Although fragrant begonias have been around for a long time, not until recently has that fragrance been added to easy-to-grow begonias for tubs and hanging baskets.
First we had the Fragrant Falls Series, developed by Thompson & Morgan, and now we have three new varieties from Cambridge breeder, David Kerley. You may remember that he’s responsible for the superb Tumbelina Series of fragrant double-flowered petunias, last featured here when petunia 'Belinda' was introduced in 2012.
The Sweet Spice Series is launched this spring in two varieties (left): Sweet Spice English Rose (‘Kerbespiros’) and Sweet Spice Citrus (‘Kerbespicit’). Both are compact, semi-trailing varieties that do not develop long fragile branches. The fully double flowers with their neat rosebud centres, stand up just above the foliage so are not hidden.
And both are beautifully scented. The flowers of ‘Sweet Spice English Rose’ are pale rose pink shading to rich rose at the edges while those of ‘Sweet Spice Citrus’ are pale creamy yellow shading to rich gold in the centre.
David Kerley says: “Several people have described ‘Sweet Spice English Rose’ as having a rose-like fragrance, I think the scent of ‘Sweet Spice Citrus’ is a little sharper.”
Also from David Kerley is Sweet Coral Cascade (‘Kerbecasco’) (right) whose double flowers are soft rose pink with a pale amber heart and, again, a lovely rose fragrance. Ideal in baskets, the plants trail a little more than those of ‘Sweet Spice English Rose’ and ‘Sweet Spice Citrus’ and the flowers have flatter flared centres.
You can order Begonia Sweet Spice English Rose and Sweet Spice Citrus from Mr Fothergill’s and also from J. Parker’s. These two begonias are also being sold by Unwins under the incorrect names of ‘Scented English Rose’ and ‘Scented Sweet Spice’.
You can order Begonia Sweet Coral Cascade from Woolmans.
This is a boom time for new begonias. I featured new hardy begonias for foliage here last year, and in January I looked at the Beauvilia Series of single-flowered basket begonias.
* Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and are not necessarily those of the RHS