Where to plant begonias?

Warm temperatures and joyful devotion from a gardener are what helps begonias grow tall, strong and colorful. Found in shades of white, pink, yellow, and scarlet, this flowering plant is hardy and easy to grow. All it requires is a little sun, a little water, and a lot of love.

Your new begonia plant can be a part of your home décor for a long time if it is cared for in the right way. We have provided instructions here, as well as with the begonia so you can delight in this flowering plant for as long as you choose to care for it.

1) Plant begonia in pot that allows about 2 inches of space all the way around the roots. Using a pot that is too large will hold too much water and not allow the begonia to properly grow.

2) Begonias like to sit in locations that have daily full to partial morning sunlight.

3) Put the plant on a regular watering schedule. The soil should be kept moist, but not wet or soggy. If soil is dry to the touch, the plant needs water. If it is wet, it has received too much. Too much water can cause root rot and kill the begonia. We suggest watering over a sink or bowl so the excess water can drain out.

4) Feed the plant a balanced houseplant fertilizer once a month. Follow directions on the label of plant food.

5) Prune the plant by removing any blooms that are faded or dead. Leaving deadheads on the plant will cause it to spend its energy trying to revive them, instead of focusing its energy on keeping the rest of the plant healthy.

6) Begonias should live in a temperature of 65-72°F. They grow well in warmer, more humid temperatures.

Photo by Андрей Корзун

Care Of Begonias: Growing Tips And Annual Begonia Care

Annual begonia plants have many uses in the summer garden and beyond. Annual begonia care is relatively simple when one properly learns how to grow begonias. Watering is important in the care of begonias, as is the right location.

How to Grow Begonias in the Annual Garden

Known as wax begonias or bedding begonias, annual begonia plants (Begonia semperflorens) grow quickly and easily fill in spaces in the garden that will benefit from attractive foliage and frilly flowers. They can be a focal point when planted in mass and are excellent specimens for container combinations. Annual begonia plants are also deer resistant, so keep them in mind for trouble spots in the landscape.

Plant wax begonias in a full sun to shaded location. Full sun locations during hot summer days may stress annual begonia plants, making them susceptible to disease. Therefore, in areas where summers are exceptionally hot, plant wax begonias where they will get afternoon shade.

Annual Begonia Care

Once appropriately placed in the flower bed or hanging basket, deadheading spent blooms and keeping the soil moist is the basis of annual begonia care.

Watering correctly is important in the care of begonias. Soil should remain moist, but not too wet. A well-draining soil or potting mix simplifies this task. Water wax begonias at the base to avoid leaf spot and the possibility of fungal diseases.

The most compact and healthy wax begonias result from deadheading and pinching back regularly. Annual begonia plants may be cut back before frost and used inside as a houseplant in winter. Once inside, keep the soil moist, provide humidity with a pebble tray and place in bright filtered light.

Cuttings may be propagated for additional plants. Divide in spring for more outdoor begonia plants.

Now that you’ve learned how to grow begonias each year, you can take advantage of this perky plant in the summer landscape. Foliage may be green or bronze/maroon with single or double flowers in pinks, whites and reds. This easy to grow flowering specimen will flourish in the right place in your garden.

