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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Begonia grandis

Today's perennial spotlight is on a wonderful plant for late summer into fall. Begonia grandis is more commonly known as the hardy begonia. Yes, it's a begonia and yes, it's a perennial here in my zone 6b garden on Long Island.

My perennial begonias are just starting to bloom now, they will continue to bloom until we have a frost, even prettier than the blooms are the wonderful seed pods that follow. I was sure I had a photo of them in my files but just spent 10 minutes looking and couldn't find one. (Note to self, start organizing those thousands of photos so you can find things!)

Here's a closer shot of the blooms, I'd like to take some more photos but right now we are experiencing strange weather. The sun is shining and casting shadows and it's raining at the same time, very odd...

Anyway, as you can see here, the blooms are typical for a begonia. What's even more exciting about this plant is that the underside of the leaves are more beautiful than the topside. They have the most beautiful red veining and when the wind catches them and them moves them about you can see their true value.

Here's one of the combinations I have in the garden, the hardy begonia and the very late daylily 'Royal Jestor'.

Those of you who read my posts often will know that my favorite garden tip is that if you want your garden to bloom through many seasons, you need to shop for plants through many seasons. Some plants just wouldn't sell in early spring, certainly the case for this begonia as it doesn't emerge from the ground until at least late May and doesn't look like anything in the pot until June.

The good news though is that it seems to be quite easy to transplant if you move it in June. This year I only had three or four for sale, next year I plan on having more. I've been moving it to different locations and if you leave those lovely seed heads alone, they will scatter a few seedlings around for you. One word of caution, leave yourself a reminder in spots where you've planted this beauty, otherwise you might disturb the area while in the frenzy of early spring gardening.

Over the next few weeks I'll try to get more photos as the seed pods emerge.

Off to see what's blooming today,


  1. I never knew about hardy begonias! So pretty, I'd love to add some to my garden!

  2. A great perennial here in southern Missouri Your pictures are beautiful.

  3. I am desperate. These native begonias grew outside the kitchen door of my grandmother's grandmother and before that into the 1740's here in western Maryland. They did best on the north and east sides of our home in Rockville, MD., where we had moved them in the 1980's. Not realizing that they do not grow from the root, but rather from the seeds in the seed pods, I harvested every last seed pod and mailed them to family who wanted some of "grandmother's pink lacey begonias" in their gardens too. Needless to say I am very distraught as this year instead of 20 feet of begonias growing along the edge of the lawn, under the azelias, we have - plain mulch and not much else. Our leaves were big as tea saucers, - about six inches across, and dark green. The flowers would grow. branching out until they were nearly a foot of pink blossoms. They would die on the first frost, but as we let the seed pods lie where they fell, they would return each spring. The black seeds in the pods, were black, much in appearance like chia seeds, like a pencil point. Some grew in Michigan, the middle of the Lower Peninsula, from plants we moved ourselves.


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