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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Begonia ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’: Prolific trailing begonia from seed

Posted by Graham Rice on 07 Feb 2013 at 10:47 PM

Begonia 'Santa Cruz Sunset': Prolific trailing begonia from seed. Image ©BallColegave.There are over nine hundred different species of Begonia, so it always seemed a little odd that we only ever saw two different kinds used in summer borders and containers – known by the shorthand of fibrous-rooted, and tuberous-rooted. But the re-discovery in the wild of the South American Begonia boliviensis has led to the introduction of a whole new range of selections and hybrids.

Most of these are designed to be raised from cuttings – the excellent Million Kisses Series is perhaps the best example – but now we have the first of this type that’s raised from seed, ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’.

Plants are bushily semi-trailing, ideal for baskets and tubs, and feature long narrow, fresh green leaves with reddish toothed margins. This attractive foliage makes a fine background for the prolific display of swaying reddish-orange flowers, each made up of four long flared petals and which are held on reddish stems. Flowering is from early summer to the frosts and each plant always carries plenty of colour.

The seed is raised in the same way as more familiar begonias, or plug plants are also available. One other advantage of ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ is that while the cost of each plant of a cuttings-raised variety includes a royalty payable to the breeder, no royalty is paid on the seed-raised ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’. So ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ is more economical.

You can order seed of Begonia ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ from Mr Fothergill and from Nicky’s Nursery.

You can order plug plants of Begonia ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ from D T Brown, and from Mr Fothergill, and from Unwins.

And look out for Begonia ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ in garden centres in May.

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