Different types of begonias

Discover the 12 types of begonias you can get for your gardens. Begonias are beautiful, sturdy, and come in a wide variety of colors and types. They also don’t need direct sunlight to grow well and in fact, they should be planted in semi-shade conditions. Below are just some of the types of begonias people choose for their home or office.

Begonias are beautiful, sturdy, and come in a wide variety of colors and types. They also don’t need direct sunlight to grow well and in fact, they should be planted in semi-shade conditions. Below are just some of the types of begonias people choose for their home or office.

Below is our list of the different types of begonias you can get for your garden.

Contents

Types

Double begonias

These begonias are compact and bushy, and their petals are large and look similar to roses. Because they grow upright, they are perfect for containers and to place in flower beds. In addition, they have beautiful flowers and attractive foliage, which makes them very popular for gardens that are located in the shade.

Fimbriata begonias

Similar to carnations, these begonias have fringed petals and are very sturdy. Because of this, they are perfect for mass plantings in borders or regular garden beds. You can also place the Fimbriata in containers alone or with another annual that loves the shade.

Hanging begonias

Month after month, these flowers produce brilliant color and are enormous in size. Because of their cascading growth habit, they are perfect for hanging baskets and large flower planters, as well as window boxes, and they can brighten up any home’s décor thanks to their colors and shades.

Double picotee begonias

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These are large, two-toned flowers that look a little like roses. They grow upright and elegant, and they look great placed alongside solid-colored begonias. These begonias need to be out of the direct sun, and they grow best in the shade and in areas that don’t get too hot.

Non-stop begonias

🔥 TIP: !

Compared to other types of begonias, these are much more compact in size. They are perfect for planters and pots, and they come in clear, bright colors such as rose pink and bright yellow. If you place them away from the midday sun, these begonias will bloom continuously all summer long.

Rex begonias

These begonias have large, multi-colored leaves and do best with lots of water and even humidity. Rex begonias do well under fluorescent lights because they do not need much direct light. Their blooms are small and their leaves are purple, reddish, green, or silvery, making the leaves often the most attractive part of the flower. The main variety of the Rex begonias is the Platy centrum rex.

Rieger begonias

Absolutely beautiful flowers that you can find in nurseries in early spring and late winter, these begonias are showy and beautiful. They come in colors that include bright red, orange, pink, white, and yellow, and if you use them as houseplants, make sure you give them a lot of sun – but not direct sunlight. With Rieger begonias, the leaves should never get wet, and you only need to water them once the top inch of soil gets dry.

Dragon wing begonias

Because they have hanging flower clusters, these begonias are good for hanging baskets. They bloom continuously from spring to fall and come in colors such as pink, white, and red. In the winter, you can cut them back and bring them indoors somewhere that is brightly lit, and they prefer filtered shade and well-drained soil.

Multiflora begonias

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These are tuberous begonias, and they are perfect for hanging baskets and containers. They bloom in colors such as rose, salmon, apricot, pink, scarlet, and yellow, and they like partial sun to shade. You can start the tubers during the springtime, then transplant them once the weather and soil are warm. One of their main advantages is giving your garden a burst of color, and they are perfect for this task. Their varieties include:

    1. Floribunda Carriere
    2. Folioso
    3. Fuchsioides
    4. Fulgens
    5. Miniata
    6. Tittelbachia fuchsioides
    7. Tittelbachia miniata

Cane begonias

With woody stems and joints like bamboo, these flowers are sometimes called “angel wing begonias” and can get very tall. Don’t put them directly in the sun in the middle of the day, and only water them when the top inch of soil gets dry. If their height gets out of control, you can lop them back to about four inches and let them grow again from there. Cane begonias include:

  1. Cracklin’ Rosie
  2. Looking Glass
  3. Sophia
  4. Wightii

Rhizomatous begonias

These include more than 700 species and are characterized by thick stems that grow horizontally. In fact, their leaves and stems have numerous distinct shapes and colors, and since they grow near the roots, they can quickly sprout new leaves and roots. Some of their species include:

  1. Erythrophylla
  2. Escargot
  3. Fireflush
  4. Iron Cross
  5. Marmaduke
  6. Ricinifoila

Wax semperflorens

These are shrub-type with thick stems and have numerous variations in forms, leaves, and flowers. Many are sold all year around, and they include varieties such as:

  1. Chicago Fire
  2. Fairy
  3. Houston Fiesta
  4. Libra
  5. Maui Mist
  6. Spitfire

Popular Varieties of Begonias

Below are 15 of the most popular types of begonia, along with their color:

  1. Bellagio Apricot
  2. Bellagio Blush
  3. Bellagio Pink
  4. Big Red with Green Leaf
  5. Big Rose with Bronze Leaf
  6. Bonfire
  7. Cocktail Vodka
  8. Cocktail Whiskey
  9. Doublet Rose
  10. Doublet White
  11. Dragon Wing Red
  12. Mandalay Pearl
  13. Sprint Scarlet
  14. Super Olympia Coral
  15. Whopper

Health Benefits of Begonias

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Begonias contain a lot of healthy ingredients, including alkaloids, carbolic acid, saponins, flavonoids, and many of the same benefits provided by Vitamin C, magnesium, and calcium. They are also easy to consume, because all you have to do is boil them down with water, then drink the begonia-infused water continuously throughout the day. Make sure you strain the water before drinking it so that it is easier to drink. As with any other natural medical treatment, you should always check with a qualified physician before using begonias to treat or alleviate any problem areas. In addition, because begonias contain oxalic acid, which can harm the kidneys, they should not be consumed by anyone with any condition related to the kidneys. Below are 10 of the health benefits provided by begonias.

Dysentery

To heal dysentery, several steps are recommended, including maintaining cleanliness and eating a very healthy diet. In addition, there is a natural ingredient in begonias that can cure your dysentery, and all you have to do is drink the water made with begonia petals.

For help with coughs

Begonia water is a natural cough medicine because it contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungus properties. A cough is usually caused by either a virus or bacteria, so drinking this water can get rid of your cough in due time.

