A tour of the Begonia House at White Flower Farm


A tour of the Begonia House at White Flower Farm Transcript

Welcome to our greenhouse that plays host to our display of the English-bred Blackmore and Langdon Tuberous begonias. This particular strain of begonias has had a presence here at White Flower Farm for more than 50 years.

All of the lush growth and beautiful flowers that you are about to see come from a single tuber planted in each pot. What is a tuber you might be wondering? Think of a russet potato but with a little bit drier, flakier skin…and a little bit more random in size and shape; that’s a tuber. It’s truly amazing to me that from something so humble such beauty can come forth.

Our collection of Blackmore and Langdon begonias showcases nearly 70 varieties of this incredible strain. To see the diversity of color and beauty that these plants boast en masse is an opportunity not often encountered on this side of the Atlantic. We are pleased to be able to share this rather unique floral experience with our visitors each summer.

Tuberous begonias are in active growth during the spring, summer, and early fall. The plants take the winter off resting as dormant tubers. In mid-February I pot up the tubers for the season. It takes nearly 4 weeks to see the first sprouts but after that, the begonias are eager to get growing. I target the first of June each summer as the opening day for the display house. It’s at that time that I’m beginning to see those first big, bodacious blooms. Once they start, the plants will continue to flower all summer. Peak viewing time is mid-June thru mid-August when the plants are in full swing. The tuberous begonias can be either upright or cascading. Upright begonias form thick, fleshy stems that want to grow upward. It is essential to stake the uprights, as they cover themselves with blooms, or else they might become too top heavy and the stems may break. I’m particularly fond of Begonia ‘Corona’ with her soft peachy petals outlined in red.

Cascading varieties produce many slender stems that like to mound or drape over the edges of their container. In general the flowers on the cascading varieties are smaller than those produced on the uprights but there are lots of them so they still put on a show. One of my favorite cascade varieties is the aptly named Begonia ‘Firedance’ with its glowing orange blooms.

Such beautiful flowers… if only they had fragrance. Well, there is one upright Blackmore and Langdon begonia variety that can flaunt such an attribute. I often encourage visitors to get a whiff of the coral pink blossoms of Begonia ‘John Smith’ before they rush off. They’re always pleasantly surprised by its spicy, citrus scent.

I do hope that you’ve enjoyed your visit to our Begonia House as much as I liked sharing it with you. Thanks for stopping by.