One of the most widely grown plants for beds, borders and containers for summer colour are begonias.
They can be raised from seed (but best left to the professionals as the amateur gardener could find difficulty getting success with germination), plug plants and corms - the last two methods the easiest to get good results.
Arguably the most popular are the NonStop types which have large, cameilla-like flowers on plants with a compact habit and as the name implies, bloom non-stop all summer until the first frosts.
For hanging baskets and window boxes, unrivalled are the pendula group, the cascading foliage and flowers smothering their containers with colour. The most popular variety here is Apricot Shades.
There are types with large flowers but not ones to choose for outside planting, these being picotee which refer to the edging on the petals that is in contrast to the colour of the main petals, if the colours blend. If they do not then the term is marginata. Others in this what could be called decorative group are fimbriated where the petals are ruffled and with serrated edges, and marmorata in which the heads are white, splotched and edged in red.
To get them started early for the season’s show, tubers should be planted now - they are never planted direct outside. Using a multi-purpose compost, they can go into individual 3-inch pots or evenly spaced in trays, though the former is best as there will be no root disturbance when it comes to planting out in early June.
It can be difficult with some tubers but make sure they are the right way up! The concave side is the top. They should not be buried completely just pushed into the compost so that the surface of the tuber is showing.
Water, not letting any to remain on the tubers and then into a propagator or heated greenhouse. Or put them in a polythene bag secured at the top and keep in a warm place.
Begonias that have small flowers formed in clusters are the fibrous-rooted types, B. semperflorens, great for beds, borders and containers, and either grown from plug plants or bought as garden-ready plants in May/early June.