MEMBERS’ SUMMER CHALLENGE
Each member of the Ropley Horticultural Society is provided with a
plug plant or similar in March to grow on and exhibit in the Summer Show.
The Summer Challenge Cup is awarded to the best exhibit.
The plant for the 2023 Summer Challenge is: Begonia Non-Stop Series
Compact Tuberhybrida begonias with heart-shaped mid-green leaves, 10 -15 cms (4 to 6in) long. Solitary double flowers to 8cm (3in) across. Height x width = 30cm x 30cm (12 x 12ins)
Start the tuber/rhizome into growth in March or April at a temperature of 18C (64F), setting them 5cm (2ins) deep, hollow-side uppermost, in a 13 to 15cm (5 to 6 ins) pot of well drained compost, neutral to slightly acid. John Innes No.2 recommended with addition (if available) of a small quantity of leaf mould to give the slight acidity. Add grit or pearlite/vermiculite to ensure good drainage.
Warning - Initially be careful not to water directly above the tuber where the hollow side may collect water and be subject to rotting. Best to soak the pot from below particularly in the early growth stage.
If growing under glass keep in bright daylight with shade from hot sun. Indoors, a west facing windowsill is best. Once the plant is well established and all threat of frost gone, the pot may be placed outdoors. Again avoid direct sunlight especially during the heat of the day. Keep the pot in a sheltered wind free position and well watered.
Pot on into the final 23cm (9ins) pot in early June and give a liquid feed every 2 weeks. Always keep the compost moist throughout the growing season.
After exhibiting your winning specimen enjoy them flowering throughout September but then, as the flowers start to fade in October, stop feeding them and allow the natural leaf fall to occur. Gradually reduce watering whilst keeping frost free until the leaves turn yellow and drop off. Lift the tuber and store over winter in semi-dry compost keeping frost free. Lightly water the compost over winter to prevent the tuber from shrivelling.
Good Luck and we look forward to viewing your award winning exhibit at the Summer Show on Saturday 19 August.