Hello - I'm new to this forum and would like to grow some begonias. Was wondering if there are any fragrant ones, and if so where would be a good source to get them.
Thanks in advance,
Logee's lists as least one fragrant one--I haven't tried it (yet!) so I can't tell you how fragrant it is. Begonias are a great family, with something for every situation, but I don't think there are many fragrant ones. Hope someone will tell us of others!
Begonias aren't really grown for fragrance but like Greenelbows said there aren't many but there a few. Odorata is probably the best - sweet scented but not heavy - it can become large (I saw it at Fairchild Tropical Gardens last March and you can smell it entering into the conservatory). J&P still sells fragrant tuberous types and they do have a light fragrance when I tried them years ago. I think some of the trailing ones (from Brazil) have some fragrance (solanthera?).
As to Scented Begonias, I have grown a few, they have all been the tuberous hanging basket types, Yellow Sweetie, a light fragrance. Pink Spice, a light fragrance when the day is warm, and last year I bought one in a local garden centre called Sweet Lady, WOW, day or night, warm or cool it emitted a fairly strong fragrance of roses. To top it off it is a beautiful shade of pink, and nice looking to boot. I also bought one called Sweet Dreams it is also pink but I couldn't get it to sprout. Look for it in the garden centres, on the racks. You won't be sorry.
I was just scanning through the offerings at Lauray of Salisbury--as many times as I've been there I had never noticed that she rates quite a number of begonias as fragrant. Surprised at the cane types! And I've never had a bad order from them.
Thank you all very much for the info. After viewing the pics and reading descriptions on Logee's website .... I'm hooked.
For many years I've grown 'Pink Scentiment' ... it gives off the most delicious rose/nectarine fragrance that fill my solarium. I don't know if this one is still available?... though, I keep mine going by taking cuttings from time to time (these develop tubers). I'd love to find other such fragrant begonias in Canada! Terry
Oh, I just found the 'Sweet Dreams' scented begoina offered by the following company in Canada.
As I said in a previous post, I lost my 'Sweet Dreams', just bought it again to give it another try. Hopefully it will be as fragrant as 'Sweet Lady', I really was impressed with 'Sweet Lady'. They are both available at Art Knapps here.
aftermidnight, I wish we had Art Knapp store here! I was impressed with these nurseries when visiting the Vancouver area.
twrosz, I used to grow Pink Sentiment too, lost it to that darn weevil, should have taken cuttings. Did you get yours from Cruickshank's? That's where I got mine. What ever happened to them, do you know? I got some really good things from them. Hope you find 'Sweet Lady' in my opinion it's much nicer than P.S. in both form and scent.
I grow mostly cain type (angelwing) and have some that are scented, though mostly when they are warm, humid and in bright light. I have Honeysucle, Jim Wertzen, and Bubbles, all of which are delightfully fragrant. I also am growing Potpouri, solanthera, Tea Rose, caravan and Brother Montgomery, which are supposed to be fragrant but these haven't bloomed for me yet. I know there are more scented begonias out there and I hope to collect more as time and money allows.
John in Pa.
I have grown Tea Rose in the past, I bought mine from Logee's and yes it is scented.
Several begonias have pleasantly scented flowers that help attract insect pollinators. Fragrance in begonias is usually most noticeable on sunny days during the early morning and is often strongest in the female flowers. Among the most powerfully scented species is the Brazilian Begonia integerrima, which like most other fragrant begonias has a sweet, spicy smell. Other pleasant smelling, cultivated species from the western hemisphere include B. egregia, B. hydrocotylifolia, B. lubbersii, B. minor, and B. venosa. Scented Asian species include B. deliciosa, B. dipetala, B. masoniana, and the particularly fragrant B. roxburghii. The African species B. dregei and B. meyeri-johannis also have pleasantly scented flowers. Some fragrant species have been used in developing the many scented hybrid cultivars, including B. 'Martha Floro', whose scent comes from B. lubbersii; B. 'Sweet Dreams', from B. integerrima; and B. 'Honeysuckle', from B. dichroa. As fragrance varies from plant to plant, it is not considered a helpful character for identifying begonias.
Aftermidnight, Cruickshank's had gone out of business a few years ago now, unfortunately another mail order nursery business to either close their doors OR shut down their mail order aspect.
Aftermidnight, you mentioned about a weevil having killed your "Pink Scentiment" begoina. For several years now, I've been having problems with a larva that burrows in and eats extensive tunnels through my begonia bulbs, often killing them. And yes, it's a black long snouted weevil that lays the eggs ... I had collected some of those larva and they matured into such. These larva are real pests that also attack other plants and shrubs.
