Rex Begonias

One of the rhizomatous group, Begonia Rex is widely grown, lots of named cultivars and grown for the wonderful foliage.

Begonia Rex ‘Celebration’

Large colourful leaves which are often heavily patterned, the colour range goes from wide to near black, withered, green, silver, pinks all  included in its wide palette. 

Begonia Rex Escargot
Begonia Rex Escargot

Like so many Begonias it is grown as an indoor plant, however in warmer climates, you can grow it in the garden.

Care is easy if you follow a few simple rules and you will rewarded with some of the best foliage colour of any indoor, or outdoor plant. So lets take a closer look as basic care.

Some outstanding cultivars include Begonia Rex ‘Iron Cross’ (pictured) and Begonia Rex ‘escargot’ with its fascinating circular swirl of pattern on the foliage.

Rex Begonias, plants, varieties and types have been used as a house plant for many years they come in a range of colors and leaf forms and are readily available for sale from online nurseries.

Care and Growing Conditions

Properly known as the Begonia Rex cultorum group, they have been in cultivation outside their natural habitat for over 200 years. They come from tropical to sub tropical rainforests of north eat India through to Vietnam and China.

Naturally they grow as an understory plant. So filtered or indirect light, no frosts and a warm environment.

Rex Begonia Iron Cross
Rex Begonia Iron Cross


Best grown in good filtered light, imagine the sort of light you would get on a forest floor. Indoors, indirect, but good light.
Grow them away from heating and cooling ducts and cold drafts.


A free draining potting mix is essential, Begonia Rex do not like wet soils. Try a mix of peat moss with added drainage material such as gravel, pumice or maybe perlite.

  • A basic recipe is
  • 50% Potting Soil
  • 25% Peat Moss
  • 25% Gravel, Perlite, Medium Orchid bark.


This is the key to growing all Begonias, a wet/dry cycle is needed. Water well and then let the soil dry before watering again. The soil should not completely dry out but it does need to dry. In colder zones this is particularly important as cold wet conditions mean death to begonias.


If it gets to cold, you are in trouble. In general  60°F–80°F (15 – 26C) Cooler temperature will lead to slower growth, however as long as they are not subject to frosts indoors with normal nighttime heating they will survive. Hot conditions are not favourable at all.


Rex begonias will survive with very little fertiliser. HOWEVER they will thrive with regular application s of fertiliser. Liquid fertiliser every 3 weeks from spring through summer is advised.

A little slow release fertiliser when repotting is also beneficial.


As nearly every Rex Begonia is a hybrid, they are mainly propagated by division of the rhizomes. They can also be propagated by layering a leaf.

If you are starting out with Rex Begonias we suggest you look for some of the outstanding varieties offered for sale online. And then consider trying to propagate by the leaf layering method.

We are Asked

  1. How Long Do Rex Begonias Live?

    In good conditions, warm climate and good drainage, they are evergreen and last many years.

  2. When do Rex Begonias Flower?

    Generally in summer through to the first frosts

  3. What is the scientific name for Rex Begonias?

    The name Begonia rex-cultorum is used for the group we know as Rex Begonias.

  4. How big do Rex Begonias get?

    Usually between 12 and 24 inches (30-60cm)


  • Begonia Rex ‘Black Beauty’.
  • Begonia Rex ‘Dark Mambo’.
  • Her Majesty.
  • Magma.
  • Begonia rex yuletide

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More Info

Rex Begonias do flower, however the flowers are not seen as important at all. These are strictly ‘foliage plants’.