Asthma help

When you have asthma, it is very difficult to breathe, and the condition can become worse if you don’t get treatment right away. This is because going too long without being able to breathe can cause a host of other problems, some of which are quite serious. Begonias provide a natural relief to many types of breathing difficulties, and they are always much better than a prescription.

The flu

Since the flu is often caused by a virus, the anti-viral property of begonias is an excellent remedy to help you heal and feel better. Since it also contains anti-bacterial aspects, this can complement its anti-viral properties and shorten your illness by a considerable amount of time.

Brighten your skin

Drinking begonia-infused water is a safe, inexpensive, all-natural, and easy way to make your skin look brighter and lighter. As people age, their skin often takes on a dull tone, but that can be remedied by drinking begonia water.

Help with the digestive system

Digestive problems are quite common in this country and can include symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Many people do not eat right or exercise regularly, which can wreak havoc on the digestive system. For occasional or regular digestive problems, drinking begonia water can quickly alleviate your symptoms so that you feel better fast.

Bronchitis treatment

Yes, bronchitis can be serious if left unattended, and the symptoms can make you miserable. It can even be very painful to cough when you have bronchitis, but drinking begonia water can alleviate symptoms such as chest pain and coughing. When you have bronchitis, the oxygen flowing to your lungs becomes obstructed, so it is difficult and sometimes painful to breathe. The begonia flower has anti-inflammatory properties and therefore, it can relieve the symptoms of bronchitis quickly.

Can strengthen teeth and bones

Begonias have a lot of calcium and magnesium, so it is good for the strength of your bones and teeth. Since many people cannot get enough calcium through the foods they eat – because of poor food choices or not eating enough fruits and calcium-rich vegetables – drinking begonia water can be a great alternative.

Bleeding problems

Begonias are a natural remedy when you are losing too much blood for one reason or another. There aren’t that many pints of blood in the human body to begin with, so if you begin to bleed for some reason, serious consequences can occur almost immediately. Begonias can help you stop the bleeding so that there is no need to worry about those consequences.

Help with rheumatoid problems

For conditions such as gout and rheumatism, begonias are the perfect answer. For any type of rheumatoid problems, begonias can be true miracle-workers, in part because of their strong anti-inflammatory properties.

If you’re curious about how much or how often to drink begonia-infused water, it is best to start with a small amount and drink slowly. You can experiment with the number of flowers you place in the water before boiling it, and it is always best to make it weak at first, then you can make it stronger if you are not getting the results you were hoping for. There are no side effects of consuming this water, but you are always better off starting slow and building up from there.

What to Consider Before Growing Begonias

If you’re looking for the perfect houseplant, giving begonias a try is a smart move. With delicate blooms and foliage that is certainly eye-catching, they can be grown in almost any home or office. However, there are a few things to consider before you decide to choose this flower as your soon-to-be-favorite houseplant, and these include:

Where are they going to live?

Choose a spot that will give them warmth, but never place them in direct sunlight. You can also choose fluorescent lighting, and keep the lighting on them for 14 hours a day.

Consider your soil mixture.

Don’t over-water or over-pot your begonias, and never put them in a bigger pot until they have completely filled up their current home. In addition, only when the top one inch of soil is dry should you water your begonias.

The humidity level matters.

Begonias don’t like drenched soil, but they do like humidity. If you live in an area that is more dry than humid, simply mist them every day, or consider buying a humidifier to give them the humid temperatures they need.

How are you going to fertilize your begonias?

Regular fertilizing is highly recommended, and you can do this by fertilizing the plants every time you water them – again, only when the top one inch of soil is dry. Once they are fully grown, you can switch to fertilizing them every other time you water them, and it works best if you use a balanced liquid fertilizer.

Consider the plant’s propagation.

Begonias can be planted with seeds or with a cutting from another begonia. For seed begonias, you should sow the seed as soon as they are ripe in 70-degree Fahrenheit temperatures, usually in early spring. For root tips or leaf cuttings, plant them in partial shade in the spring or summer time. Some types of begonias require different planting times, including tuberous and winter-flowering begonias, so it is always best to check out these planting times further before starting your planting, which you can do on the Internet.

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Wax begonias make great bedding plants.

If you’ve looked around your local garden center recently, you’ll find that there are so many new varieties of begonias to choose from nowadays! In addition to the little wax begonias that do so well as bedding plants, there are also the lovely dragon-wing begonias, trailing begonias, showy tuberous begonias, rex begonias, and the list goes on!

Here’s what you need to know about growing different types of begonias.

Begonia Basics

Begonias are tropical perennials, which means that in frost-free climates, they can live (and sometimes bloom) all year round. They like the conditions that appeal to many tropical plants:

  • Light: A bright spot with a little sun protection. Morning sun (and a little afternoon shade) is perfect. Wax begonias can tolerate more sun than other types, and the ones with bronze-colored leaves are the most sun-tolerant of all. Tuberous begonias prefer more shade and less heat, so we often see them on display in late summer.

  • Tuberous begonia

  • Soil: Light, rich, humusy soil. Begonias are great for containers because they love the light texture of potting mix. As bedding plants, they’ll appreciate some compost mixed into the soil.
  • Water: Begonias like to be moist, but they’ll rot if kept too soggy.
  • Fertilizer: Just give begonias a light feeding about once a month using a balanced organic fertilizer.
  • Temperature: Begonias will die if exposed to cold temperatures. Bring them indoors when temperatures start dropping into the 50s F overnight.
  • General Care: Pinch back leggy stems and deadhead spent flowers to keep your begonias in top shape.

Different Types of Begonias

If you think you know what begonias look like, think again! There are many types of begonias, with different leaf shapes, colors, and growth habits. Some look more like trailing ivy than a begonia, and others will wow you with spectacularly patterned leaves or huge, rose-like blossoms. Begonias are categorized both by their growth habit and their root systems.


