How do you take care of a fuchsia plant
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How do you take care of a fuchsia plant? How do you care for a dahlia? For a peony?
You might assume the experts have all the answers — but, often, all it takes to get the most basic of questions is a quick search on Google. And if you're wondering how you should care for a begonia plant, well, it depends on the variety.
"A lot of people have the same question about basic maintenance," says Jessica Och, director of product development and research at the National Begonia Society, in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.
Take a closer look at the many varieties available, and you'll be able to do more than just choose your color. Some begonias are heavy feeders, while others prefer fertilizer with less nitrogen and more phosphorous, Och explains. And some need full sun, while others appreciate partial shade.
"The beauty is you get to know the needs and preferences of each individual plant," she says. "If you pick up an average begonia, there's really no way to know how a plant will like you and your climate."
Here's a guide to getting to know the different types of begonias and what they might like.
These plants — or "Ponderosa pines" as they're also known — are one of the oldest types of houseplants, a group of ornamental plants native to Latin America that are well known for their evergreen, fan-shaped leaves.
"Begonias are probably the easiest group of plants to identify," says Och.
A single begonia plant can produce many different blooms on its flowering stems — and it can do that at any given time throughout the season. For example, during the winter, they may be in the form of an attractive pot-like shape.
These winter blooms are likely to continue flowering until late spring, depending on the climate. When the season turns to summer, begonias may produce colorful flowers or may flower through the summer.
The summer months also bring the plant's most prolific blooming period. While this is the time when they're most in demand in nurseries, you may also be able to buy them from retailers, garden centers or online.
Begonias are available in several different colors, depending on the type and season.
Begonias can be red, pink, orange, yellow or, in some cases, white. The most common colors of begonias include red, pink, orange, yellow and white.
If you're growing plants with unusual color, Och suggests picking from a variety of colors and not putting all your money into a single color.
"If you go into an expensive nursery and you want to buy begonias, you really have to consider that you can get a variety of colors, so you won't be stuck with one color," he said.
When you're purchasing begonias from nurseries or online retailers, Och says you can choose from three main seasons, depending on what you want in your garden.
Winter: In the winter, begonias will be in a small, potted, pot-like form.
Spring: In the spring, they may flower and flower, for about a month or so, depending on the climate. At this time, the begonias will be on full display and the plant's main season is just beginning.
Summer: The begonias may begin to flower and flower in the summer. They continue to produce flowers throughout the season.
You may be able to choose a spring, summer or fall season and, if you want to, buy a plant with either a white or black-blue flower.
Planting, care and maintenance
When choosing begonias for your garden, Och says to pay attention to their roots, not just the flowers.
"The flowers on begonias are actually called bracts," he said. "The root system, however, actually goes into the ground, which is why they don't transplant well. So be sure to get the right plant and that you've looked at the roots. If the roots are long and tapering, you've probably got the right plant."
When you're purchasing begonias, Och said you want to get the best color for your home and that you should avoid buying plants from a nursery that will make it hard to maintain the plant.
"That's why I suggest selecting a plant that's already been trimmed," he said.
He says to use your finger, or a pencil, to check that the begonias aren't too tall and that the leaves are the right size for your garden.
He says you should also choose a color for your garden and plant several of them in different areas of your yard so that you can select and grow them yourself if you decide you don't want them.
"A mixture of color will allow you to be a lot more selective in the kind of plant you want to grow in that area of the yard," he said.
The weather in Nebraska doesn't get too hot during the summer.
"What is a problem here is that the heat from summer can be a little bit intense in August and September. But, fortunately, it's not extreme," Och said.
He says you should also be careful with the amount of water you give your plant because you don't want to cause them to struggle.
He says you shouldn't water your plants at all times.
"When the sun hits them and the sun is just about the same level of intensity as your home's light," he said. "If you water begonias, then they may need some additional light and you will need to provide the light in addition to the sun."
He says you should water your plants once a week when they're in full bloom.
But what he warns people about is not giving them enough water.
"We want to make sure we don't overload our plants. When a plant is overloaded, there will be no flow. There will be no water running down to the roots," he said.
He says to watch out for that problem in your garden and, if it does occur, try to be aware of it and change your watering schedule accordingly.
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