Nature_farmer, thanks for the insight on species scented begonias. Would you be able to recommend a good species to grow idoors, one that has an attractive growth habit and flowers over a long season? Thanks!
I find drenching the soil with beneficial nematodes in the late spring usually takes care of the problem. If you do this, don't use any insecticides on the plants. These little #@%%$#@ also go after the roots on Fuchsias as well. While surfing the net this winter researching info on Fuchsias I came across this little tidbit, put slices of potatoes on top of the soil, apparently the weevils lay their eggs in the potato, discard and replace the potato slices every 10 days, might try this myself to see if it works.
Aftermidnight, thanks so very much for the suggestion of using the potato, I will definitely try this method! I've found that these lousy little buggers also attacked and killed several small potted cedars and grape vines. There were many grubs happily munching away and these had completely stripped the bark from the underground stems! Always something eh!
Golden State Bulb in California has the only commercial supply of scented begonias that I am aware of. I have grown some of theirs and some from various collectors and GSBs are consistently fragrant while the others are hit and miss.
Check Thompson & Morgan's '09 catalog. Don't remember the specific name of the tuberous begonia from seed, but do recall they claim that rose and citrus are fragrances included in the mix. Believe it's a new catalog intro this year.
aftermidnight, had mentioned 'Sweet Lady' being one of the most fragrant. I was able to find these at Botanus (Canada) and have a few on order for spring :)
Here's a link for the T&M seed grown strain, unfortunately they are sold.
Here is a link that might be useful: Fragrant begonias from seed
Hi there y'all, Wow twrosz! Your Pink Scentiment begonia looks beautiful; thanks for posting the picture. I saw a new fragrant begonia featured in a Dutch Gardens catalog called "White Odorata". Anyone familiar with that one? I'd like something for the front windowboxes on the northeast side of the house that I can also put in hangingbaskets. That side of the house gets very little sun, because of the large oak and two large old magnolias in the front yard.... If I can plant something beautiful in there that is fragrant that will be happy in mostly deep shade, [besides impatiens!] I'll be SO THRILLED! I've noticed that a lot of begonias like a little sun, but they won't get much if I plant them there. Will it work? I'd love some ideas!
I bought some of the Scentiments mentioned earlier and they are just beginning to bloom. It looks like there will be plenty of flowers and they already have a wonderful fragrance. I will post photos when they are in peak bloom.
golden State Bulbs has 3 very fragrant tuberous begonia varieties that they used to sell directly to the public.
http://www.goldenstatedirect.com/ They don't have any begonias listed right now. Could be out of season. You might want to check back in Spring.
I grow the yellow and the pink. OMG! the fragrance is heavenly. The yellow flowers a lot more than the pink, lemony rose fragrance. Covered with flowers the whole season long. But the pink has a deep rose smell, but is a bit shy to bloom.
Golden State is going to start selling tuberous begonias directly to the public next year (2011), so check out their website later this year or early next year. They used to carry three scented ones in the 'Scentiment' series (a yellow/orange, pink, and red), but the red was very hard to produce so they had to cut that one. (I had to agree, as they were very hard to get started, were never as vigorous as the other tw0, and were hard to carry over.) Of the other two, the pink one is very prolific and has a great scent. The yellow/orange one does very well for me too, and the flowers are quite beautiful when the sun hits the basket in the morning. They are working on new scented varieties that are really special, but I highly recommend their scented varieties and the tubers they send are substantial.
I grew 3 tubers of 'White Odorata' this year, and the three plants are very uneven in smell and quality of flower. They have about 50% of the scent of the Scentiment series. I don't think I would order them again.
Blackmore & Langdon, justly the most famous begonia company, sells unnamed scented hanging begonias for only 6 pounds each, but importing them is expensive. I have gotten 2 from them in the past, and they have both been very nice (in fact, one was exquisite). The link is:
(You don't know what colors they will be, if you're fussy about that.)
I am desperately looking to replace my 'Pink Spice' that I bought at Antonelli Begonia Gardens when they were in Capitola, California. Last year I took more than 10 rooted cuttings to the owners in their new location in Watsonville, hoping that they would be able to re-introduce it commercially (they had kept 2 baskets of their own). Unfortunately, they declared bankruptcy in 2009/2010 and I didn't get the cuttings back and lost the mother tuber last winter. If anybody has a cutting or tuber they would like to trade, please let me know (I have some great tubers to trade). It's a spectacular begonia in its own right, and the scent is unique. I have not been able to find a commercial supplier.