Trailing Rex begonia

Various types of begonias are commonly described using terms like:

  • Cane-like
  • Fibrous
  • Hardy
  • Rhizomatous
  • Semperflorens
  • Shrublike
  • Thick-stemmed
  • Trailing

How to Grow Different Types of Begonias

If you’re planning to grow begonias as an annual (put out in the spring and discard in the fall), there’s not much difference in how you grow them. Some varieties are more sun-tolerant than others, but for the most part you can just pick the one you like best. Give them bright light, a little sun protection in the heat of the day, and regular water, and enjoy!

The differences in begonia types really becomes important if you decide to grow them year-round. It’s quite easy to keep begonias over the winter, but different types need a little different attention:


    Angel Wing begonia

  • Fibrous-Rooted Begonias: These include the semperflorens (or wax begonias), cane-like begonias, dragon-wing, and other varieties. These plants have just a regular root ball, with thin, stringy roots. Most of these plants will continue growing and blooming all year long if you bring them inside before the first frost, put in a bright window, keep moist, and continue feeding.
  • Rhizomatous Begonias: If you look at the soil surface, you’ll see the fleshy stems and roots creeping along and peeking out of the soil of rhizomatous begonias. Like fibrous-rooted begonias, these types are easy to keep as houseplants. They’re mostly grown for their foliage, but some varieties will even bloom in the winter.
  • Rex Begonias: These varieties are the showiest of all begonias. They are usually rhizomatous and will continue growing indoors in the winter; but they need more humidity, moisture, and fertilizer than other varieties.

  • Tuberous begonia in fall

  • Tuberous Begonias: Here’s where the challenge comes in! Tuberous begonias have a fleshy, round tuberous root – think potato – and bloom in late summer and fall. Tuberous begonias go dormant in the winter, so they won’t stay green as houseplants. Instead, in early fall (before the first frost), dig up the tubers and store them in a cool dry place for the winter. Next spring, after all danger of frost has passed, replant them in pots or outdoors. For more information about overwintering tuberous begonias, check out our article on How To Store Tender Bulbs Over the Winter.
  • Hardy Begonias: This variety of tuberous begonia is hardy to zone 6 and is commonly grown as a perennial in southern gardens. You’ll sometimes find hardy begonias at garden centers, but more commonly they’re passed from gardener to gardener. If you’re lucky enough to have this sweet, pink-flowered, shade-loving variety in your garden, all you have to do is watch it take over, and dig up sprouts for all your friends!


Dragon-wing begonia has dramatic leaves and flowers.

How to Identify Different Types of Begonias

If you don’t know what kind of begonia you have, here’s how to find out:

  • Bring your begonia indoors in early fall, and see what happens. Tuberous begonias will start dying back as the days get shorter.
  • Gently dig up your begonia and take a look at the roots. Fibrous-rooted begonias will look stringy; rhizomatous will have creeping surface stems and roots; and tuberous begonias have a round, flattened brown tuber that looks, well, a lot like a cow pie!
  • Once you know what type you have, either repot them or store the tubers.

Further Information

  • Hardy vs. Tender Bulbs
  • American Begonia Society
  • Tuberous Begonia Growing Guide (White Flower Farm)
  • Overwintering Begonias (Proven Winners)

Begonia Tuberhybrida
Common name: Tuberous begonia, Begonia

About Tuberous Begonia

Unlike other kinds of begonias, tuberous begonias grow from tubers.

Begonia is one of the largest genera, with over 1500 species. These herbaceous plants or subshrubs occur naturally in semi-tropical and tropical regions around the world. Begonias are grown in gardens for their flowers or foliage. Many hybrids are also in cultivation; the genus is unusual because all species can be hybridized with one another, even those that originated on different continents. Begonia growers categorize these plants into several major groups, but the groups do not correspond with formal botanical categories.

The genus was named in honor of Michel Bégon (1638-1710), a French amateur botanist who collected begonias from Santo Domingo while stationed he was there with the French navy. Tuberous begonias were discovered by Richard Pearce, an Englishman, in 1864.

Description

Tuberous begonias are grown for their flowers, although a few types have interesting leaves. They are divided into 13 groups based on flower type or growth habit. They are described as singles, doubles, daffodil-flowered, single frilled, camellia-flowered, and so on, based on the shape of the flower. A great range of colors are available in cultivation, including white, cream, yellow, scarlet, crimson, pink, red, and orange. Some flowers are bicolored. There are no blue flowers. Some tuberous begonia flowers are scented. The plants range from trailers to sturdy upright plants. Most tuberous begonias grow to about 12 inches tall, but some varieties may reach up to two feet.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom – Plantae
Division – Magnoliophyta
Class – Magnoliopsida
Order – Cucurbitales
Family – Begoniaceae
Genus – Begonia

Cultivation

Tuberous begonias are phototropic, which means that both flowering and dormancy periods are triggered by daylength. They will begin to flower when daylength reaches 12 hours a day. Many growers remove the first buds, which delays flowering but encourages larger flowers.

These plants are not fussy about soil type or pH levels. They will thrive in any good garden soil with humus added.

Good drainage is essential! Raised garden beds or those positioned so that water drains away from the bed are good choices. If you’re growing tuberous begonias in containers, make sure there are plenty of drainage holes and add small stones to the bottom of the container to improve drainage even more.

These plants flower heavily while storing nutrition in their tubers for future growth, so they are heavy feeders. Most growers use a balanced fertilizer early in the season to promote plant growth and a bloom-promoting fertilizer later in the season.

Tuberous begonias thrive in light or dappled shade. They do not do well in full sun. They are easily damaged by wind or heavy rain, so they should be planted in a sheltered location.

These begonias begin to go dormant when daylength shortens in the autumn. When they start turning yellow and dropping leaves, gradually limit water to stimulate dormancy. In frost-free climates, tubers can be left in the ground or in their pots all winter as long as the soil is dry. The tubers are vulnerable to rot, so if the soil will be wet, it will be necessary to lift and store the tubers.

In cold areas, freezing weather will destroy the tubers, so they must be lifted and stored each fall.

