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Begonia ‘Encanto Orange’: A Visual Orange Delight

Begonia ‘Encanto Orange’ Annual Hanging/Container Plant


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(5/5)

Pros: Fine ratio of foliage to delicate orange blooms.  An effective hummingbird magnet.  Visually striking in both container and hanging applications.  Does well in full-sun to part-shade.  An undeniable ‘Encanto’ (Spanish for “delight”).

Cons: Last year, my local greenhouse sold-out of their ‘Encanto Orange’ inventory within two days – shop early!


Despite our chilly predawn temperatures, I spotted the season’s first Ruby-Throated hummingbird just before sunrise.  With the deck plants potted and arranged, the word will spread – in past seasons, I’ve seen as many as five hummingbirds darting between blossoms at one time.  Often, these plucky aerialists will work the crowd of flowers as they tolerate and ignore small groups of us deck-dwelling humans.

The Ruby-Throated hummingbird is one of two varieties that summer in Maine.
The Ruby-Throated hummingbird is one of two varieties that summer in Maine.

Not Your Average Begonia

Back in the twentieth century, the begonia was a dowdy, waxy-leafed succulent appropriate only to locations featuring full-shade.  In the past few years, more versatile, sun-tolerant varieties have hit the market – to the delight of both the city and country gardener.


The Begonia ‘Encanto Orange’ (Boliviensis) is a showy, moderate-to-fast-growing annual that is well-suited to hanging and container applications.  While its flower drape and cascading habit resemble the Fuschia, the cheery, soft orange blooms are bee, butterfly and hummingbird friendly.

Hummingbirds are attracted to bold colors - including this coral pink geranium.
Hummingbirds are attracted to bold colors – including this coral pink geranium.

Care And Feeding

Once established, the Begonia ‘Encanto Orange’ is relatively low-maintenance. As is the case with most annuals, it prefers a quality growing medium that drains well.  I find they do best when maintaining an even-watering program in dry or full-sun conditions.  Water when soil surface is dry, but – as with any container plant – never over-water or allow the soil to dehydrate.

As with Begonia Encanto Orange, Martha Washington geraniums have similar care requirements.
As with Begonia Encanto Orange, Martha Washington geraniums have similar care requirements.

For convenience, I like to display groups of annuals that are sturdy and require similar care.  The current crop of hybrid geraniums fit this description and many feature the flashy, vibrant neon colors that hummingbirds love.

Plants such as petunias that flower profusely all season tend to be heavy feeders.  Though the Begonia ‘Encanto Orange’ will flower steadily, it appreciates an application of quality plant food every four-to-six weeks.

The bamboo-shaped leaves of the Begonia Encanto Orange evoke a Japanese garden atmosphere.
The bamboo-shaped leaves of the Begonia Encanto Orange evoke the atmosphere of a Japanese garden.

According to D.S. Cole Growers, a nighttime temperature in the 60s is preferable, but it successfully tolerates our less-tropical climate conditions here in northern New England.


Aesthetics

Resembling Fuschia, the Begonia Encanto Orange presents itself in a cascading fashion.
Resembling Fuschia in structure, the Begonia Encanto Orange also presents itself in a cascading fashion.

My immediate first impression of the delicate flowers and spiky leaves was its suitability to a Japanese garden setting.  Like the Bonsai, the Begonia ‘Encanto Orange’ can be be trimmed in a conservative fashion to achieve a desired shape, or allowed to follow a free-form presentation.  In my experience, it appears to be self-disciplined when it comes to maintaining an attractive state of overall composition, with little need of modification.

Availability

Last season, green-thumbed guests who witnessed its distinctive beauty for the first time played question-box – their predictable reaction being:  what, where and how much?

Begonia Waterfall Encanto Orange2I found my first Begonia ‘Encanto Orange’ in a hanging pot at my local mid-sized nursery for $20 (US).  Most retailers buy a particular plant in bulk at wholesale rates – as is also the case with the multiple varieties of Martha Washington geraniums on-display.  Their first year of availability saw a greater interest than anticipated, so there were many more available on Mother’s Day this year to meet increased demand.

