A recent client commented how she really enjoyed her Begonias this year in her various container gardens on her front porch. She doesn’t have much experience with plants and selected one just by chance. She loved how it didn’t need a great deal of attention and lasted all through the summer to fall. What I could hear in her comments was that it was an easy plant that offered a lot of showy appeal to a beginning gardener. She wants to make sure her next candidates this planting season are of similar character – and I am here to help her!
The Bonfire® series is one of my personal favorites when it comes to Begonias. I planted one in a whiskey barrel a couple of years back and that plant rocked all season long, and with little attention – as my client indicated about her’s. There are several new introductions of this series coming from one of my favorite growers this year.
Begonia ‘Bonfire® Choc Pink’, hardy to zones 8-11, has chocolate plum foliage. Darker foliage is one of the keys to providing contrast in container gardens so you should not pass them up as you find them in your nursery, or attend one of Cathy T’s Container Garden Parties. ‘Bonfire® Choc Pink’ has a more mounding habit and blooms blush pink flowers that have a structure of long skinny petals that tend to dangle a bit down. I like this style of flower’s shape better than the typical Begonia blooms. We can see why they are referred to as Bonfire. The petals look like flames! The pink color of Choc Pink is soft and really shows up against its darker foliage.
‘Bonfire® Choc Pink’ will grow up to 20″ tall and wide, so it is very dramatic in a large container garden. It can take the full sun to part sun/part shade, thus it is a versatile plant as well. This very low maintenance plant with impressive performance is already on my plant order list for 2011 spring. Yet, if you prefer a bit more intensity to flower color, the other new candidate is ‘Bonfire® Choc Red’, with red bloom and also dark-leaved but with a more upright habit. The serrated foliage has red margins. Look for both as you shop! Cathy T