By Cheryl Whalen, Head Gardener
The first two or three weeks after potting tuberous begonias I don’t expect to see anything happening. I check in on the potted tubers weekly, providing water to the occasional pot if the soil has dried out. All appears quiet and peaceful on the surface, but I know there’s a bevy of activity going on below.
The spring sunshine boosts the greenhouse temperature during the day and warms the soil in each pot. The tubers awaken and respond to this cozy environment. First on their to-do list is to make fresh fibrous roots, and they get right to it. Simultaneously, the eyes of the tubers start to expand just like they would on that potato that might be hanging around on the kitchen counter for too long. It is from these eyes that the stems and leaves will form.
And then . . . finally . . . halfway through week four, I see it and my heart skips a beat. Something is happening! Cracks and fissures begin to appear on the soil as if overnight the Earth shook and tiny earthquakes had occurred. Peering closer into each crack I can see the fresh and fuzzy leaves eagerly pushing through the soil determined to see the daylight. It makes me think of butterflies bursting forth from their cocoons, and I smile. It won’t be long before these babies will be packing up and moving to the begonia display house for the summer season.
Stay tuned . . .
(To read Chapter 1 in the Life of Tuberous Begonias, click here.)