If you are after plants that have stunning flowers and spectacular foliage, then begonias are hard to beat.
They come in an astounding array of leaf shape, size, pattern and colours - with the flowers ranging through white, pink, red, yellow, orange and many other hues.
While many species favour shady parts of the garden, other thrive in direct sun, and you'll be find varieties to suit pots, tubs, garden beds and hanging baskets.
So try a little begonia brilliance at your place.
Three essential care tips for begonias
Begonias are fairly robust but you will need to look out for and treat these problems to keep your plants in tip-top shape.
When buying begonias
Inspect the plant carefully for any signs of disease or insect damage. If it looks weak and leggy, or has any holes, spots or discolouration on the leaves or stems don’t buy it, as it will not thrive.
This fungal disease shows on the tops and undersides of leaves as a grey/white coating, and they eventually wither and die. Water the soil around the plant and avoid splashing the leaves, watering in the morning so any excess moisture can evaporate during the day. Remove any affected leaves with sterilised sharp scissors or secateurs. There are commercially available sprays that are useful in treating this disease.
Dark brown, crisp looking marks on leaf edges are usually caused by low humidity. Place the pot in a tray with pebbles and water, making sure the pot base doesn’t sit in the water to prevent root rot. Begonias also get sunburnt, seen as a pale brown or yellow scorch mark on all, or part, of the leaf. Cut off the leaf and discard and move pots into a more sheltered spot, or give garden plants a new position that doesn’t get direct midday sun.
Insects Slugs, snails and green lopper caterpillars like to have a meal on their leaves. Treat the slugs and snails with bait and pick off the caterpillars. White fly, mites and scale can also be a problem, treat with an appropriate chemical spray, checking the label to for application rates.