The hardy begonia has red stems and starts blooming in late summer.
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Plant type: Herbaceous perennial
Botanical name: Begonia grandis
Hardiness: USDA Zones (5)6 to 9
A hardier begonia than the commonly used annual begonia. Clean, angel wing-shaped and succulent green foliage with red undersides are complemented by loose clusters of pink blooms. Also has attractive red stems. Blooms in late summer to fall. Plant size is two feet tall and as wide.
How to use it: In masses, as a specimen plant, or in containers. Use in a mixed perennial border, shade garden, or woodland border. May naturalize. Plant with other shade-loving perennials, including Hosta and Heuchera.
Culture: Prefers a moist, well-drained site and a slightly acidic, rich soil. In the South, plant in dappled to full shade. In the North or areas with cooler climates, full sun is acceptable. Benefits by deadheading to encourage rebloom. This plant can be stretched to USDA Zone 5 if a thick layer of mulch is applied in the winter. Self-propagates through bulbils (bulblets) that form in the leaf axil and fall to the ground; these bulbils (bulblets) can be harvested and planted elsewhere. No serious pest or disease problems.
Special notes: Great late-blooming perennial for the shade garden. Southern heirloom plant that can be shared easily with neighbors.
Gardeners and plantsmen keep their eyes open for happy accidents of nature, and gardens are richer as a result.