The tubers should be started into growth in late winter. Move the tubers from their cool storage area to a warmer place until they begin to sprout. Once the sprouts are visible, the tubers are ready to plant. Use a light soil that contains no fertilizer. Bury each tuber completely; the roots develop from the tops and sides of the tubers. Water lightly, being sure the soil drains well. It should be evenly moist but not wet. Place the potted tuber in an area that receives filtered sunlight and has an average temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Water only when the surface of the soil is rather dry. They can be repotted as needed.

Tuberous begonias can be moved outside or bedded out after the last frost. If you are bedding out, bury each tuber at the same depth it had in the pot.

You can increase your tuberous begonias by cutting the tubers into sections with a sharp knife before potting them. Be sure each section has a bud! Treat each section as if it were a complete tuber.

Uses

Tuberous begonias are popular container plants, and the trailing kinds are often used in hanging baskets. They can also be planted in flower beds.

Varieties to Grow

Allan Langdon – red
Bernat Klein – white
Can Can – yellow with red edge
Ninette – pale pink
Sea Coral – apricot

Problems

Tuberous begonias are sometimes attacked by aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. These pests can be controlled by beneficial insect predators or a spraying program.

Powdery mildew is occasionally a problem. The best control is to increase air circulation and avoid overhead watering. Fungicides can be used if required.

The tubers and roots contain oxalates, which are somewhat toxic. Eating them may result in a burning sensation in the mouth, difficulty in swallowing or speaking, and sometimes nausea and vomiting.

Begonia

Begonia

Begonias have been around for ages, and with good reason: This easy-to-grow annual does well in a variety of conditions and needs little to thrive. Provide it with light shade, rich well-drained soil, ample water, and plenty of fertilizer—and you’ll be rewarded with stunning flowers and foliage.

With so many different shapes, sizes, and colors, begonias have no problem taking the spotlight in any garden setting.

genus name
  • Begonia
light
  • Part Sun,
  • Shade,
  • Sun
plant type
  • Annual
height
  • 6 to 12 inches,
  • 1 to 3 feet
width
  • 6-12 inches
flower color
  • Orange,
  • White,
  • Pink,
  • Yellow
season features
  • Spring Bloom,
  • Fall Bloom,
  • Summer Bloom
special features
  • Low Maintenance,
  • Good for Containers
zones
  • 7,
  • 8,
  • 9,
  • 10,
  • 11
propagation
  • Seed,
  • Stem Cuttings

Garden Plans For Begonia

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All Shapes and Sizes

Wax begonia, the more popular variety of begonia, can be found in sizes to fit just about any space (from as small as 6 inches to nearly 3 feet tall). The larger varieties are ideal for landscaping, and when planted en masse create a dramatic effect. Smaller begonia varieties are well-suited for container gardens, and they won’t crowd out your other plants.

Flower shapes are just as diverse as begonia plant sizes. Some plants showcase single flowers with just one row of petals, while others have double blooms with numerous rows of petals.

A Full Spectrum of Colors

In the past, begonia color choices were generally limited to green or bronze foliage with white, pink, or red flowers. But today, begonia colors are much more diverse.

In the wax family alone, you’ll find multiple shades in the white to red spectrum. And in the begonia boliviensis family, there are even more options, including warm yellows, reds, oranges, whites, and pinks. Begonias look gorgeous in window boxes!

General Growing & Maintenance Tips

Begonias are rather versatile in their requirements: Old-fashioned wax begonias are great in the shade, but several newer wax begonia varieties are perfectly happy in full shade to full sun. No matter where you plant begonias, it’s a good idea to give plants a regular dose of fertilizer to help fuel the constant barrage of blooms they’re bound to throw at you.

When it comes to watering begonias, finding a good balance is key for healthy plants. Most begonia varieties need to be consistently watered but shouldn’t get too wet (too much water can kill them). So, don’t be afraid to let the plants dry out a little between each watering. Begonia boliviensis varieties particularly like sharp drainage, as they’re native to growing on cliff walls.

Most begonias grow upright. For containers or hanging baskets, look for begonia boliviensis and angel wing types, which have a more cascading habit.

Seasonal Care

Begonias perform best in warm environments, so planting after there’s no longer a chance of spring frost will help your begonia thrive. Be patient after planting; begonias take a bit of time to get going, and you usually won’t see a burst in growth until after the summer heat kicks in.

This plant helps tend to itself by practicing “self-cleaning,” meaning there’s no need to remove or “deadhead” old blooms from the plants throughout the growing season.

Iron-Cross Begonia & More Houseplants with Fantastic Foliage

Begonia Propagation

Begonia propagation is easier than you think. There are several begonia varieties, and they all have the same propagation process. To propagate from stem cuttings, trim begonia stems 4 inches and insert directly into a growing medium so begonia can root properly. Water and provide proper light.

To propagate begonia from seed, you’ll start with seeds, seed-starting pots, and seed-starting mix. Fill pots with seed-starting mix and lightly mist with a spray bottle. Gently place seeds in pots and loosely cover with plastic wrap to maintain humidity and warmth. Let your seedlings grow in a warm spot out of direct sunlight.

More Varieties of Begonia

‘Bellagio Apricot’ Begonia

Begonia ‘Bellagio Apricot’ is a double-flowering begonia for shade with pendulous apricot flowers perfect for hanging baskets. It grows 14 inches tall and 2 feet wide.

‘Bellagio Blush’ Begonia

Begonia ‘Bellagio Blush’ bears double white flowers. It grows 14 inches tall and 2 feet wide and prefers full shade.

‘Bellagio Pink’ Begonia

Begonia ‘Bellagio Pink’ is a double-flowering begonia for shade with pendulous bright pink flowers perfect for hanging baskets. It grows 14 inches tall and 2 feet wide.

‘Big Red with Green Leaf’ Begonia

Begonia ‘Big Red with Grean Leaf’ bears red-pink flowers on a tough, vigorous plant that grows 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide.

‘Big Rose with Bronze Leaf’ Begonia

Begonia ‘Big Rose with Bronze Leaf’ bears big pink flowers and purple-bronze leaves on a strong, vigorous plant that grows 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide.

‘Bonfire’ Begonia

Begonia ‘Bonfire’ offers glowing orange flowers and narrow, bronzy-green leaves. It’s especially effective in containers. It grows 20 inches tall and wide.

