Hybrid or Interspecific Begonia

Up until last April I rarely thought about begonias and if I did think about them I was thinking of ‘wax’ or ‘seed’ begonia. Those flats of annuals with their tightly packed fleshy leaves that are usually planted in a line along the edge of a garden bed.

Begonia

And while those begonia still have a place in shade gardens, especially with the downy mildew issues that have affected Impatiens, these next four begonia are something all-together different.

Dragon Wing Begonia

Dragon Wing Begonia in Hanging Baskets
Dragon Wing Begonia in Hanging Baskets, Megawatt Begonia below.

These are the huge showy plants you’re most likely to see in municipal planters and gardens. And why wouldn’t you? Sun, Shade or anything between they put on a fabulous show until first frost. Dragon Wing begonia are to shade what petunias are to sun, only even better because they have a longer season.

Dragon Wing Begonia in a 6 pack.

Usually they’re sold in hanging baskets or 5-6″ pots, last year I was lucky enough to find them in 6 packs so I bought a flat of them.

Red Dragon Wing Begonia, Mid-September

In September they were still flowering like crazy and holding their own against that horrible chameleon weed. Dragon Wing is available in either Pink or Red with green leaves only.

BIG Begonia

Big series of begonia

Another new to me variety, I tried this one out last year too. BIG begonia are suitable for full sun to full shade and everything between.

6-28 Corner Begonia Bed

With its more upright habit, BIG begonias are perfect for planters and landscape use. I grew it in the lower level of this corner bed.

Begonia in Corner Bed
Santa Cruz and San Francisco top level, Big series begonia in Pink and Rose in the lower level.

By the end of the season, it was as tall as the begonia in the top level and it never stopped flowering.

BIG Pink Bronze Leaf

Flower colors of Pink, Rose, and Red are all available with either green leaves or bronze leaves.

Megawatt Begonia

Megawatt Begonia

New for 2017, Megawatt is another upright hybrid begonia, perfect for landscape and planters. From the same company as Dragon Wing, it has those nice big glossy leaves. Initially offered in 4 colors, PinkĀ  Bronze Leaf, Rose Bronze Leaf, Red Green Leaf and Rose Green Leaf and recommended for part sun.

Megawatt Pink Bronze Leaf (7)

I will be trying the Bronze Leaved Pink this year.

Megawatt Pink Bronze Leaf

Already I’m super impressed with the Megawatt Begonias well branched beefy stems.

Surefire Begonia

Surefire Red

Surefire are a green leaved hybrid Begonia in Pink and Red by Proven Winners. They are suitable for sun or shade. In growth habit, they so far seem very similar to the BIG begonias.

Side by Side comparison

BIG, Megawatt, and Surefire Begonia
Lower Level – Megawatt Pink w/Bronze Leaves. Upper Level – Surefire Red and BIG Pink w/Bronze Leaves

For my own satisfaction, I decided to do a bit of a side by side comparison of the biggest of the big. This bed gets an average of two hours of sun per day, with the front dead center getting three to four. I’m interested to see what, if any, difference there are between these three varieties.

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Author: The Shade Gardener

Hi there! I'm Vanessa, the Shade Gardener. I live in a tiny little house in Ontario with my 2 grown boys, 2 dogs and a cat, where I do my best to grow plants in a heavily shaded yard and soil like cement. I am passionate about my family, my pets, MCM furniture and cheese. When I'm not in the garden I do a bit of crafting and sewing. Sometimes I build topiary animals from chicken wire for fun.