It if you intend to start begonia seeds indoors in time to obtain blooming plants for your summer garden, you have to start really early, in January or early February. Yes, in the middle of winter!
Begonia seeds are however tiny and dustlike, very hard to grow successfully… and the conditions in our homes at that time of year – what with short days, weak sunlight and rather cool temperatures – really aren’t ideal for such tender seedlings. And if the seeds of wax begonias (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum and B. x benariensis) are difficult, multiply that tenfold for the very capricious tuberous begonia (Begonia x tuberosa): it’s quite a challenge to grow from seed under home conditions, even for an expert!
The Laidback Solution
So why not make a laidback gardener of yourself and let the professionals grow your begonias for you? Limit yourself to sowing seeds that are easier to handle, in other words, most vegetables and almost any other annual otherthan a begonia!
Instead, wait for late spring, when the frost is out of the air, then buy begonia plants at the nursery. Sure, it will cost you a bit more, but at least you’ll have guaranteed results!
If Still You Think You Can Handle It…
You still want to try growing begonias from seed? (Some people are gluttons for punishment!) Your local garden centers may not yet have set up its seed displays for the season early enough in the year for you to be able to buy begonia seed locally. You may have to order them by mail. Here’s a good choice of seed catalogs that carry begonia seeds: Garden and Seed Catalogues: an Inexhaustible Source of Discoveries.
In tomorrow’s blog, I’ll give you a few tips so you really can successfully grow begonias from seed.