Blackmore & Langdon also has a great scented upright variety called 'John Smith':
(but it's quite expensive at 30 pounds plus shipping plus import fees). (White Flower Farm is the American distributor for some of the B&L tubers, but they don't carry them all.)
I think that introducing scent into the upright varieties is the wave of the future.
Here is a link that might be useful: Golden State Direct
PS: I forgot to mention that the English company Thompson & Morgan has sold scented tuberous begonias for several years. Every now and then the seeds and/or tubers are available from their United States website. They have upright and hanging scented begonias, which can be viewed on their website below (search for begonia). (Be advised: no shipping outside the U.K. from this website!) The descriptions come from the website.
1. "Begonia X Tuberhybrida Scentsation Mixed F1 Hybrid
The very first fragrant Begonia from seed! These vigorous plants produce wonderful, double to semi-double, pastel-coloured flowers and are stunning grown in individual pots or mixed containers. On damp mornings and sunny days, your garden will be filled with a delightful medley of fragrances from fresh lemon to a soft rose scent."
(I have some of these: very nice upright bushy plants with strong fragrance.)
2. "Begonia AromanticsÃÂ® (Begonia x tuberhybrida)
Admired for its fragrance as well as its rose-like blooms! The scent of Begonia Ã¢ÂÂAromanticsÃ¢ÂÂÃÂ® pervades the air with a delicious medley of fragrances, from fresh citrus lemon to indulgent soft rose. Try floating a few heads in a saucer to enjoy the perfume indoors! Superb in Flower PouchesÃ¢ÂÂ¢ baskets, beds and containers. Be one of the first to share in this remarkable breeding achievement. Height and spread: 30cm (12Ã¢ÂÂ)."
3. "Begonia X Tuberhybrida Fragrant FountainsÃÂ® Mixed
Begonia x tuberhybrida
Inspired by the beautifully perfumed Ã¢ÂÂAromanticsÃÂ® Ã¢ÂÂ series. After painstaking work with the worldÃ¢ÂÂs top begonia breeder, weÃ¢ÂÂve improved this already amazing begonia by giving it a wonderfully cascading habit! With an addictive range of scents, from fresh lemon and soft rose to cinnamon and spices, Begonia Ã¢ÂÂFragrant FountainsÃÂ®Ã¢ÂÂ makes a charming display in baskets, beds and containers. Begonias are becoming the UKÃ¢ÂÂs most reliable basket and container plant thanks not only to their beauty, but also to their ability to withstand whatever the UK weather throws at them - hot, dry, wet or cold, you name it, they just keep on flowering on and on! Height and spread: 30cm (12Ã¢ÂÂ)."
Here is a link that might be useful: English Thompson & Morgan website
The 'Sweet Lady' begonias I had first received turned out to be mislabeled, so I could not report back last year. The company had kindly replaced them, this time with the real McCoy and indeed I was pleased with them. 'Sweet Lady' seems to give off somewhat more fragrance than 'Pink Scentiment'.
I think I'll try my hand with sowing the Scentsation Mix from T&M ... though, I already have toooo many begonias now as it is!
Bill, thanks for all the great information :)
This Forum is horrible!
Due to this thread I had to buy seed and many tubers of fragrant Begonias from Thompson & Morgan....
I'll keep you updated on how they perform in Summer!
Yes I agree with mickeymuc. I was forced to buy the Scentiment begonia from Golden State Direct. I am going all the way with LARGE ONEs. They were over my expense threshold so nerve ending were damaged and I couldn't feel the pain of the extra five bucks for the XL. This post was started four years ago! Will the evil influence ever stop? They only have the pink in production. I am hoping it was the best of the bunch. Also, Costco is sell a bag of 'Fragrant Red'. I am giving that a try too.
Follow-up on tubers and seeds
Well, Golden State is selling the tubers directly, but they are much cheaper from commercial sources who sell Golden State tubers! As much as half off.
I did try Thompson and Morgan scented begonias seeds, but with no luck but it was my fault. I ordered seeds from Blackmore & Langdon directly that are NOT pelleted. I usually have no luck with unpelleted seeds. I bought 2 packets of Illumination begonia seeds that were pelleted, started them on Christmas Day, and have 40-50 seedlings with the first true leaf at one-half inch.
