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Tuberous Begonias and Calla Lillies
by Barb Foster
by Barb Foster


Inspired to nuture, Barb Foster took up gardening over a decade ago. She has a particular passion for this areas hardy perennials.

Barb collects her own seeds, grows seedlings in a greenhouse and has 500 sq ft of growing beds plus numerous perennial flower beds in her Zone 1b garden in Chetwynd, B.C.

Barb writes weekly for the Chetwynd Echo.

May 18, 2003

This year I plan to grow Tuberous Begonias and Calla Lillies in large pots. We have a porch in the shade of some large Evergreens and these colourful plants will love the shade.

Calla Lillies and Tuberous Begonias are tender plants (they will not survive frost). They can be grown from rhizomes (Calla Lilly) or tubers (Tuberous Begonias) these roots can be dried, brought indoors packed in peat and stored in a dark, cool, dry, vermin free place over winter. This method of winter storage is a space saver and a money saver.

The roots that I have received as a gift from my husband will be started now indoors to be placed outdoors after all danger of frost is past. They should produce flowers all summer long, if grown in rich, moist, well-drained soil and fertilized monthly with 20-20-20.

Tuberous Begonias produce large emerald green, heart shaped leaves; the blooms are large, luminous, and long lasting. There are several varieties and colours to choose from. The Camellia-flowered Begonias have double blooms up to six inches across, available in shades of yellow, red, pink, or white. Begonias can be started in flats of moist peat to save space. The tuber is planted concave side up and covered with 1/2 inch of the moist peat. Water in and place in an area that will provide 70 degrees F. temperatures with bright light, but not direct sunlight. Keep moist but not soggy. When the Begonias have grown they can be carefully transplanted to large pots and hardened off to spend the summer outdoors. Begonia Tubers could rot if tubers or stems remain constantly wet, therefore watering around but not directly on the crown is recommended. Remove spent blooms and the small female bloom.

Calla Lilies (a.k.a.Zantedeschia) are slightly larger plants than the Begonias with heights up to 3 feet. The glossy, deep green, arrow-shaped foliage is attractive even when the plant is not in bloom. The waxy, upright vase shaped, long lasting bloom is positively tropical in appearance. The Calla Lily is available in shades of white, yellow, pink, orange, and red. The variety 'Cameo" is pale peach with a deep red throat. Plant Calla Lillies indoors in large pots with drainage; use a fast draining potting soil, plant rhizomes 3-5 inches deep. The Calla Lily needs a lot of water but will rot if constantly wet so drainage is critical.


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