The Big Series of Begonias (with recipes)

begonia_bigleafLandscapers—take a look at the Big Series of begonias. That’s actually the name—The Big Series—and it offers the classic begonia look in a bigger, better package.

Compared to regular begonias, the Big Series has larger flowers and leaves, and—importantly—the flowers have longer, stronger stems so the color is held out and away from the leaf canopy. Whereas regular begonias hold their color tight to their vest, these begonias flaunt it proudly because the flowers are held up over the leaf instead of right on top of the leaf.

Begonia Olympia Red vs Big Red Begonia

In a word, these plants have “oomph” and that “oomph” tends to move the color up and out.

A bigger classic begonia look is important because some gardens, especially drive-by ones, demand it. Think of the border around the corporate signage as you drive into an industrial park, or that bedding job along the side of the road in front of a restaurant.

Gardens visible to traffic need extra “oomph". Their visitors speed by or view them at a distance while waiting at a stoplight. These drive-by gardens have to make an impression fast, so any plant used in them must be big, bright and bold.

That’s the problem the Big Series solves for landscapers: it offers the classic begonia look with a bigger “pop” for gardens in high-traffic areas that need taller, extra vivid color. 

Here are a couple of Up & Over Recipes that showcase the height and brilliant color of these plants:


Yield: one 2 x 5 foot bed

  • (5) 8-inch Big Red Begonias
  • (8) 4-inch Lobelia Hot Upright Light Blue

Plant the Lobelias as a base. Interplant the Begonias in dots (singles) or dashes (doubles).


Yield: one 2 x 5 foot bed

  • (5) 8-inch Big Red Begonias
  • (8) 4-inch Duranta Gold

Lay down the Durantas as a base and interplant the Begonias in either dots or dashes. Notice how the Big Red pops against the golden bed of the Durantas—very effective and very easy to plant. 

The Big Series works in either sun or shade situations, wet or dry. From a cultural point of view, this is a dependable, reliable series that tolerates a wide range of Cincinnati situations.