Have you heard the news? After researchers looked into historic records and new collections, the Begonia genus has broken the barrier of 2,000 species! This is really exciting news for horticulturalists – with Begonia being the world’s sixth largest plant genus, it’s great to know that there are still many species yet to be discovered.
BIG Begonias for your garden
These discoveries are all well and good for the scientific community – but what about gardeners? With more species and varieties being recorded every day, we get an insight into what the future of gardening could look like! It can take years for plants to be developed for release to the public – but remember, new plants are being released all the time, so you don’t have to wait long before a beautiful new plant becomes available for your garden.
One such plant is Begonia BIG. Developed by Benary, this is a Begonia that was released in 2008, coinciding with the breeding company’s 165th birthday. They actually introduced the first F1 Begonia from seed. I flew all the way to China in 2019 to see the largest plantation of Begonia BIG (over 60,000 plants), and it really was a sight to behold.
The plant itself is heat tolerant, colourful, versatile and has a long blooming time. But its main attraction is, of course, its big, buxom blooms (up to three times the size of traditional wax Begonias)! Ideal for home gardeners and landscapers, Begonia BIG makes a huge impact in spaces of any size. Fill up containers, baskets, beds and borders with this head-turning plant!
Currently, Begonia BIG is available in eight colours, with four colours on a green-leafed variety and four of dark-leafed. Choose from vibrant crimsons, through to soft pinks and eventually a brilliant white!
This plant thrives in every region, from the UK to China! Begonia BIG is particularly well-known for its tolerance to hot and humid summers.
Location and soil type
It grows well in moderately fertile, moist soils with good drainage. Plant in full sun, partial shade or shade. You can find another positively dazzling shade-tolerant Begonia here!
Begonia BIG is so easy to care for; even beginners would find this plant a breeze. There’s no need to water daily, and the flowers are self-cleaning!
Is Begonia BIG a big deal to you? Let me know your thoughts on this plant in the comments section below! See all the Begonia of the Month articles here to get more inspiration for your garden.
All about those Begonia discoveries
In March 2021, the news was announced that the Begonia genus had amassed 2,000 species – a brand new record! It was actually Scotland’s leading botanic garden, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), that made the 2,000th discovery, dubbing the find ‘B2K’.
The plant in question is Begonia fasciculata – not a new species, but one that has been lost to time. The discovery required the examination of rare journals dating as far back as 1822, and is part of a worldwide partnership to properly catalogue plant species in view of the planet’s biodiversity crisis.
Since then, two more species have been recorded! The 2,001st is Begonia kekarmonyingensis, and was found by researchers on a mountain cliff called Kekar Monying, in Arunachal Pradesh, India. The most recent discovery (#2,002) is Begonia bangsamoro, which was found in the Bangsamoro region in Mindanao, The Philippines.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.