My Everchanging Garden

Gardening That Grows With Me

Sun Begonias Deliver In The Heat

My new favourite annuals are sun begonias. I’ve always liked begonias but with very little shade, and our hot dry and often humid summers, they just don’t do well in my yard. Enter what to me are new sun begonias. I picked these up at a local greenhouse this spring and have not been disappointed. Vividly colorful, heat and drought-tolerant, these plants last in containers and hanging baskets and bloom non-stop.

Bonfire – Hot and Heavy

Bonfire Begonia Scarlet

Scarlet Bonfire begonia hangs over a large planter.

Bonfire begonias tolerate heat and humidity not even blinking at several 36C humid sticky days this summer. It performs like a trooper, with brilliant, dramatic color. Blooms are self-cleaning and seem to never stop. Bonfire requires little maintenance, just a watering each day but it is drought tolerant. I have not seen my Bonfire Begonias droop at all on hot days, even if I have been a bit late in watering. Bonfire will grow in the landscape but a word of caution — if you have deer they really like it. Our resident deer found a pot of Bonfire further out in our landscape and while the plant is still there I haven’t seen a bloom or new growth since they found it. They have not however touched the purple petunias planted underneath. Bonfire apparently will tolerate heat more than cold so may not last long into fall but can be overwintered, something I’m going to try.

Solenia Begonias – Roses Without The Effort

Solenia Begonia with mint

Solenia Begonia with mint on our kitchen patio -- pretty and tasty!

Another new find at our local garden center was these red Solenia Begonias. Solenia Begonias have been around for a while but are just coming to our area. While they do not have as many blooms as Bonfire, they are just as vivid and long-lasting. They survive in full sun and high humidity. The only deadheading I have had to do has been to remove a few browned flowers after a rain. Be sure they are true Solenia Begonias. I purchased a couple similar sun begonias at the garden center from a nearby grocery store since I was short two and they have not performed as well. While they are surviving, they crisp up soon and are not growing as prolifically.

What I love about these Solenia Begonias is that they have the look of roses on the patio, without the effort. Roses just don’t work in our area — what the humidity doesn’t get, the japanese beetles finish off.

Solenia begonias are apparently easy to propagate from unrooted cuttings something I will try to do this fall.

I’m just happy to find an annual that loves the sun as much as I do.

Sun begonia with heliotrope

Solenia sun begonia with Red Star Cordyline and Heliotrope

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