A large genus of succulent herbs with tuberous or fibrous roots and showy flowers or leaves. Most of the richly-colored flowers and handsomely-marked leaves are the result of hybridizing by specialists, who have, by cross-fertilizing and high cultivation succeeded in raising the Begonia to the high estimation in which it is now held for indoor and outdoor decoration. The hardier varieties of the tuberous section, and also the Vernon types, make excellent plants for bedding, and the tall stately Begonia rubra, if given a sheltered position, forms grand specimens, especially in our coast counties.
The tuberous Begonia should be much more generally seen in our gardens than it is, as it is very hardy, is easily grown and remains longer in bloom than most of our Summer-flowering plants, commencing to flower early in June and giving a profusion of gorgeously-colored blossoms until late in November.
The Begonia delights in an eastern exposure, a sheltered, partially shaded situation, a light rich loamy soil and plenty of moisture at the root during the growing season. Anyone giving the tuberous Begonia these simple conditions will be generously rewarded for the little trouble and expense devoted to this beautiful exotic.
As soon as flowering is over, the tuberous-rooted species should be taken up, the tubers cleaned and dried in a cool airy shed, and afterwards packed in dry soil and laid away in a cool place until March, when they should be potted singly, in pots a little larger than the tubers, in soil composed of one-third loam, one-third leaf-mold, and one-third sand with a sprinkling of old manure mixed through the compost. Place the pots in a cool frame, and, when the young plants make from four to six inches of growth, plant them out where they are to flower. The Vernon type is propagated by seeds sown and covered very lightly with finely sifted sandy leaf-mold, in February, the young plants being pricked out three inches apart in pots or boxes as soon as they are large enough to be handled, and planted out, about the first of May, where wanted to bloom. They may also be easily increased by dividing the roots of the previous year's growth just before growth commences in the Spring.