‘Cocktail Vodka’ Begonia

Begonia ‘Cocktail Vodka’ offers deep purple-red leaves and bright red flowers all season long. It grows 7 inches tall and wide.

‘Cocktail Whiskey’ Begonia

Begonia ‘Cocktail Whiskey’ offers rich bronzy-green leaves and crisp white flowers from spring to fall. It grows 7 inches tall and wide.

‘Doublet Rose’ Begonia

Begonia ‘Doublet Rose’ shows off double rose-pink blooms over bronze foliage. It grows 6 inches tall and wide.

‘Doublet White’ Begonia

Begonia ‘Doublet White’ offers showy double white blooms over dark green foliage. It grows 6 inches tall and wide.

‘Dragon Wing Red’ Begonia

Begonia ‘Dragon Wing Red’ offers large red flowers on big plants that can grow 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide.

‘Mandalay Pearl’ Begonia

Begonia ‘Mandalay Pearl’ produces airy white blooms all summer long—no matter how hot it gets—and thrives in full sun. It grows 1 foot tall and 30 inches wide.

‘Sprint Scarlet’ Begonia

Begonia ‘Sprint Scarlet’ offers large red flowers over medium green leaves on compact plants. It grows 8 inches tall and wide.

‘Super Olympia Coral’ Begonia

Begonia ‘Super Olympia Coral’ offers large coral-pink flowers over shiny green leaves. It grows 8 inches tall and wide.

‘Whopper’ Begonia

Begonia hybrid ‘Whopper’ is a begonia series featuring bold colors, sturdy stems, and lush foliage. ‘Megawatt Begonias’ are a good choice for high-impact landscaping design and grow up to 20-28 inches tall and 16–24 inches wide.

Plant Begonia With:

What would we do without impatiens? It’s the old reliable for shade gardens when you want eye-popping color all season long. The plants bloom in just about every color except true blue, and they are well suited to growing in containers or in the ground. If you have a bright spot indoors, you may be able to grow impatiens all year as an indoor plant.

There are few blues more intense and gorgeous than those found on annual lobelia. The mounding type, called edging lobelia, is beautiful for planting in rows in the front of beds and borders. The cascading type is stunning, like a sapphire waterfall, spilling from window boxes or pots. Annual lobelia is in its glory during the cool weather of spring and fall. Except for cool-summer areas, such as the Pacific Northwest or higher altitudes, lobelia stops flowering during the heat of summer. Shear the plant back when this happens, and it will likely rebloom come fall.

Tired of impatiens? Try this enchanting little wishbone flower, also dubbed clown flower for its vividly marked flowers that are said to resemble the face of a clown. It’s a wonderful, relatively new choice for shade. The flower shape resembles tiny snapdragons, mouths wide open and showing off delicate throats marked with a contrasting color. Torenia grows easily from seed sown indoors in pots or outdoors in the ground. This little clown flower blooms nonstop until frost.

Begonias can brighten up any dark spot

We all have those areas in our yards where the sunlight doesn’t shine, leaving us at odds at what to plant to bring out a little color. The begonia is a diverse annual that works very well at brightening up a dark and shady spot. Some varieties prefer full shade where others can handle full sunlight allowing us to pick and choose which selection will work best for our own particular needs.

Most begonias are grown for their beautiful flower colors of white, yellow, orange, salmon, red, pink and bicolors. Some plants will produce large flowers where others will produce small ones. Some are single-petalled and others are so doubled that they resemble a rose or a ranunculus. Some have small round leaves and others have large triangular leaves. There are even those that are grown for their colorful foliage, which have rarely a flower on them.

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I enjoy a begonia’s versatility as I have many shady areas in the yard. I find the best impact comes from a mass planting of 50 to a hundred plants to fill in an area for a brilliant display. Some people may have a bed that goes from a shady area to a sunny location. If this is the case, these make an excellent plant to border the garden edges without an issue from the lighting conditions. The best selection for this sun/shade combination would be the fibrous begonias.

Fibrous begonias are the smallest in the begonia plant family. Usually they will grow from 8 to 14 inches in ideal conditions to about the same width. They have small flowers with four petals, two larger ones that sit across from each other and two smaller ones. They come in shades of white, pink and red and will bloom through the entire season. They grow well planted in the ground in a well-drained, rich soil which receives plenty of moisture. Some have green leaves and others have a deep bronze to burgundy color. “Cocktail Whiskey” is a selection that has bronze leaves with pure white flowers. “Cocktail Vodka” is one that has deep burgundy leaves with brilliant red flowers. “Doublet Rose” is a selection that has a beautiful double flower in shades of pink. Whether in shade or sun, these special wonders will thrive.

A different type of begonia that many of us are familiar with is the tuberous begonia. This begonia grows from a bulb or corm and typically enjoys growing in containers, where it can go through dry periods. If this plant is growing in the ground and the soil remains moist for too long, it can tend to rot at the base and succumb to the elements. Their leaves are of triangular shape and are about 4 inches in length. It is their amazing flowers that grab our attention as their delicate features almost make them seem artificial. Their flowers measure anywhere from 3 to 6 inches across and form on a stem just above the foliage producing one large doubled flower alongside two single flowers on the same stem. The large flower is male and the single flowers are female, allowing the plant to self-pollinate by their close proximity. These plants do not tolerate areas that get a lot of wind as the weight of the flowers can break the stems when swaying. Since it is grown from a corm, they need to be dug up in the fall season to winter over in a cool and dry location for planting the following year. The most common variety of this selection is the “Non-stop” series with “Rose Petticoat,” “Mocca Deep Orange,” “Scentimental Blush,” “Mocca White,” “Deep Rose” and “Deep Red.” Angel-winged begonias are a grouping all their own. They have narrow to wide leaves in the shape of an angel’s wing. Some are solid green and others have white spots throughout. Their flowers usually hang in bunches beneath the foliage making them ideal for tall containers or hanging baskets to allow them to hang freely. One of my favorite is the “Bonfire” begonia, which produces masses of fluorescent orange flowers that are long and tapered at the ends of their petals. In a hanging basket these can produce hundreds of flowers that give it a rush of warm color for any space that needs a little brightening up. “Mandalay Pearl” is a similar selection that blooms in white and can handle full sunlight.

