How To Grow & Care For Begonia × Tuberhybrida: Full Practical Guide

Family: Begonia × Tuberhybrida belongs to the Begoniaceae family

Bloom: Abundant, from summer to late autumn.

Growth: fast.

Light: depending on the variety (there are varieties that are more resistant to the bright summer sun than others). In indoor conditions, bright diffused light is better suited.

Temperature: For normal flowering, depending on the variety, usually at least 10 ° C.

Watering: regular summer, without overdrying. During the dormant period, the substrate with wintering tubers is occasionally moistened.

Air humidity: preferably high. Spraying is recommended for plants planted in containers.

Topdressing: in order for Begonia × Tuberhybrida to develop foliage, after planting, they need to be fed with potassium nitrate two or three times with an interval of seven days, and then with a full complex fertilizer with low nitrogen content.

Pruning: fast-growing ampelous begonias are pinched to form side shoots.

Dormant period: in winter. It is advisable to store the tubers in sand or peat, at temperatures around 12 ° C. The resting period lasts about 3-3.5 months. To avoid drying out the tubers, occasionally the substrate is carefully moistened.

Transfer Begonia × Tuberhybrida Plant : annually at the end of the dormant period.

Reproduction: tubers, cuttings, seeds (less often).

Tuberous begonia ( Begonia × Tuberhybrida). Herbaceous plant with a thick underground tuber-rhizome, succulent translucent stems, height from 20 to 80 cm. Leaves have a regular arrangement, heart-shaped, asymmetric. 

Flowers, depending on the variety, are simple, semi-double, double. Colors from white to dark red, yellow, orange, except for shades of blue, blue, violet. Flowers are heterosexual, monoecious, that is, male and female flowers are located on the same plant. 

The flowers are non-double, semi-double and double in shape. With additional pollination, tuberous begonia forms well seeds, which in 1 year contain from 80 to 120 thousand. Flowering occurs from May to November. For the winter, begonia loses leaves, enters a dormant period.

The name Begonia × Tuberhybrida was proposed by A. Woz since there was a large group of hybrids, as well as mutations from them, united by the presence of a perennial tuber. 

According to various sources, from 6 to 9 species participated in crosses, but the Bolivian begonia ( B. bolimensis ) is considered the main one. The first hybrid varieties were marketed in England in 1869 and were grown in greenhouses as flowering indoor plants. Belgian Louis Van Hutt was the first to cultivate begonia outdoors. 

The varieties and hybrids of the gigantea group are distinguished by the greatest variety in the shape of flowers and petals . Double flowers resemble camellia, peony or anemone. The petals of large flowers can be highly corrugated or assembled ( crispa form ), as well as cut or fringed ( fimbriata form ).

A special place is occupied by ampelous Begonia × Tuberhybrida ( B. pendula flore pleno ), which were obtained by crossing various forms of the multiflora group . 

They have semi-double and double graceful flowers on thin drooping pedicels. But their advantage is not only in decorativeness – they tolerate the sun well, bloom early and profusely. Therefore, they are readily used in flower beds.

Begonia × Tuberhybrida varieties

Tuberous begonia (Begonia x tuberhybrida Voss) belongs to the genus Begonia ( Begonia L.). According to various sources, the genus includes from 400 to 1000 wild plant species of the Begoniaceae family, growing in tropical and subtropical regions of America, Africa and Asia. Begonia × Tuberhybrida was first introduced in Santo Domingo in 1690 by the botanist Charles Plumiero.

Begonia × Tuberhybrida: Plant Care

Dependence on growing conditions

The ratio of Begonia × Tuberhybrida to light is different. Plants with small flowers thrive in sunny places, and large-flowered plants grow better in partial shade. 

The ampel forms have the same thing: the smaller the flower, the better the plant feels in the sun. Both tall with large flowers and ampelous begonias should be planted in places protected from the winds so that fragile succulent shoots do not break.

Due to its complex hybrid origin, the ratio of different groups of begonia to tuberous temperature conditions is not the same. If, in general, this plant can be considered more thermophilic than ever-flowering begonia ( B. semperflorens ) , then the most heat-demanding varieties are large-flowered begonias , and relatively cold-resistant – heterotic hybrids of the floribunda group, which bloom well at around 10 ° C, while large-flowered begonias weaken at this temperature, and the buds may crumble. 

None of the varieties of Begonia × Tuberhybrida can stand even light frosts. Plants especially suffer from cold winds, they can blacken the edges of the leaves. But even hot dry weather does not promote good growth and flowering. 

In dry, heated soil, the roots stop growing and may die completely, flowers, leaves and buds fall off, and an almost bare stem remains. Begonia × Tuberhybrida reacts poorly to low air humidity.

