Everyone knows the old-fashioned, dependable Begonia semper-florens, called everblooming or wax begonias. They are easy to grow in a mixture of three parts soil and one part peatmoss. Seeds sown in June will produce 3-inch blooming plants by Christmas; stem cuttings can be taken any time and rooted quickly in water, then potted in 2-inch pots.
Plants should be pinched to keep them compact and bushy so more flowering shoots will develop. Feeding about every three weeks encourages steady flowering. Recommended: 'Carol', 'Cinderella Red', 'Pink Camellia', 'South Pacific', 'Spun Rose', 'Thimbleberry'; also the so-called "calla-lily" wax begonias, as 'Charm'.
Cane-stemmed or angelwing begonias are often big and sprawly, and these are best grown in a basket or suspended pot. They are unusually sensitive to a direct draft, which can cause immediate dropping of foliage from all along the stem. If this happens, cut the stem off close to the pot and new sprouts will soon appear. Recommended: 'Dainty Spray', 'May Queen', 'Orange Rubra', 'Pinafore'.
There are many small-leaved branching begonias with delightful foliage and rarely without flowers. Good in baskets are 'Shippy's Garland' and 'Mme. Fanny Giron'; and for either baskets or pots try 'Cata-lina', 'Digswelliana', 'It', and especially 'Preussen'.
The hirsute (hairy) begonias require less humidity than the others, and will not tolerate overwatering.
Try 'Alleryi', 'Mrs. Fred D. Scripps', B. metallica, B. Scharffiana, 'Lady Clare', 'Richland', and especially 'San Miguel'.