Figuring out the best way to promote new growth in your garden isn't always easy. For example, do you have begonia corms you want to see sprout into their own plants but have no idea what compost they respond best to? Should you use compost when starting begonia plants?
Luckily, we've done plenty of research into these questions and have the answers below!
If you want to use compost for begonia corms, we recommend a mixture of well-aged leaves, grass clippings, kitchen vegetable scraps or worm castings, and sand. It's also worth mentioning that begonias do best in moist conditions and don't like the full sun.
Like any corm you're starting, your begonias also need more nutrients during their first few months, so a high-quality, peat-free, multi-purpose compost should do the trick.
As we start this article, we will cover all things growing begonia corms and discuss what compost one needs. Whether you want to expand your garden, have a begonia corm you aren't sure what to do with, or need additional help: we're here for you. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!
What Is The Best Compost For Begonia Corms?
If you need compost for begonia corms, there are some ingredients to look for. As we said, well-aged leaves, grass clippings, kitchen vegetable scraps or worm castings, and sand are the perfect mix.
Especially since the corms of begonia will need extra nutrients to get started and grow on their own, using high-quality materials for your compost is essential.
Many experts recommend peat-free composts for this plant species. Although peat or peat moss can be amazing for some corms, this is not the case for begonia.
You might also find success using multi-purpose compost for begonia corms, so you don't need to find a specialty option. The best action is to use natural garden scraps and give your corms as much nutrients, moisture, and attention as they need.
Begonia should be pretty easy to grow and cultivate, so don't sweat the small stuff!
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How Much Compost Do Begonia Corms Need?
Once you find or create the perfect compost for begonia corms, it's time to spread it. Generally, you only need to use about 1-2 inches of compost for your corms.
Since the compost goes above the soil, you don't want to apply too much. Using excessive compost can drown your plant, blocking proper oxygen and water flow.
However, using compost around your begonia corms should encourage new growth and healthier soil conditions. One of the main reasons people use compost in their yards is to improve soil drainage, nutrients, and nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium levels.
Compost contains endless micronutrients, which can be a life-changer for begonia corms. Remember, corms are technically the energy-storing sack beneath the soil, which you can use to grow a whole new plant.
These are tiny stem clumps and shouldn't be hard to grow and propagate. Therefore, you don't need to use so much compost around them that the sun and other elements can't reach them.
What Is A Corm? Do All Plants Have Them?
For anyone unsure of what exactly a corm is, think of them as a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem. As we said before, the corm of a plant stores food/energy which your plant uses during the winter or other adverse conditions and seasons.
Begonia corms should surround the roots of your central parent plant. If you dig into the soil and look for these tiny stem clumps, you should be able to locate them fairly quickly.
According to experts, storage devices like bulbs, rhizomes, and corms are all adaptations that certain species can use for reproduction.
With that said, not every plant has a corm. This is unique to specific species of plants, including begonias. So, if you check the ground throughout your garden, you won't likely find too many plants with corms in their soil.
If you wish to expand your garden, you want to try and propagate using corms, so these tiny storage systems can make for great future plants.
What Do You Do With Begonia Corms?
If you find the corms surrounding your begonia plant, you can do one of two things. First, you can choose to leave them there, allowing the corms to store additional food for your main parent plant.
Second, you can take a couple of the corms (not all) and use them for propagation.
As we mentioned, propagating begonia corms is a cool way to start new plants in your landscape. Especially with the right compost, your corms will grow into their own successful parent plants.
If you plan on doing this, remember to plant begonia corms concave side up (depression on top). Try to have your corms slightly above or below the compost mixture you want.
Once you have your compost down, gently push the corms into the soil. Water them thoroughly and allow the micronutrients from the compost to work their magic.
Again, we don't recommend getting crazy with your compost, as this can spell trouble down the road. Too much of a good thing can quickly turn sour, so try and be as moderate as possible.
It is also good to grow your begonia corms in partial shade and keep them moist. Some people grow corms in water, so they don't mind the extra moisture!
Why Doesn't My Begonia Have Corms?
If your begonia doesn't seem to have any corms in its soil, it could be a variety that doesn't have them. One important factor to remember with begonias is that they aren't all the same.
Although begonias fall into the same species, some can produce corms for propagation, while others can't rely on these underground storage stems.
According to experts, Fibrous rooted bedding begonias, indoor houseplant begonias, and tropical begonia tend not to produce a corm. Therefore, if you have these in your landscape, there is a bigger chance you won't find corms or be able to propagate using this method.
Since begonias typically grow in tropical regions, some don't need corms. That's because the plant doesn't experience dormancy.
As we mentioned, one of the main reasons for corms is to store food and energy for winter/harsh conditions. So, in the tropics, your begonia won't likely need corms or produce them.
Furthermore, you can't always find corms near younger begonia, as they haven't had time to develop and get bigger near the central root system.
Can I Plant Begonia Corms Right Into A Pot?
Yes! As long as you give your begonia corms plenty of moisture and an inch or two of compost, it should be fine to plant them right into a pot.
Many gardeners choose to do this so their new begonia plants have a permanent spot to grow. You might want to allocate a few pots in the partial sun for begonia propagating, which should give you nice results.
With that said, your begonia corms will be more sensitive as they're young. For example, you don't want to throw them into a pot and let nature do its thing.
Instead, try and take care of them, giving the corms plenty of TLC until they sprout into their own plant. Corms love water and compost/fertilizer, so don't starve them.
The best way to grow begonia corms in a pot is to water them bi-weekly and apply a nice layer of nutrient-packed compost.
Doing this promotes new growth and strong, healthy rooting from your recently transplanted corm.
According to Longfield Gardens, a humus-rich compost may work nicely for begonia corms in pots/planters.
How Long Does It Take For Begonia Corms To Grow?
In general, it takes about three months to see your begonia corm sustain itself. Since you're essentially taking an extension of the parent begonia plant, it will take time to become self-sustaining.
Begonias grow rather fast if you give them the opportunity, so your corms won't take more than a few months to start blooming. Specifically, most gardeners claim their begonia corms grew to somewhat large sizes within 6-8 weeks.
Again, that can depend on how and where you start your corms. Many people collect the corms from their plants before winter, keeping them alive indoors until spring.
Once spring arrives, you can plant your started corm into the soil. In that situation, you should expect a faster-growing begonia plant.
To do this yourself, start by placing your corms indoors at least a month before the last frost date. During the winter, set the corms one inch apart, hollow side up, in shallow pots filled with moistened potting soil.
You might find success if you keep your begonia corms under a heat lamp, although the bare minimum requirement is a 70-degree room.
Remember to give your corms time to grow!
To Wrap It All Up
Whether you have begonias in your garden you want to propagate or haven't thought to do this, it's always good to know what type of compost is best while planting.
We found that begonia corms respond well to compost with well-aged leaves, grass clippings, kitchen vegetable scraps or worm castings, and sand. You can also use a multi-purpose compost as long as it's peat free, so this doesn't need to get too intricate.
Regardless, keep your begonia corms moist and surrounded by micronutrients; they should be happy and grow into gorgeous plants!
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