The “Dragon Wing” selection is similar to the “Angel Wings,” but have large flowers similar to the fibrous begonias. These can reach 2 feet tall and can be the same across. They are great for both container and garden plantings. Unlike the fibrous variety, these do not need to be planted in large masses as the plants themselves command attention due to their size.

The “Rex” begonias are grown in the garden for their unique foliage colors and designs. “Fireworks” has white, green and burgundy star-bursting from the center of each leaf. “China Curl” has beautiful white leaves with burgundy and pink swirls on each leaf. “Escargot” has leaves of green and white in a design that resembles the shape of a snail shell. “Ring of Fire” is a spectacular selection of lime green, red and pink. These plants in the garden singly are quite eye-catching; however, they rarely produce any flowers of substance.

All begonias, other than the tuberous selection, can be grown indoors as long as they have a bright location. If they become too tall, just cut them back and allow them to become more full. It’s also always nice to have something special blooming indoors when you can’t be in the garden.

Begonias are the perfect plant to get if you are looking to brighten up a dark spot in your yard. Their delicate-looking flowers can really pack a punch of color to get noticed in their shady locales. The season is still young so there is plenty of time to add these to your plant palette for months of colorful enjoyment.

How to Identify a Begonia

amaranthine begonia flowers image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com

Thousands of begonia species and cultivated varieties exist, mostly because begonias are so easy to hybridize. Begonias are divided into several different groups, based on their growing habits, as well as their leaf and stem characteristics. Begonias are semitropical and tropical perennial plants that are prized for their beautiful flowers and foliage. Begonia species and cultivars display an astonishing array of flower and foliage colors, patterns and shapes. Begonias are usually grown as bedding plants in warmer climates or potted in containers in colder regions.

Identify shrub-type begonias by their upright growing habit and branching stems. Look for velvet-textured, hairy leaf surfaces to spot these little-known begonias. Shrub begonias grow from many shoots and are very multi-stemmed. Thurstonii, Pastel Prince, Midnight Sun, Lady Clare and Christmas Candle are all shrub begonias.

feuille de bégonia image by Unclesam from Fotolia.com

Look for multicolored, showy leaves to identify Rex begonias. Rex begonias are rhizomatous begonias crossed with Begonia rex, creating a group of begonias that are grown for their attractive leaves instead of their blooms. Common Rex begonias include the Curly Fireflush, Red Delta, Silver Cloud and Satin Jazz.

coeur de bégonia image by Unclesam from Fotolia.com

Spot cane begonias, formerly called “angel wing” begonias, by their bamboo-like, tough stems. Cane begonias have large split leaves with silver spots or splashes on them and can be up to 14 inches long. Popular cane-type begonias include the Sophie Cecile, which has pink flower clusters, and the “Lots of Dots,” which has tiny white blossoms with yellow centers.

Look for vine-like climbing begonias to spot the trailing, or “trailing-scandent,” variety. Trailing begonias will grow up tree trunks or other climbing supports and usually have pink or white flowers. Trailing begonia varieties include Splotches, Fragrant Beauty and Panasoffkee.

Identify tuberous begonias by their tuber “roots.” These begonias, which are popular bedding plants, grow from tubers and become dormant during the fall and winter. Tuberous begonia varieties include Pink African Violet, Sugar Candy, B. sutherlandii and B. guttata.

Study the plant’s roots to identify a rhizomatous begonia. Rhizomatous begonias grow from rhizomes, which are stem-like structures that creep along the ground. These begonias have showy leaves and large flowers. The most common rhizomatous begonias are B. Erythrophylla, Freddie and Cleopatra.

begonia image by CraterValley Photo from Fotolia.com

Spot the semperflorens begonias, also known as wax begonias, by their waxy leaves. You’ll usually see this type of begonia growing as an annual bedding plant in colder climates or as a perennial in non-freezing regions. Although semperflorens begonias have a wide range of flower colors, all are ever-blooming. Some examples of semperflorens begonias include B. cucullata var. spatulata, Charm, Barbara Rogers, Viva and Mini Wings.

eine topfpflanze image by Magdalena Mirowicz from Fotolia.com

Identify thick-stemmed begonias by studying their new growth, which will tend to grow up from the plant’s base instead of via branching. These begonias have extremely thick stems, with leaves only on the tips, dropping all the lower leaves. Examples of thick-stemmed begonias include B. petasitifolia, B. dipetala and B. wollnyi.

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Begonias

Begonia is a genus in family Begoniaceae among the flowering plants. The only other member of the family Begoniaceae is Hillebrandia, a genus with a single species in the Hawaiian Islands. Begonia with 1400 species is one of the ten largest angiosperm genera.

Begonia species are terrestrial (sometimes epiphytic) herbs or undershrubs. Terrestrial species are frequently rhizomatous or tuberous. They are native to Mexico, Central and South America, Asia and South Africa.

Kingdom Plantae Division Magnoliophyta Class Magnoliopsida Order Cucurbitales Family Begoniaceae Genus Begonia

The flowers are frequently showy and large, white, pink, scarlet or yellow in colour; they are monoecious, with unisexual male and female flowers occurring separately on the same plant, the male containing numerous stamens, the female having a large inferior ovary and two to four branched or twisted stigmas. Begonia houseplants species have been introduced, and there are numberless hybrids and variations. Because of the great numbers of interesting forms, begonias have appealed strongly to collectors.

The begonia group is one of the greatest groups of cultivated ornamental plants.