The B&L seeds are coming up and I am very happy. So here is my weird technique. They have to be grown on a heat mat. Buy the peat pellets in the trays with lids. Wet the peat pots. Get a paint brush. Wet it. Put the seeds onto a small white flat dish with a rim. Very carefully pick up a seed and move it to the wet peat pot. I put 5 seeds on each pot. (There were 200 in the packet!) I also put a strong light on the tray as iI put the seeds on the top of the peat pellets. This takes about an hour for a big tray. Cover the tray with its plastic lid, put underneath a fluorescent light, and wait one week. You will see the tiniest little begonias starting their lives. I ordered scented hanging tuberous begonia seeds and upright picotee tuberous begonia seeds and they are both sprouting. I am pretty excited. If you want to order seeds from them email them directly and they can charge your card. Good luck! Oh, they need light to sprout and once they do sprout, you can lower the lights to four inches above the seedlings.
Golden State Direct sells tubers to commercial sources in different sizes, from 1-1/4" to 3"up. If only they would print the tuber size I would be glad to find a bargain. If anyone receives large tubers at half price let me know. Easytogrowbulbs are a bit cheaper but I decides I would save a few cents and the bulb would be traveling back and forth through California so I ordered direct.
It is ambitious to grow begonias form seed. I am sure it will be rewarding.
Peggie: thanks for the Costco tip! I went over and bought two bags of 8 tubers for $12.89. When I inspected them, 12 of 16 had already sprouted and are now potted up in 4 inch pots. The photo on the package exactly matches the picture in Breck's catalog for what they call the "Wow" begonia and the name is trademarked. Breck's price is $9.99 per tuber till 5/6, afterwards $15.99! The Costco tubers range from 1 1/2 to 3 inches. Their bulbs come from Longfield Gardens. I think Dutch Gardens is also selling them. Warning: Costco does not have very many bags of these among all their spring bulbs so you have to dig around. I had to make a mess, but found two finally (I want to do some hanging baskets for friends who love tuberous begonias.)
Golden State tubers tend to be VERY large, but I'll suggest to them to list the size. I think they don't because they range from medium to large.
There is, by the way, disagreement about the size of a tuber and its productivity. Some growers feel that younger bulbs are more vigorous and have more flowers. Curiously, no one seems to know how long the tubers live.
I got my order from Golden State Direct. XL turned out to be mammoth like a baking potato. I ordered other begonias and someone must have an extra finger or toe because I seem to have extra! I am very pleased with my order and will not be messing around with lesser places. I will order anything I need from them. I am liking bulbs in general. I am so tired of babying plants through the winter. The work of putting a bulb to bed for the winter is so easy in comparison.
I did get a couple of bags of Costco begonias last month. I am doing big comparisons this year. So I have all sizes and all types. I got out the Costco tubers I grew last year and they were to big to fit in the cups. Then I got the baking potatoes in the mail! Small tubers maybe a more versatile situation, we will see. My main reason for ordering from Golden State is I want a flower with more depth and better structure.
You can't make a mess at Costco you just make it easier for the rest of us to get what we need. Costco gets the huge ceramic pots in. I wait until some poor husband has un-stack them to get to the pot his wife choose which is always on the bottom. Then I swoop in and score the pot I need.
Thanks Bill for the info on Longfield Gardens and other sites. I will be snooping around looking for more info on what I bought.
Peggie: that sounds typical as Golden State has huge tubers and is a very reputable company to deal with. Some of you probably have the book by Worth Brown on growing begonias (it is easily found on eBay); his family still works there. One other great thing about Golden State tubers is that they make lots of sprouts, so if you are taking off sprouts for "insurance" baby tubers, you have some to take off and still have loads of flowers. By the way, their hanging basket white tuberous begonia is unbelievable: very beautiful large flowers and unforgettable when grown well.
Here is a link that might be useful: Golden State White Hanging Tuberous Begonia
Update on red scented hanging begonias from Costco tubers and Breck catalog: Well, they were definitely grown from seeds not cuttings, as none of mine are red as of today (of course, they would have to be from seeds at the Costco price). Most are orange-red (not at all a bad color but NOT red as in the photos in the catalogs and on the packages).
I have one with a flower that is an incredible coral color that has a very strong pleasant scent. It only has one sprout so I am really nursing it along and won't let any more flowers come along till it has many more leaves. (Really should not have let it flower until it had more leaves, but got impatient.)
The White Odorata tubers (3) from 2010 all came back, and are stronger this year--just opening up.
Still miss my 'Pink Spice.' I hope SOMEONE has one somewhere so it is not lost.
Fragrant Fountains tubers did not all sprout--maybe 60%. Three are about to bloom. Crossing my fingers for good colors. We're having a cool spring in northern California, so that is slowing everything down--still dipping below 50 at night.
Here is a link that might be useful: 'Wow' Begonia
Picture of Fragrant Fountains scented begonia in catalog below.
