If you're looking for a plant for those shady spots in your yard, begonias are a great choice. Although there are many varieties available, the wax and tuberous begonias are the most common. Wax begonias make a good bedding plant and come in variations of white, pink and red. In warmer climates, the wax begonia is a perennial, and while it won't survive in colder climates, it will continue to flourish if brought inside. The tuberous begonia, known for its large, rose-like blossoms, is often seen in hanging baskets, and comes in a wide spectrum of colors.
Growing wax begonias
Plant wax begonias outside in the spring when there is no danger of frost. They prefer areas that receive sun in the morning and late afternoon, but need shade during the middle of the day when the sun is the most intense. The easiest way to purchase them is in flats, which are all set to plant in the ground. Give them some time outside to accustom to the sun before planting. As with most plants they do best in soil that drains well. Space them 6 or 7 inches apart.
Growing tuberous begonias
Because of their size, tuberous begonias need some protection from the wind when they are young, and may need to be staked as they grow. Most garden centers sell them in small pots, ready to be transplanted outside, or as well-developed hanging plants. Because of their expense, some people prefer to start their own from a tuber. Make sure that you purchase a healthy tuber. It should be firm, with no sign of rot or sponginess, and have a few small sprouts. Plant it rounded side down in potting soil, being careful not to cover with more than ½ to 1 inch of the soil. Water lightly, and keep moist but not saturated. Six to eight weeks later, it should be ready to go into your garden. Let it become accustomed to the outdoors gradually, by setting it outside for a few hours in a wind-protected location. Allow about 12 inches between plants. When you have transplanted it, continue to water the soil around the plant lightly. Pinching off excess stems and flowers in the beginning will make the begonia stronger and more attractive. In addition, deadheading (removing faded blossoms), will help your plant to produce more flowers.