Facts About Begonias

  • The first begonia was introduced into England in 1777.
  • Begonia’s are a very diverse group of plants, many of them are grown primarily for foliage, others for the showy bloom.
  • Very many species have been introduced, and there are numberless hybrids and variations.
  • The genus Symbegonia is now included in Begonia.
  • The begonia’s fruit is a dry, winged capsule that splits lengthwise to release the seeds.
  • The Tuberous begonia is also very popular around the world as a bedding plant and also as a greenhouse plant.
  • Begonias are propagated from seed or cuttings. Begonias Seeds are very fine, dust-like, and take two to three weeks to germinate.
  • Begonia conchaefolia Bulls Eye ( Bulls Eye bears the official name Begonia conchifolia rubrimacula.) is supplied all year round to the Dutch flower auctions. Conchifolia means having shell-shaped leaves (concha = shell; floris = leaf). Rubrimacula refers to the red spot on each leaf (rubri = red; macula = spot).
  • We want to get the pruning done so they have a chance to get some new growth before we get them out this spring.

More than 1000 different varieties of Begonia are found in the wild. Most grow in shaded spots in equatorial countries. The plant was first found in Costa Rica and was then prepared for commercial cultivation.

Varieties of Begonias

There are different types of begonias: tuberous begonias (the ones with large flowers), semperflorens begonias (the wax type), rex begonias, rhizomatus begonias (interesting leaves and flowers). There are three types of Begonias: Tuberous, Semperflorens, and the uncommon Perennials. The Semperflorens are by far the most common. They include Fibrous Begonias, Wax Begonias and Everblooming Begonias. Depending upon type, you can find red, white, pink,or yellow varieties. All flowers have a bright yellow eye(center). All varieties will grow compact, dense foliage, and grow about 6-9 inches tall. .

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Growing Begonias

  • Begonias grow best in a light well-drained soil.
  • Plant them in raised beds, large pots or improve your soil.
  • Six to eight inches of redwood mulch, oak leaf mold or other humus type of amendments dug into your soil will do wonders.
  • Any good light potting mix is okay for your containers.
  • If you dug your begonias be sure to water them lightly as soon as possible.
  • Put them in the shade until you can plant them, (not more than a day or two!) Plant them at the same depth that they were growing.
  • Water again after you plant. After that, water your begonias when the soil feels dry to the touch. Begonias do not like to be over-watered.

Begonias plant care

  • The Bold, multicolored leaves grow from a rhizome.
  • Rhizome perform well as house plants; give them bright light through a window and water only when the top inch or so of soil is dry.
  • Plant them in wide, shallow pots.
  • Rex begonias should get high humidity (at least 50%) to do their best.
  • Provide this by misting with a spray bottle, placing pots on wet pebbles in a tray or keeping plants in a greenhouse. If you wish, you may cut the rhizome back to the pot.
  • The old rhizome will branch and grow new leaves.
  • You can root rhizome pieces in a mixture of half peat moss, half perlite.
  • Over-watering is one of the most common problems.
  • Always water into the saucer the pot is resting in, to avoid rotting the stem. Begonias can grow leggy and should be replaced with fresh flowering stock, to prevent the plant from begonia diseases.

Begonias for Beginners

Begonias, named in honor of a French botanist, have been cultivated for hundreds of years with roots in both tropical and subtropical climates. Relatively easy to hybridize, these warm-weather loving plants have been promoted in numerous forms from rexes and shrubs to semperflorens.

Enthusiasts considering the addition of begonias to their home, lawn, office or garden collections will be happy to learn that these hearty plants have the potential to brighten both indoor and outdoor environments year-round, depending on variables related to species and climate.

This article is intended to shed light on some best practices in the context of begonia cultivation while learning to properly identify, successfully grow and adequately maintain a variety of flowering or foliage plant types within a widely popular family.

How do I identify a begonia plant?

The identification of begonia plants begins with an understanding that this particular family comprises approximately 1,500-1,800 species and a diverse range of hybrids. The Big Begonia Revival asserts that it was 1777 before the first living specimen reached European shores. The ancestry of begonias has been tied by some all the way back to cultivation on Chinese soil in the 14th century.

Flowering begonias­–grown the majority of time as annuals–are available in numerous varieties and make for terrific additions to the garden with colors ranging rom white to red, orange, yellow and pink. Typically used to add temporary floral color, flowering begonias may be grown over the summer in an outdoor garden.

Foliage begonias, which prefer bright but indirect light, are known for beautifully colored leaves and unique markings. Some are pale while other leaves are dark green. These types of begonias usually flower sometime between mid-winter to late spring, are well suited for indoor containers, and appreciate partially shaded environments. Many types of decorative foliage-type begonias also boast flowers.

Begonias have been grown in terrariums, hanging baskets, container gardens, and boxes on kitchen windowsills. Mature plant sizes can range from a few inches to more than 12-foot tall.

What are some of the various types of begonias?

Tuberous begonias are extremely popular bedding plants. They can be started in early spring, until the threat of frost subsides, and it is appropriate to move them outdoors. This is achieved in part by placing tubers in shallow flats, out of direct sunlight.

The flowers of tuberous begonias grow from approximately 1/2-inch wide to 4-inches wide. The trailing types of this ornamental species have been known to thrive on display in hanging baskets, providing a burst of color in winter at the same time other plants lie dormant. They can put on an especially sensational display in summer and autumn.

Wax begonias, the most common bushy-type, is generally grown outdoors as an annual in the summer. According to Clemson University Cooperative Extension, these plants can be dug up and potted in autumn with the intention of transporting indoors for the winter. Less common varieties, such as the fuchsia and elephant ear, may require a somewhat higher degree of skill to cultivate successfully.

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Cane-stemmed begonias are among the easiest type to care for. They sport red, white or pink flowers, and sometimes feature leaves likened to the shape of an angel’s wings. Non-pruned varieties can grow up to 10-foot tall. Clemson draws attention to the Dragon Wing when referring to a cane-stemmed begonia that is equally as popular to grow in hanging baskets or containers.

The leaves of foliage begonias grow into a variety of shapes, including hearts, stars and ovals, and are available with a gamut of unique textures. Foliage begonias love humidity so spraying the air around these plants can help them thrive while maintaining an adequate temperature that doesn’t fall below 55 degrees at night. Leaf sizes typically fall in the 1/2-inch to 1-foot range.

