Really getting a shift on now:
All doing well now, even the one on the left whose main leaf I knocked off by accident (oops!). I’m still keeping them indoors at the moment because the weather has been very up and down and I’m not wanting to cause any checks to growth. I’ll give it another few days then start the hardening off process ready for planting outside in containers at the beginning of June.
As for my large tuber, it is finally getting going:
I was beginning to think that nothing was going to happen because the shoots that had started into growth seemed to have simply stopped in their tracks, but I potted it up anyway and that appears to have given it a shove. Mind you, at the rate it’s going I’m not expecting flowers any time soon – November, probably!
A few days ago I felt it was time to move my begonia tubers into individual pots, so I dug them up to find this:
This one was the best of them, but they all had promising root growth so I’m hopeful that they will grow on well.
I potted them into plastic pots of Miracle Gro multi-purpose compost, the pots being just wide enough to contain the tuber + roots. I swithered about adding anything into the mix for extra drainage, but in the end decided not to because this compost seems pretty free-draining as it is – time will tell whether that was the right decision!
I’ve placed them by my north-facing patio door so they’re getting reasonable albeit indirect light. Daytime temperature is in the mid-to-high teens centigrade at the moment so I may consider putting them outside during the day in a little while: I find that once they get going my tuberous begonias soon outgrow my tiddly little windowsills and are better off going outdoors as soon as temperature allows. I do have to lug them back in again over night of course – there can be frosts right into May around here – but with no greenhouse or conservatory I have limited options and need to make the effort.
I haven’t potted up the single big tuber yet because that seems to be moving very slowly. Perhaps in another week’s time it will start to take off, we’ll see!
Well, here we are 3 weeks on. First, the single large tuber, sporting at least 7 shoots that I can see:
then the 3 smaller ones:
By the looks of it, the top one of the group of 3 is pretty much ready for potting into a properly-drained pot as there are roots appearing above soil level that ought to be covered (when the tubers are potted up they should be covered with a little compost because they apparently root from the top as well as the base).
This is the point at which I usually manage to get things wrong and end up with tubers that simply sulk and refuse to grow any further, so I shall have my fingers firmly crossed from now on!
I’m not very successful at keeping begonia tubers from year to year. It’s partly ignorance I suspect, but also, I don’t really have an ideal place to keep them ie., nowhere cool but frost-free. I’ve no greenhouse, no conservatory, no unheated spare room, and the loft doesn’t seem suitable because they manage to rot off when I put them there. The best I can do seems to be a cold cupboard (against an external wall in my kitchen) but it’s probably a bit too warm there. Hey ho.
Still, I’ve succeeded in keeping 4 alive from the 6 that I saved last year, so that’s not too bad: now the only problem is how to get them back into growth because I’m not too hot at that either, lol!
I’ve been inspecting them periodically for the last couple of months looking for signs of new shoots and was delighted when the first smattering finally appeared a few days ago. This is my signal to remove them from their paper bags and place them, hollow side up, in shallow trays of moist compost, like so:
(they’re a bit tricky to see so I outlined them in yellow dots!) There are no drainage holes because the tubers won’t be staying long – just until they are obviously into good growth, then I’ll plant them into individual plant pots with proper drainage. Both trays will be covered with clear plastic and placed on a north facing windowsill which should provide decent light and hopefully won’t be too cold.
In a few weeks I should have 4 nice, strongly-shooting plants to pot up – with any luck!