SHADE LOVERS: A few of my favourite plants.
SHADE LOVERS: A few of my favourite plants. Contributed

Get in the shade in summer

DURING winter any time outdoors was spent following the sun and warmth.

Plants only got tended to when the sun was in that part of the garden.

Shady areas were a no go zone- too cold!

Wednesday reminded me of how important shady areas are going to be in summer.

If I'm going to be spending a lot of time in the shade I need those areas to look pretty.

While there are so many plants that look pretty and thrive in the shade, I am currently in love with all the beautiful begonias.

With around 1,500 species of begonias, I can't mention all of them.

A few of my favourites are the bedding begonias, Rex and dwarf canes.

The most common begonias are commonly called bedding begonias.

They grow 15-30cm tall, with red, pink or white flowers and fleshy lush bronze to apple-green leaves.

These can be grown anywhere in the garden - pots, hanging baskets or garden.

They can handle some winter sun but prefer full shade in summer.

Rex begonias are grown for their foliage, which is so ornamental.

The foliage has swirls, spots and stripes in black, silver, green, red and purple, with a range of metallic sheens and interesting shapes.

They grow 30-60cm tall and about 30cm wide.

Rexs have a tendency to be frost-tender so plant them in a protected area of your garden.

This year we tried some rexs in a hanging basket and it looks lovely.

Dwarf cane-like begonias have upright arching canes 60cm tall.

Their leaves are quite large and are a lush tropical green.

The stunning pink or red flowers hang down the stems making quite a stunning show for most of the year.

While they grow in pots or the garden I believe their true beauty is revealed in hanging baskets.

You can really see the lovely pendulous flowers when these pots are up high.

I find begonias usually grow in any shady position.

They do like an acidic soil (pH 5.5-6.5) and good drainage is essential.

I find the most common cause of death is over care.

People tend to over water them and then they rot.

As with all my plants I fertilise about every three months with Organic Link and try to liquid fertilise about every fortnight with Triple Boost.

I find overhead watering doesn't harm them; it's just too much watering that can be the issue.

A common problem is mould or mildew on begonias.

I find this is usually caused from over watering and can easily be rectified by reducing your watering, giving them a trim and a liquid fertilise.

If you want to spray to reduce the problem Eco-fungicide or a sulphur based spray would work.

Begonias are versatile plants that can be incorporated into any style garden.

They are a great way to enliven any shady area to get your garden ready for the warmth of summer!

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