Whopper Begonias Saved the Year

Red Whopper begonias brighten the Sperry landscape from spring until frost.

It’s been tough getting out of our driveway this year. First, the pandemic. No need to say any more there.

Then my book sales went nuts and Lynn and I got stranded on our driveway signing, boxing and taping books 7 days a week for 10 weeks. Don’t get me wrong: we were mightily grateful for the business, but those were long and hard days. Everything else got pushed aside.

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And third, the county’s contractor tore up our paved road, digging down 8 inches on May 18, as they started the rebuilding process. Guess what. They’re still digging and packing this week. It’s looking like it will be another month before it will be finished. There’s been no incentive to plant color, because it would just have been coated in dust.

So, I’ve resorted to a plant I used for the first time last summer. Whopper begonias are absolutely fabulous. I bought some more prior to the road mess, and they’ve done well in spite of the dust. I’m showing them to you via photos from last year, however, so you’ll have a truer idea of how great they can look.

Knowing that this is a 16-inch pot gives you a good idea of the size of Whopper begonias!

Here’s what you should know about Whopper begonias…
Best if planted in April or early May so plants can become established before summer.
Grow to 18 to 30 inches tall and 15 to 18 inches wide.
Best in shade or part shade or morning sun, perhaps with protection from the hottest afternoon sun.
Both bronze- and green-leafed varieties are sold. Bronze types are more tolerant of sun.

With half-dollar-sized flowers, Whopper begonias take command of their surroundings.

Red and pink flower colors are available.
Virtually pest-free.
Keep moist but not wet for prolonged periods. Do not get water on leaves when sun is hitting them in summer.
Can be sheared back and over-wintered in pots in a warm greenhouse.

Can you still plant Whoppers if you find them?
Certainly, although I’d probably suggest that you plant them in pots so you can protect them from the first killing frosts. You’ll want to enjoy their rich colors as long as you can, especially if you get this late a start for this growing season.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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