As directed, an application of quality plant food such as Miracle Gro is recommended every 4-6 weeks.
As directed, an application of quality plant food such as Miracle Gro is recommended every 4-6 weeks.

As was true with my inquisitive house guests, the Begonia ‘Encanto Orange’ tends to generate its own best self-promotion to those within its orbit.  If your local nursery doesn’t currently stock them, recommend that they do so in the future.  When you do locate, buy early – for this degree of low-maintenance beauty will not be homeless for long.

My thanks to Doug Cole and Martijn Kuiper for providing the review’s primary and featured images of Begonia ‘Encanto Orange’.

D.S. Cole Growers
251 N. Village Road
Loudon, NH  03307
603-783-9561

11 thoughts on “Begonia ‘Encanto Orange’: A Visual Orange Delight”

  1. Oh! Oh! Oh! I don’t know if I’ll be able to restrain myself to one comment.
    What a truly magnificent beauty. The brilliant color is jaw-dropping. The hummingbirds are going to love you all the way to October – and perhaps beyond. Maybe you’ll snap a picture one morning or evening of your feathered friends enjoying their fortune, and post it for the rest of us to enjoy. And I really must send you my bright orange torsade – (wound-beaded-necklace). If mrroland can wear lipstick ( even out and about), you can wear a beautiful, tastefully-noticeable ( not to mention matching!) piece of jewelry, whilst watering and caring for your basketed-baby.

    Rick, you have outdone yourself – but then, I think that every review. Vh.net may as well just present you all five hats right now. (Re-gifting allowed).

    Nj 😉

    1. Isn’t this an amazing plant? The primary image even has its own built-in caption!

      Does this style of jewelry have an Oregonian significance? For safety considerations, I don’t wear anything that would interfere with my farming, welding, plumbing, lawn mowing, chainsawing or woodworking activities. Did I mention bear-wrestling?

      I do wear a watch when I don a tuxedo…

  2. Yes, it is a truly amazing plant! I have to tell you – Scout’s honor – I was completely captivated when I saw it – the color just jumped off the screen. I suppose, that it’s brilliant orange, (a color that just the last couple of years I’ve come to love) made it an absolute hands-down winner. You have done so, so well with this review.

    Oh, the necklace – I was inspired today. It’s the first day my sister has been conscious enough to recognize people, and that was an excellent reason to wear something bright and cheerful. So, I wore the necklace – which is yellow and orange – hundreds of tiny beads intertwined. No, the only significance is that the owner is an Oregonian. Besides, I didn’t intend you should wear it while engaging in heavy, perspiration-producing, panting labor – just while you’re watering the plant – you know, so you’ll be fashionably attired for the task. T-shirts are perfectly acceptable for some occupations – not for watering award-winning Begonias.
    😉

    1. I’ve always liked the color orange. They also grow an ‘Encanto Red’ version, but my local greenhouse favors the orange.

      Good to hear of your sister’s improvement!

      Norma – as always, thanks for your inspiring comments –

      Rick

      1. Thank you! My sister, Bekki, looked so pretty yesterday – her eyes were focused, and we actually had conversation – little bits and pieces. She will be in the nursing home for some time, but fortunately, my older sister works in a retirement center and knows the needs of elderly and/or infirm patients. We are doing all we can to help bring her through this – and we are grateful to God for bringing her this far.
        I appreciate your kind, supportive thoughts. . .

        Nj

  3. Holy cow, that is gorgeous! I have never seen a begonia so magnificent! Or so BIG! I spent too many years in Utah, I’m afraid, where begonias are small, scared, and usually short-lived.

    Beautiful!

    1. It really is quite a pretty and impressive plant.

      I’ve heard some great things in regard to the beauty of Utah – I hope to visit there and cheer-up those scared begonias, one day.

      Krista – thanks for your comment!

      Rick

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