Bright orange flowers all season long. Great for containers and hanging baskets.
We're huge begonia fans here at Hillcrest Gardens--it's a large and diverse group of beautiful plants. Most gardeners are familiar with the traditional wax leaf begonias or tuberous begonias, but there are many more types out there. One of our favorites is the boliviensis species. As the name implies, this begonia species was discovered growing in the mountains of Bolivia in the 19th century. It was crossed with other types of begonias to produce the first hybrid tuberous begonias 150 years ago. The boliviensis species was nearly forgotten for a long time but has very recently made a big comeback.
Boliviensis begonias are shade tolerant and do best in less than full sun. Morning or late afternoon sun is ideal. Although these begonias are surprisingly heat tolerant, they would prefer some shade during the hottest part of the day. They are also surprisingly drought tolerant--in fact, it's important to avoid over-watering. They don't like to be totally dry for long, but always let them dry a little between waterings. Good drainage is important; excessive sogginess can quickly lead to root and stem rot.
The best thing about boliviensis begonias is their incredible range of vibrant colors set against exotic looking foliage. They don't require deadheading, though they might benefit from a bit of trimming once or twice during the season if they start to get leggy. Their semi-pendulous habit makes them well suited to containers and hanging baskets.