Begonias are much-loved plants for growing during the long days of summer. There are roughly 2000 known varieties, making them useful in many different gardens. Wax Begonias are the default bedding plant to use as a tough but beautiful ground cover. Tuberous Begonias appear to be much more delicate and harder to grow than they are. No matter what kind of Begonia you prefer, there are several companions to choose from to give your garden space the feel and look you desire.
Shrubs To Plant With Begonias
Wax Begonias in particular are a useful ground cover when planted near broadleaf or evergreen shrubs. Dwarf conifers, junipers, and Mugo pines provide a textured backdrop to the fiery colors of Wax Begonias, which can be grown in full sun to part shade locations. Boxwood growing in full sun is another great pairing with Wax Begonias. The stunning foliage colors and shapes of Angel Wing and tuberous Begonias pair well with other shade lovers including Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and Daphnes. The shallow roots of Begonias will not compete for space with most deeper-growing shrubs and are best watered with drip irrigation or soaker hoses that help to keep the foliage dry.
Perennials To Plant With Begonias
Wax begonias can be planted in sunny locations, while tuberous and Angel Wing types prefer shadier spots, making the list of compatible perennials long and varied. Plant shade-loving plants like Hosta, ferns, bleeding heart, and cranesbill with low-growing Angel Wing Begonias for a woodland-themed garden that has a relaxing and calm feel. Wax Begonias help extend the color of summer when planted with ornamental grasses, shasta daisies, and coral bells in a sunny garden border.
Add a granular extended-release fertilizer to the soil at planting time to support growth for the whole growing season. Begonias will benefit from fertilizers with NPK ratios of 1-3-2, which is also appropriate for most blooming perennials.
Annuals To Plant With Begonias
All Begonias are tender tropical perennials typically grown as annuals or houseplants. They pair nicely with other warm-season annuals for creating colorful and long-lasting flower displays. Select shade-loving Caladium, Torenia, Impatiens, Coleus, and Lobelia to contrast the tuberous Begonias' larger and delicately colored leaves. Wax Begonias are a classic match with geraniums, polka dot plant, Alyssum, and flowering or vine-type vinca. All of these annuals thrive in full sun and bloom for months with little or no deadheading.
Try planting large drifts of one plant in a specific color to give the garden a planned and organized look. Planting a mixed color palette of one type of plant can be very energizing and eclectic, although sometimes borders on chaotic. Using annuals as the main element in a garden allows the gardener to play with texture and color combinations every year and deconstruct the garden at the end of the season, which is especially helpful for renters.
Best Companion Plants For Begonia in Containers
Begonias thrive in containers where they can be watered regularly. Angel Wing and tuberous types work as single specimens potted alone in decorative or plain pots. Pair them with small varieties of Hostas, Fuchsia, and Caladiums, potted separately to make an impressive entryway display. Alternatively, tuberous Begonias make a lovely focal point in a hanging basket or window box filled with Calibrachoa, Coleus, Euphorbia, and fluorescent-colored creeping Jenny as a trailing plant.
Always choose container companions that have similar growing needs. Sun lovers often will sulk when growing in the shade and may not stay healthy through the growing season.
Plants Not To Grow With Begonias
Begonias appreciate soil that retains moisture, but will quickly develop root rot if the soil does not drain well. Waterlilies, aquatic iris, and reed grasses, which grow in or next to ponds and streams, are off the list of Begonia companions. Other poor companions include xeric or drought-tolerant plants such as cacti, most succulents, and Mediterranean herbs such as lavender, thyme, and rosemary. Not only will these plants be wildly out of scale with most Begonias, but they will not grow well in soil that retains moisture.
Best Plants To Grow With Begonias
Begonias are the ultimate ornamental plant, being grown solely because of their colorful foliage and eye-catching flowers. The best plants to grow with these darlings of summer thrive in well-draining soil, part shade to part sun exposure, and consistent moisture through the growing season. The possible combinations with shrubs, perennials and annuals are practically endless.