Best of the Gateway Trials 2011

Begonia ‘Whopper’

We received Begonia ‘Whopper’ rose with green leaf and red with bronze leaf from Ball Horticultural.  Both were exceptional plants.  The red with bronze leaf was the most striking with excellent contrast between the ultra shiny, dark bronze leaves and bright red flowers on a compact, full plant.  Begonias from seed often exhibit sporadic germination but these pelleted seeds had uniform germination and growth.  We were able were able to transplant all 288 plugs into 606 trays all at once.  Plants held nicely in the 606 even though we decided it would be better to market them as a 4”  or large,r to better differentiate them from standard wax begonias and show off their huge flowers.

Landscape performance was excellent.  We had the’ rose with green leaf’ planted in a shade location with the new lime green ‘Wasabi’ coleus.  They made very attractive and contrasting partners.  Also had this planted with sweet potato vine – both purple and yellow green varieties looked great with Begonia ‘Whopper’ rose with green leaf

The red with bronze leaf was planted in an un-irrigated bed in front of a building.  We were impressed with the adaptability of this begonia to full sun, reflected heat and   inconsistent soil moisture.  We had some very hot weeks this summer and this plant came through without any heat stall at all.  It looked beautiful all summer and now into fall continues to produce non stop blooms under increasingly cool night temperatures in the low 50s. The last few weeks temperatures have dropped into the 40s and plants are blooming better than ever.  We also have some in containers where they have filled out the pot beautifully.  We even used some inside as potted blooming plants with pot covers.  Display life has been very good even in that setting.  Will definitely use more next year in mixed containers.

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