Grown as annuals in the garden, as indoor plants and as perennials in warmer zones Begonia plants come from a large family with over 1000 species. You can grow them in flower beds, pots hanging baskets, indoors and outdoors, versatile Begonias are a group of plants well worth exploring.
Begonias flowers (plants) available for sale come in three main forms, they are grown both for the foliage and the flowers depending on the variety.
The main begonia types are :
- Tuberose types are perhaps the most popular begonia flowers in the USA.
- Cane Begonias with patterned or marbled foliage and flowers that range from red through to white.
- Rhizomatous Begonias and Rex or Bedding (semperflorens) Begonias.
However we also have begonias commonly called different names, including :
- Dragon wing begonias – These are a cane type
- Shrub begonias – Again a Cane type such as ‘Little Brother Montgomery’ pictured right. Wonderful star shaped leaf, deep green with silver, Pink flowers, excellent indoor plant in a a well lit position.
- Wax begonias – These are the semperflorens types
- Trailing begonias – Also called trailing scandent types such as B.convolvulacea, however trailing tuberous types, Begonia x hybrida are also available.
If we consider where Begonias originally come from you will find that they are tropical and sub tropical plants.
However they are popular in Maine, Vermont, Washington, Nebraska, and even in Alaska all anything but tropical. So it is easy to see why these are regarded as indoor plants.
With the different varieties and species only a general care description can be given, so look for these conditions.
- Good bright filtered light, not direct sun
- Humus rich moist well drained soil.
- Warmth, Begonias defiantly need to be indoors if the temperature even looks like dropping below 60F
- Defiantly a frost free environment
On going care
- Look for a soil ph of around 6
- With container grown plants, water well and then let the soil almost dry before watering again
- Fertilize in spring and again in early summer with a slow release type fertilizer
- Prune as required in early spring.
- Once flowers have died back, simply pinch the spent flower heads out to encourage a second flush of flowers.
Begonia propagation will differ from type to type. Generally cuttings is a great way and works well for most, but not all, varieties.
- Look for healthy new growth that has hardened a little, we are looking at tip cuttings for this process.
- Cut the stem at an angle and remove the lower foliage
- Snip the upper leaves in half
- Using a free draining propagation mix make small holes with a dibbler.
- Dip the stems in a rooting hormone
- Place the stems in the holes and firm around
- Keep moist and humid until new growth begins.
Begonia Varieties and Species
- Tuberous begonias
- Begonia undulata
- Begonia sanguina
- Begonia reniformis
- Begonia listada
Begonia plants are available for sale from the following nurseries
Tropical plant nursery specialising in a wide variety of rare and unusual plants. Shipping available to retail and wholesale customers nationwide. Our web site also contains information on a variety of tropical plants