybrida) close up in an English in garden

How to take care of begonia bedding plants

Most bedding plants prefer a place in the sun, but a few will thrive in the shade. Grow begonias in peat-free, multi-purpose compost in spotted sunshine or partially shaded area. Avoid south-facing areas as the foliage can burn in direct sunlight. If you're growing begonias in a greenhouse, some shade may be required to help them thrive.

Tuberous begonias are excellent for growing in pots and hanging baskets. They have relatively brittle stems and heavy blooms, so grow them in a sheltered spot. On the other hand, foliage begonias are best grown as house plants in the shade.

Plant tubers of tuberous begonias in the springtime. Only plant begonias outside in May, when there is no more chance of frost.

You should water the plants regularly and feed them weekly with a high potash fertiliser like tomato feed. Keep plants well-watered but allow the soil to dry out between waterings – this is especially important for tuberous begonias, which can rot in waterlogged soil. Alternatively, add a slow-release fertiliser pellet to the compost when planting. Do not feed tuberous begonias in September, as the plants should be encouraged to slow down for the year.

Our pick of the best begonia bedding plants

Begonia Plants - 'Fragrant Falls - Apricot Delight' 

Begonia Plants Apricot Deligh

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Sweet apricot Fragrant Falls have stunning colours and a lovely fragrance. With double blooms and fabulous perfume, these showy flowers are perfect for planting in baskets, window boxes or flower beds. They come in various forms or four or eight jumbo plug plants.

Begonia Non-Stop Summer Bedding plant 

Begonia Non Stop Summer Bedding

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Pretty in pink Ideal for containers, hanging baskets, or in the ground in partial shade, these begonias can come in orange, deep red, pink, white and yellow. It comes in a pack of six.

Begonia Plants - Belleconia Soft Orange - 3 Jumbo Plug Plants 

Belleconia Soft Orange

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Vibrant orange These versatile flowers can be planted in flower beds and borders and look wonderful potted around the patio. These flowers will produce spectacular cascades of beautiful pink and orange and create a real talking point in your garden. It comes in either three or six jumbo plug plants.

Begonia Non-Stop Rose Petticoat 

Begonia Non-Stop Rose Petticoat

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Rose pink These eye-catching flowers have a tuberous form and produce a lovely plant with deeply frilled white flowers, light pink markings and deep pink edges. You can choose to deliver the flowers in 12 or 36 plug plants or 15 to 30 garden ready plants.

20 x Begonia Garden Mini Plug Starter Plants  

Begonia Garden Mini Plug Starter Plants
Amazon

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Little wonders This starter pack contains 20 red, pink and white begonia plugs. Germination is the hardest part of growing plants, and this part has already been done. You get 100 per cent germinated seedlings which are in a 7.5cc plug.

Begonia Nonstop Fire 

Begonia Nonstop Fire

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Blazing flame You can choose to deliver the flowers in 24 or 72 plug plants or 15 to 30 garden ready plants. Resembling roses with their packed rows of brilliant petals in shades of gold and orange, these flowers will reach a height of 20-30cm in June-October and spread 30-40cm.

Begonia Organdy Mixed 

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Immaculate blooms This Begonia Organdy mix of flowers bloom from July until October and produces bundles of blooms in pink, red, white, and light-yellow shades. This Begonia is excellent for growing in containers and would work well on a patio, balcony or deck. You can choose for it to be delivered in various ways from six, 24, 36 or 72 plug plants or 15 to 30 garden ready plants.

Begonia Nonstop Joy Mocca White 

Begonia Plants white

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Snow white These gorgeous blooms will continuously flower all summer long and into autumn. The stunning white flowers with attractive dark foliage come in 15 or 30 garden ready plants.

Begonia Bonanza Bundle 

Mixed bundle

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Carnival colour If you are looking for a collection of the most popular begonias, look no further. You can choose between 30 or 60 tubers. Begonia Bonanza Bundle comprises of Begonia Nonstop (10 tubers), Begonia Apricot Shades (10 tubers), Begonia Cascading Fireball (5 tubers) and Begonia Nonstop Berries & Cream Mix (5 tubers). Each plant boasts amazing fiery colours that will keep your containers, hanging baskets and window boxes fizzing with colour.

Begonias care buys

Here are all the begonia care items we have mentioned throughout the article.

Levington John Innes No 2 Compost 30L for Repotting Young Plants 

Levington
Amazon

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This unique combination of 14 vital minerals is perfect for maintaining your plants' growth and health.

Gro-Sure 6 Month Slow Release Plant Food, 2 kg 
 

Gro-Sure 6 Month Slow Release Plant Food
Amazon

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This slow-release plant food is ideal for pots, containers, beds, borders and hanging baskets.

Doff Tomato Feed Fertiliser High Potash  

Doff Tomato Feed Fertiliser High Potash
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To keep your flowers thriving, water them regularly and feed them weekly with a high potash fertiliser like this tomato feed.

Miracle-Gro 119766 Premium All Purpose Compost, Peat-free 

Miracle-Gro 119766 Premium All Purpose Compost
Amazon

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This peat-free all-purpose compost feeds plants for up to three months. These smart granules only release plant feed when conditions are warm and moist, leaving you out of the hard work.

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