May 24, 2016
Begonias Continue to Trend Upward By Jasmina Dolce

Each year, I look forward to the National Garden Bureau’s “Year of the” campaign. As with any other industry, certain categories have their time to shine at various moments.

As you’re well aware by now, the National Garden Bureau named 2016 the “Year of the Begonia,” and while this plant category has seen tremendous growth in recent years, I think the trend will only continue into 2017 and beyond.

While visiting with exhibitors during the 2016 California Spring Trials, it was very apparent that begonias remain a strong focus for breeders. They are introducing new, novel varieties as well as expanding on current series.

Gardeners love begonias for a variety of reasons. Recent introductions present versatility and tolerance to range of environments, and they require little maintenance. Begonias are perfect for the landscape lover’s front yard as well as the urban gardener’s mixed combo.

Have you seen growth in the begonia category? Will you be adding to your current begonia lineup in 2017? If so, here are some of my favorite introductions from the 2016 California Spring Trials:

Mistral series (Selecta)

Begonia Mistral Yellow 2 (Selecta)

The new Mistral series of trailing begonias is ideal for hanging baskets, with its large eye-catching blooms that will not easily drop. Two colors are currently available: Yellow and Pink.

‘Funky Pink’ (Benary)

Begonia Funky Pink 5 (Benary)

This novelty basket item from seed is easy to grow and ship, and it performs well in mixed containers. Gardeners will love its “shredded” semi-double appearance and mounding habit.

Topspin series (Syngenta Flowers)

Begonia Topspin Pink 4 (Syngenta)

New Topspin begonias allow growers to grow begonias along with early spring annuals. They are tolerant to cool growing temperatures and have great field performance. Four colors and a mix are available (Pink is shown).

‘Cocoa Enchanted Moonlight’ (Terra Nova Nurseries)

Begonia Cocoa Enchanted Moonlight 4 (Terra Nova)

This interspecific variety boasts large, showy white flowers contrasted with dark, chocolate-brown foliage. With its upright habit and continuous floral display, it makes a great component in combos.

‘Evi Bright Pink’ (Beekenkamp)

Begonia Evi Bright Pink 2 (Beekenkamp)

Evi begonia flowers all summer long and can possibly be the gardener’s last plant standing, with its strong heat tolerance and flower power.

Megawatt series (PanAmerican Seed)

Begonia Megawatt Pink Bronze Leaf 2

A new uniform and programmable series, Megawatt features premium easy color in landscapes, baskets and large tubs from spring through fall. Pink Bronze Leaf is unique to this type of begonia.

What are your favorite begonia introductions? Shoot me an email and let me know; I’d love to hear from you.

— Jasmina


Jasmina Dolce

Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at [email protected]

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