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GardenSMART :: Do It BIG Begonias

Do It BIG Begonias

By Benary
Photographs courtesy of Benary

The “lack of time” is cited over and over as the main reason why people don’t garden, or limit their time in the garden. Technology was supposed to make work easier, so people would have more leisure time. The irony is that people may have more leisure time, but they choose to spend it indoors using technology. When they do choose to garden, they want plants that are easy to plant, and easy to maintain, and they want it to be fun! They want to interact with their garden, and make it a fun part of their social lives.

BIG® Begonias, are perfect for “no nonsense gardeners” because they are the easiest plant you’ll ever grow! They thrive anywhere from full sun to full shade and even tolerate poor soils! Their well-branched habit provides an amazing show of color all season and will stand up to the hottest summer days and the worst thunderstorms without breaking open. They are quite drought tolerant so they don’t need irrigation in most areas. This means even the most novice gardener can be an instant success with BIG® Begonias.

Growing BIG® Begonias

Since there are about 100,000 BIG® Begonia seeds per gram (over 2.8 million seeds per ounce) you will rarely find them available in a seed packet. But if you do want to start them from scratch, here are some tips:

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Starting BIG® Begonias from seed at home:

  • Use a dome-type or covered germinating tray.
  • Use a potting mix with good drainage and a pH around 5-6.
  • Place 2 BIG® seeds per cell on top of the soil-no need to cover the seeds with soil.
  • You don't need grow lights either. Light is not necessary for germination.
  • Water the seeds well and keep moist until seeds have germinated.
  • Keep the germination tray cover on for the first 10 days.
  • Then take the cover off and let them start to dry out before you water them, but don't let them wilt.
  • Transplant into a larger pot 5-6 weeks after sowing.

If you bought your BIG® Begonia plant from a garden center:

  • Plant outside after all danger of frost has passed.
  • Pick a spot that you want covered with flowers until frost.
  • BIG® begonias can grow in the sun or shade in just about anything that holds soil: A pot, hanging basket; grandma's teapot; rubber boots, a suitcase, or in the ground.

Planting in the ground:

  • Dig a hole in the ground that is two times the diameter and slightly deeper than the pot.
  • Release your BIG® begonia from the pot by squeezing the sides of the pot and gently pulling on the plant.
  • Massage the roots.
  • Place plant(s) in the ground and backfill with more soil.
  • Add a time-release fertilizer to the top or water with a fertilizer mixture.

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Planting BIG® Begonias in a flower pot

  • Chose a large pot (that holds at least a gallon of soil).
  • Make sure there is a drainage hole at the bottom. If not, drill one. For ceramic items, cover the area with duct tape before drilling and use a masonry drill bit (this prevents chipping).
  • Put a coffee filter at the bottom. This will keep the soil in, and your deck clean.
  • Fill the pot with soil almost to the top.
  • Release your BIG® begonia from the pot by squeezing the sides of the pot and gently pulling on the plant.
  • Massage the roots.
  • Place plant(s) in the container and backfill with more soil.
  • Add a time-release fertilizer on the top or water with a fertilizer mixture.

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Now sit back and enjoy the easiest plant you’ll ever grow!

Once plants are established they only need one inch of water per week. You can fertilize them every month if you would like, but BIG® begonias often do very well without any fertilizer at all. No need for deadheading; old blooms will just dry up and blow away.

For a manicured look in a large bed, wait two weeks after planting, then pluck off the branches that stick up above the others. You will have a sea of color just like a professional landscaper did it.

Benary just re-released their Do It BIG Magazine with fun activities, recipes and tips about growing begonias and having fun with them. From making bath salts to a smart phone cover, most projects take just 10 to 30 minutes and can be done at home with family and friends. So have fun with begonias! Just go to to download the full Do It BIG® Magazine.


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By Biltmore
Photographs courtesy of Biltmore

Christmas is a special time at Biltmore, in Asheville, N.C, and has been ever since George Vanderbilt welcomed his first guests to his new home, Biltmore House, in 1895. That year started a tradition that Biltmore’s guests enjoy today. To learn more click here for an interesting article.

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