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How to Sow and Grow Begonias

Growing Begonias From Seed
Fill a seed tray with seed compost, lightly firm it down and water until moist but not saturated with water. Begonia seeds are very small, so it is best to mix the seeds with fine sand or dry compost and then spread the mixture onto the top of the moist compost.

Do not cover the seeds with more compost, but cover the container with cling film or any clear polythene.

Place the container in a shaded or dark position in a warm room in the house. The ideal temperature is 20 - 22C (68 - 72F), although the temperature in an evenly heated house should be OK. Watch the seeds daily for emerging begonia seedlings - this normally takes about two weeks. As soon as the seedlings appear, remove the polythene and place the tray in a light position (a windowsill is suitable).  For the first couple of weeks, it is essential to keep the seedlings out of direct sunlight, it will scorch and kill them. If the window sill is cool, cover the container with a cardboard box at night, but remember to remove it each morning.  When the seedlings are large enough to handle (about 2cm / 3/4 inch), prick them out from the seed tray and repot them in 7cm (3 inch) pots.

Which Variety?
For use as bedding, tubs and pot plants, it is hard to beat the begonia 'Ambassador' F1 mixed, which is available from Dobies as a 'coated' seed, making it much easier to sow - it's an excellent variety for the novice gardener. Another excellent variety is 'Non Stop', another F1 hybrid which is available from Suttons.

'Ambassador' F1 mixed

For hanging baskets, 'Illumination Mixed' F1 trails well and provides masses of colour. It's available from Moles Seeds.

For the patio in a place sheltered from wind and full sun, 'Pin Up Flame' F1 grows into an upright and compact plant with strong bicoloured flowers. Again, this is available from Moles Seeds.