All begonias are moisture-loving plants, with a lack of moisture, their leaves become dull, and the buds fall off. But excess moisture causes the appearance of various rot.

In the open wind, plants suffer more, especially dark-leaved varieties and hybrids. It can be assumed that only heterotic hybrids with medium-sized flowers can grow in open flower beds.

The Right Soil for Begonia × Tuberhybrida

Tuberous begonias are demanding on soils, thrive on loose and nutritious, neutral soils. Heterotic hybrids are less moody and can grow on denser soil.
For adult plants, the best mixture is 3 parts deciduous soil, 1 part peat and sand. It is advisable to add 1 part of rotted cow dung to such a mixture.


It is better to plant Begonia × Tuberhybrida in open ground in early June. On closed loggias, it is possible earlier – in mid-May. If the temperature drops, it must be covered.

Purchased seedlings, including flowering ones, can be kept at home on a light window, but not in the bright sun, providing them with sufficient moisture.

When planting Begonia × Tuberhybrida, you need to very carefully remove the seedlings from the pot, especially if they are overgrown, since the juicy stem can easily break. 

Seedlings from seeds are buried 1-1.5 cm lower than they were in a pot. Tall seedlings and tuber-derived plants should be planted 2-2.5 cm deeper to maintain stability. 

It is recommended to put slowly dissolving fertilizers containing potassium and phosphorus into the hole and shed well. It is better to plant tall varieties of begonias in flower beds at a distance of 30-35 cm from each other, compact hybrids – by 25-30 cm. In containers, especially imperious forms, they are planted every 10-15 cm.

Care for Begonia × Tuberhybrida

The main thing in caring for Begonia × Tuberhybrida is proper watering. To maintain flowering in hot dry weather, water it early in the morning, but not with cold water. 

With daily watering, burns appear on the leaves, and subsequently, they fall off. If you water overheated soil with cold water, the roots die.

To increase the resistance of plants when the heat comes, they need to be sprayed with growth substances (humate, epin, zircon). 

It is advisable not only to water the begonias in containers, but also to spray them with warm water in the morning and in the evening.

In order for Begonia × Tuberhybrida to develop foliage, after planting, they need to be fed with potassium nitrate two or three times with an interval of seven days, and then with a full complex fertilizer with low nitrogen content. Excess nitrogen causes the plants to stretch and in wet weather contributes to their decay.

Until the plants grow, keep the soil loose and remove weeds.

Tall begonias with large flowers should be tied to small pegs so that they do not break in the wind or during heavy rains.

In containers, fast-growing ampelous begonias are pinched to form side shoots. In addition, so that the shoots do not rot with strong thickening, it is recommended either to distribute them in the container, or to remove the excess and weak ones.

Overwintering, reproduction by tubers

At the end of August, before frost, it is necessary to decide what to do with the Begonia × Tuberhybrida further: leave it at home for further flowering or dig it up to get the tubers. 

In the first case, the plants are transplanted into a pot, preserving the root system if possible. In the second, without cutting off the stem and leaves, they are dug out with the largest possible lump and placed for drying in a well-ventilated shady place protected from rain.

With a short autumn day, the leaves gradually dry out, and the nutrients from them enter the tuber. Thus, a large tuber is formed within one month. In industrial cultivation, in addition, at the time of mass flowering, flowers are removed from plants.

At the end of the growing season, the Begonia × Tuberhybrida should be covered overnight from frost with paper, gauze or plastic wrap. After flowering, Begonia × Tuberhybrida goes into a dormant state. 

During this period, watering is reduced, and the plants are transferred to a dark place. After about 1–1.5 months, the aerial part of the begonia dies off, after which the tuber is left in the ground for another 2-3 weeks. 

After that, the tubers are dug up and placed in a box with sand or peat. The substrate in which the tubers are stored is slightly moistened from time to time so that the tubers do not dry out. 

The box with tubers is kept in a cool room with a temperature of 12-14 ° C. 2-3 months before planting in balcony boxes, tubers are removed from the sand and planted in pots with soil. 

The tubers have a top and a bottom. On the upper part, which is flatter or concave, there are buds that look like bumps and bumps. The lower part is smoother, slightly convex, roots will form on it after planting. 

Begonia × Tuberhybrida temperature

Tubers germinate well at a temperature of 22-24 ° C and regular watering. Old tubers can be cut into 2–4 pieces so that each piece contains 3–4 buds. It is advisable to sprinkle the cuts with charcoal powder.