Here is a link that might be useful: Fragrant Fountains Begonia photo
This is a positively evil thread, LOL. Reading through all these posts prompted to me to purchase 'Pink Scentiment' and 'John Smith' earlier this spring, and I now have them both growing on my windowsill indoors.
I have grown Begonia solananthera and 'Tea Rose' in the past. While they had very pleasant fragrances, they just never "wowed" me in the scent department, being far too soft and subtle. I thought the tuberhybrida begonia scents would be similarly soft and subtle. But I think I may have been wrong...
Right now, I have buds on the 'John Smith'. One bud which is coloring up with an electric coral color but not really near to opening (I give it another week) is already exuding a fragrance! It is a *strong* delicious smell just like ripe sweet peaches or nectarines, maybe with a little rose thrown in. I am amazed, and my nose is very happy. This was an expensive bulb (from White Flower Farm) but it sprouted rapidly and it has been a vigorous grower from the start. The stem is extremely thick and beefy and the leaves are huge.
The 'Pink Scentiment' is not nearly so vigorous compared to 'John Smith', but it also sprouted rapidly and has been growing steadily ever since. The stem is not as thick and it seems to be a very heavy brancher, as can be expected with a pendula type. Leaves are about half the size of 'John Smith' and there are no buds in sight yet. I can't wait to sample its scent later this summer once it is large enough to bloom.
If I am successful with these two begonias, I will definitely want to seek out other fragrant tuberhybridas in the future.
Thanks for stating the obvious that the fragrant red begonia is from seed. I had an Aha moment. I thought I had gotten them mixed up. Of course they are from seed and I have brothers and sisters and not the same clone. Most of mine are single but I am not complaining. I have a very nice display of singles in a difficult spot. It has dense shade until the searing sun pecks in about noon and passes on. The real test starts now that we went from the 70s right into 90+ weather. I have had to stick my nose into the flower to smell it but on occasions it's on the breeze. I got these from Costco so the price was good. I did get a couple of doubles. It is an intense orange color. The begonia is staked in the hanging basket. Happy in zone 9.
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How is the John Smith doing...love to see some pics. Was thinking about taking the plunge but would love to hear your progress first as the tubers are quite expensive for John and sold out til next year. Is it as fragrant as advertised, or just in certain climatic conditions...do tell....
'John Smith' has been excellent so far. The fragrance is consistently very strong both day and night, in sun and in shade, and now reminds me of pleasant, musky ripe peaches. Flower size is about 5" under my conditions (I do not pinch or grow for show) and bud production is quite heavy so far. Color is a striking coral peach.
In spite of the exorbitant price, I highly recommend this plant.
My 'Pink Scentiment' is now really starting to fill in and is opening it's first buds. Flower size is smaller and fragrance is lighter than 'John Smith'. Quality is a very pleasant lemony rose.
Now the bummer of waiting till next year...John Smith does sound very exciting...like a begonia on steriods...if u have a pic plz post and thanks again for the response.
Now that we are just about into August, and the growing season is peaking, wondering how the John Smith and Pink Scentiment are doing....
They are both still doing extremely well and have been blossoming non-stop since late May. If I were to do it all over again, I would have put each tuber into a minimum 12" pot (possibly even 14") since I think they could have easily handled and used the root space. I feel like they are each bursting at the seams in their current 8" pots.
But, yes, I would still recommend both of these varieties for anyone looking for beautiful, vigorous and fragrant tuberous begonias.
Hope this helps,
Hello all. Strange results with Costco tubers that were supposedly red double flowered scented. I only got 1 red double scented and it was very weak and I lost it. All other are single and double oranges. I have one that is a double orange with some yellow that I am calling Kona Sunset, and it smells awesome. Has not set more than one stem, though. Since they are from seeds, I can name it!
John Smith is an awesome begonia from Blackmore & Langdon. Cannot be recommended too highly. I actually advise ordering directly--if you are getting more than 2 tubers, it's a better deal than White Flower Farm. Their website is being redesigned right now, though. If you have a friend to do orders with, even better! B&L also sells unnamed scented begonia tubers for 3 pounds each, and they are really fun to try.
I have about a dozen B&L begonias from seed that I started in late January that are just starting to bloom, about 8 scented hanging ones and 4 picotee upright. Their seeds are not pelleted, and I don't do as well with them.
How does one post photos here?
Ugh. I must be crazy for spending $63.95 with S&H for a begonia but I did it. I noticed that on White Flower Farm's site you can preorder John Smith for March shipment so of course I couldn't resist and did so (I'm blaming ispahan and Bill for their wonderful descriptions!).
I'll just have to not go so crazy with plant shopping come spring. ;)