Among hybrids, the rex–in a class known as “fancy leaved” begonias­–has been hailed among the most striking examples with patterns made up of brilliant red, green, pink, gray, purple and silver hues.

What should I do with my begonia plant in the winter?

Given that freezing weather conditions can kill begonias, it is imperative in cold-weather regions to dig them up prior to the formation of frost, and replant on a seasonal basis. By wintering over begonias indoors, even growers in northern climates can make the experience of growing and cultivating begonias last year-round.

Clemson suggests that flowering houseplant begonias should be exposed to some direct sunlight, noting that many cane- and shrub-type flowers can benefit from several hours of winter sun.

At the same time, some experimentation may be required when searching for the ideal ratio of light and shade as the appropriate amount of each depends on variety. Take care because some begonias will burn when exposed to high intensity sources of light.

The American Begonia Society suggests placement near an east, west or south, as opposed to north-facing, window. When working with terrariums, it is further recommended that–given begonias planted in these containers require less light–it should never be placed in direct sun.

What is the best way to plant a begonia?

In regard to watering, begonia plants tend to prefer well-drained soil that is given adequate time to dry between watering. A soilless potting mix, made up of peat moss, along with a healthy dose of vermiculite and perlite, is ideal for begonias that are grown indoors, regardless of pot type. A self-watering pot, according the society, may be the way to go. It is equally as important to avoid over-potting begonias plants, taking care to choose a pot that is appropriately sized (i.e. not too big) for the root ball.

The soil should be kept as evenly moist as possible, with a reduction of watering in winter and continual avoidance of overly wet or waterlogged soil. The application of a balanced liquid fertilizer, according to Clemson, is appropriate when the plant is in full growth–at half strength and at alternate waterings. Begonia plants should never be allowed to rest in a saucer of water.

Cut back on watering begonias over the winter. Tubers, which go dormant in the fall and winter months, can, with proper care, also be restarted or replanted in spring.

What other care do begonias require?

Gardening Know How draws attention to special care required for wax begonias, including pot-grown plants that should be transported indoors for winter. A delicate touch is required to unearth in-ground plants before carefully transplanting them into containers and bringing wax begonias inside at the first sign of light frost.

It is recommended that these particular plants be inspected or potentially treated for insects and “powdery mildew,” respectively. Position the plants near a sunlit window, gradually reducing light as they adjust to their new environment. A freelance contributor to The Dallas Morning News states that the health of begonias may be improved by using a small fan to increase airflow.

During the summer, flowering begonias should be moved outdoors with special attention paid to choosing a partly sunny spot, with the exception of types of plants that–due to a lack of resilience to direct sunlight–should instead be positioned in the shade.

It has also been suggested, with the intention of encouraging side branching and increasing overall fullness, that long stems of flowering begonias should be pinched back to promote lateral growth. To achieve the best outcome, repot rex angel wing begonias annually.

Finally

While begonias are a plant that requires some maintenance to keep them growing throughout the summer and the cold winter months, they are a beautiful addition to any backyard garden or flower pot. With such a wide variety of colors, sizes, and shapes even the most beginning plant lover will be able to find a place for one of these plants either indoors or outdoors in a colorful floral display.

Types of Begonias

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This article was originally on the Canterbury (New Zealand) Begonia Circle website hosted on geocities.com which is no longer available (2013) – the article is reproduced here as it is considered of value. The copyright remains with the original author/photographer.

Today there are around one thousand begonia species and many, many more hybrids being grown around the world. They originated in the main from Central and Southern America, China, India, Indonesia and South East Asia – none have been found in Europe or Australasia.

Here we have a brief description of each.

Tuberous Begonias: The ones we know today with the very large flowers are all hybrids originating from single flowered species found in 1860 in places like Bolivia and Peru. Their development over the past 120 years has resulted in the magnificent blooms they now produce. Large flowered tuberous begonias prefer to be grown in semi shade protected from strong winds. They do not tolerate frost and in early winter lose their foliage and remain dormant until spring.

Semperflorens Begonias: These will be known to most gardeners as simply bedding or wax begonias. They can be seen in many gardens and parks and make a wondrous site en masse. They come in a wide range of colours (except blue as is the case with all begonias) with either green, variegated or bronze foliage. They are more tolerant to the heat than their large flowered tuberous cousins – but, again, will not tolerate frost. They are in the main treated as annual plants but in warmer climates can be cut back in winter and will grow again.

Cane-like: These are so named because of their stiff cane like stems. They are also called “Angel Wing” begonias and sometimes tree begonias. They are excellent in both pots or open ground and can vary in size from a mere foot tall to in excess of 10 feet high. They have long clusters of small flowers which last for long periods in the warmer areas. They do not tolerate frost.

Rex Begonias: These, although rhizomatous in habit are classified separately. These plants are grown solely for their foliage which is truly magnificent. They are, however, not the easiest of begonias to grow, require a humidity of around 69% and are best grown in protected areas.

Hiemalis Begonias: These are often seen under different names such as Rieger or Blush begonias in garden centres and supermarkets. In New Zealand they tend to be grown as winter flowering plants. They are very susceptible to over watering but if well fed and grown in reasonable light they will smother themselves in one inch semi double flowers ranging from scarlet through to soft pastels, pinks and creams.

Trailing-Scandents: These often make good hanging baskets while others can be used as climbers in and around your garden. There is not a wide range of varieties in this group but they are well worth growing and propagate very easily from tip and stem cuttings.

Shrub-like Begonias: Like trailing Scandents these plants have excellent foliage which ranges from being extremely hairy to totally bare. In addition however they do flower really well if a good general fertiliser is regularly applied. As their name would suggest they tend to be bushy plants often with dense growth. Excellent as pot specimens.

Elatior Begonias: As previously mentioned the Hiemalis/Rieger begonias are regarded as winter flowering whereas the Elatior, although a similar begonia developed in recent years in Europe, flowers all year round and makes an excellent house plant.

Thick-stemmed begonias: A relatively small group not so widely known. As their name would suggest, they have thick stems from their base to their tips. They do make good pot plants, can grow to six feet in height and like plenty of good light.

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