container gardens
Tuberous Begonias in Shade

   As plants get tall, they will need support for the heavy blooms. When inserting stakes, be careful not to strike the tubers, and use raffia or soft twine to secure the tender stems. In some cases, extra large blooms will need individual tying, and there are specially cushioned supports of English make for this purpose. From time to time, syringe foliage, preferably in late afternoon or early evening so it will dry before dark. Avoid sprinkling, however, in moist, foggy climates where mildew can be a problem.

   Mealy bugs, white flies, leaf hoppers, and aphids can all be checked with lindane or malathion. For thrips, apply DDT or lindane. Use a poison bait with metaldehyde base for snails or slugs and Bordeaux mixture for bacterial leaf spot. In mildew areas, apply captan or the newer karathane as a precaution. These problems, however, are rather uncommon, and very likely you will not be bothered by any of them.

To Store Tubers in Winter

   Tubers can be held over from year to year if stored properly during the winter. In fall in cold areas, frosts will blacken the foliage, but in warmer regions the need for rest will be indicated by yellowing without actual frost. Usually this occurs in October, when it is advisable to withhold water. After frost kills tops or they turn yellow, lift plants carefully with a spading fork so as not to injure them. Then, with the tops attached, spread the tubers in the sun for a few hours to dry. After the drying period, cut off tops; but if a portion of stem remains, do not break off. Allow it to dry before removing it later.

   Finally, shake off the soil, arrange tubers in trays or shallow boxes, and cover with dry peatmoss or clean, dry sand. The ideal storage temperatures is 45 to 50 degrees F. Some gardeners winter the clean tubers in paper bags, keeping the same colors together, and results are just as good. You can also leave tubers in pots. In this case, simply turn containers on sides and store in cellar, basement, shed or other frostproof spot where temperatures remain 40 to 60 degrees F. If kept too warm, bulbs tend to shrivel and their future as handsome pot plants for locations in filtered sunlight is seriously jeopardized.