When buying tubers, you need to pay attention to their size and appearance. The diameter should be at least 3 cm; in ampelous small-flowered begonias it is slightly smaller. Well-peeled tubers at the top should be smooth and firm.

Seed reproduction

Begonia × Tuberhybrida seeds are very small. To get them, flowers are artificially pollinated, for which pollen from male flowers is transferred with a brush to the pistils of female flowers. 

To get blooming begonias in summer, the seeds must be sown in December-January in leafy soil, and do not sprinkle with earth.
The dishes with the planted seeds are tightly covered with glass in order to prevent the top layer of the substrate from drying out. 

The optimum temperature for seed germination is 22-25 ° C. The earth is periodically moistened. The glass needs to be opened from time to time so that there is no excess moisture and mold. Seedlings appear in 14-16 days.

Begonia × Tuberhybrida

They dive in the state of two cotyledon leaves into deciduous soil at a distance of 2 x 2 cm at a temperature of 20-22 ° C, after which they cover with glass for 2-3 days. When the leaves are closed, a second pick is made at a distance of 4 x 5 cm, and then a third – after 6 x 7 cm.

The soil mixture for the second and third picks is made up of 2 parts of deciduous, 1 part of sod land and peat, as well as 0.5 parts of sand (pH of the mixture is 6-6.5).

After the third pick, when the leaves close, the begonias are planted in 11-13-centimeter pots with a lump of earth, adding 1 part of deciduous soil, a little bone meal and pounded dry cow dung to the mixture.
After planting, watered abundantly, slightly shaded.

Begonia × Tuberhybrida

Often begonias are tall and unstable. To avoid this, during the formation of 5 leaves, the plants are sprayed with a growth regulator (retardant) – chlorocholine chloride (0.5% solution, 20-30 ml per plant), which inhibits growth. Under its influence, the plants have a compact, low bush with numerous flowers.

Young plants are planted in balcony boxes after the spring frosts have ended, at a distance of 20 cm from each other.

With seed reproduction, plants bloom 135–150 days after planting.

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Propagate Begonia × Tuberhybrida by cuttings

When propagating Begonia × Tuberhybrida by cuttings from well-developed plants, the apical part of the stem 6–10 cm long with several leaves is cut off. 

Begonia × Tuberhybrida propagation

The lower leaves on the cut cuttings are removed, and the place of cut is sprinkled with charcoal powder, after which the cuttings are planted in the sand, watered and covered with a glass jar. 

The jar needs to be lifted from time to time to avoid excessive moisture. The cutting takes root in about 2–3 weeks. After that, it is transplanted into nutrient soil. 

The advantage of propagation by cuttings overseed propagation is that the plant obtained in this way retains all the characteristics of the mother plant.

Indoor culture of The Begonia × Tuberhybrida

Begonia × Tuberhybrida indoors

At home, Begonia × Tuberhybrida, bought by seedlings in a pot, will bloom in the summer on a fairly bright window, but not in the sun. If the pot is placed in soil or peat and watered moderately, it will provide normal moisture for growth and flowering.

If the Begonia × Tuberhybrida is unnecessarily shaded or placed on the northern windows, it stretches out and loses its decorative effect.

It is much better to bloom begonias in boxes on a shady balcony or on a balcony floor. Plants in pots and boxes require regular feeding with full complex fertilizers. In such conditions, Begonia × Tuberhybrida grown from tubers feel better and bloom more abundantly.

Possible difficulties

Powdery mildew and gray rot can occur both outdoors and indoors. Powdery mildew appears in hot, humid conditions. Gray rot – more common in cold, damp weather. 

Begonia × Tuberhybrida

In both cases, it is necessary to remove diseased leaves and increase ventilation. In case of severe damage to the plant, it should be sprayed with special preparations.

The plant is stretched due to a lack of light and nutrients, or too tight a container.

When dry or waterlogged, the earthen coma is affected by powdery mildew.

In cold and damp conditions, gray mold can appear – it is necessary to improve ventilation.

When damaged by leaf rot, its plaque and brown spots appear on the leaves (you need to remove the damaged parts and treat the plant with a fungicide solution).

Excessively damp and cold contents can cause root rot, as well as leaf blight when exposed to water.

Yellowing of the leaves is observed with a lack of light;

Begonia × Tuberhybrida

Brown, paper-like edges of the leaves indicate dry air or direct sunlight hitting the plant.

If the temperature is too high and the humidity is too low, plant leaves dry and curl.

In low light (if the shoot is too stretched), dry air (if the leaves are shriveled), excess moisture (its leaves began to droop), leaves may fall off.

With too dry air, lack of moisture or sudden temperature fluctuations, flower buds dry out.

In case of insufficient air humidity, buds may fall off.