Begonia Stock Photos and Images

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  • Flame red begonia in a pot in a country garden in England during the summer
  • Begonia heracleifolia
  • Namaqualand National Park South Africa Purple begonia Peurgonium incrassatum Namaqualand
  • Begonia semperflorens plant (Wax Begonia) bedding variety flowering in a flower box in mid Summer in the UK. White Begonia semperflorens plant.
  • Wax Begonias Begonia semperflorens, Begoniaceae
  • Begonie, Sorte Ruby Young, Begonia spec.
  • Solenia Begonia (Begonia Solenia Light Pink), pink flowers.
  • Angelwing begonia, Begonia maculata ‘Wightii’ showing flower cluster and spotted leaves
  • Begonia, Dibleys Pink Showers.
  • Begonia FRED MARTIN
  • Begonia flowering plant in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.
  • A FLOWERING WALL OF BEGONIA
  • begonia betulia light pink flower bloom blossom focus closeup summer plant portraits flowers petals bedding annuals plants
  • Orange Double Begonia
  • Begonia undulata, Cane Begonia
  • Cane Begonia, Clown Begonia, Begonia maculata var. wightii, Begoniaceae. Brazil, South America.
  • BEGONIA FUCHSIODES
  • Begonia aconitifolia flowers and leaves in garden
  • begonia pink flower , close up
  • Exotische Begonie – Begonia exotica 01
  • Begonia, Begonia boisiana (Begonia boisiana)
  • A big container of Begonia flower nonstop begonia tuberhybrida, tuberous begonias
  • Tuberous begonia Begonia x tuberhybrida tubers with young shoots in spring
  • Begonia flowers close-up
  • Begonia ‘Million kisses embrace’ flowers
  • Tuberous Begonia (Begonia x tuberhybrida New Star), yellow flowers.
  • Pink flowered form of the tender shrubby evergreen, Begonia fuchsiodes, a good summer patio plant
  • Wax Begonias Begonia semperflorens, Begoniaceae
  • begonia semperflorens ‘Party Friend’
  • Spotted foliage of a greenhouse Begonia
  • Angel wing begonia hybrid shows new growth
  • begonia pots containers conservatory glasshouse greenhouse tender plant plants display annuals RM Floral
  • White begonia flower head with deep pink edges
  • Begonia flower
  • Begonia (Begonia floccifera), India
  • Begonia flowering plant in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.
  • Juanita’s Jewell Begonia flowers – USA
  • Begonia (Mrs McLaughlan) Flower
  • Chinese Begonia
  • Shrub begonia (Begonia brevirimosa ‘Exotica’, Begonia brevirimosa Exotica), cultivar Exotica
  • Begonia flowers and leaves isolated against white
  • Single pink begonia flowers with rich green foliage in the summer garden.
  • Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana. Beefsteak plant.
  • Begonia
  • Wax Begonia, Wax-leaf Begonia (Begonia x semperfloren-cultorum), pink flowering plant.
  • Autumn flowers and foliage of the hardy begonia, Begonia grandis var. evansiana ‘Sapporo’
  • begonia fireworks
  • Begonia flowers with water droplets
  • Begonia on black background
  • Summer flowers – informal arrangement of trailing begonias, lobelias and nasturtiums in weathered pots, in the corner of an English cottage garden
  • begonia pots containers conservatory glasshouse greenhouse tender plant plants display annuals RM Floral
  • Plectranthus ecklonii, Swedish Begonia
  • Begonia HARLEQUIN
  • Begonia blossom in pink
  • Begonia flowering plant in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.
  • Begonia Wightii (Begonia maculata variegata) with white flowers – USA
  • Red Begonia Semperflorens Commonly Known as Waxy or Fibrous Begonias
  • Begonia Flower
  • Hybrid Tuberous Begonia (Begonia Î tuberhybrida, Begonia tuberosa, B. gigantea, B. multiflora, B. grandiflora), corm
  • Begonia plant and flower in a terracotta pot isolated on white
  • Begonia flowers blooming in the field on the island of Maui
  • Begonia flower in habitat
  • Begonia flower, Begonia hibrid , black and white close up
  • Wax Begonia, Wax-leaf Begonia (Begonia x semperfloren-cultorum), pink flower and leaf.
  • Begonia white creamy throat double dark background
  • Begonia semperflorens
  • Begonia flower
  • Hanging Begonia
  • Begonia Mason PD
  • Yellow Begonia x tuberhybrida pot plant.
  • Begonia x tuberhybrida, Begonia Can Can
  • Begonia HANNA
  • Bright red tuberous begonia
  • F1 Trailing Begonia ‘Illumination’
  • Begonia Pink Cloud
  • Angle wings Latin name begonia coccinea hart
  • Flame red begonia in a pot in a country garden in England during the summer
  • begonia (Begonia ficifolia), bloomin
  • Orange begonia flower and veined leaves isolated against white
  • Begonia soli-mutata
  • Powdery mildew Oidium begoniae on Begonia leaves flowers
  • Blue flowered perennial Gentiana asclepiadea drapes itself over the hardy Begonia grandis var. evansiana ‘Alba’
  • Wax Begonia, Wax-leaf Begonia (Begonia x semperfloren-cultorum), Red flowering potted plant.
  • England, Begonia Flower Display
  • Wax Begonia plant (Begonia semperflorens) bedding variety flowering in a flower box in mid Summer in West Sussex, England, UK. Red Wax Begonia plant.
  • Red and white begonias (Begonia) blooming in Germany
  • Hardy Begonia flowers (Begonia grandis) – USA
  • Begonia Maculata Wightii in flower with white-pink flowers and green and red spotted leaves
  • Begonia semperflorens, , Begoniaceae
  • Begonia flowers on castle wall. Castello di Amorosa. Napa Valley, California. Property relased
  • Begonia ELSIE EKERS
  • Red flowers of Begonia Texastar
  • Begonia Grandis, Asia
  • Begonia Pink Cloud
  • Begonia flower – Victoria BC, Canada
  • Flame red begonia in a pot in a country garden in England during the summer
  • Begonie, Sorte Jean Blair, Begonia spec.
  • close up of a beautiful begonia flower
  • Interior of tropical rainforest in the Ecuadorian Amazon with a flowering Begonia in the foreground
  • Powdery mildew (Oidium begoniae) on Begonia leaves & flowers

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Beautiful begonias

(Image credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher.)

With so much of the Northern Hemisphere being engulfed with the cold of winter, a look at what the promise of nature holds in just a few short months might help in surviving another wintry day. A perfect symbol of the summer to come must surely be the marvelous blooms of begonias.

Spectacular blooms

(Image credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher.)

The blooms of tuberous begonias produce some of the most spectacular floral displays during the summer and early fall months. Their flowers come in every color except blue and range from single to full double blooms. These amazing flowers range in size from blossoms of 0.5 inch (1.3 centimeters) in diameter to the size of a standard dinner plate. Some flowers are scented and some even have petals tipped with differently colored edges.

Their native home

(Image credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher.)

Begonias are native to the warm, moist forests of tropical and subtropical lands of Asia, Africa and South and Central America. They are members of the Begoniaceae family and more than 1,400 species have been identified. Some species have been domesticated and have become spectacular indoor houseplants.

Types in nature

(Image credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher.)

There are three types of begonias found in nature. Fibrous begonias include species known as wax and angel wing begonias and are best suited for outdoor growth. Rhizomatous begonias have spectacular foliage but their blooms are considered to be insignificant. Tuberous begonias, whose flowers are pictured in this story, produce beautiful, large flowers and often resemble a fully opened rose when in full bloom.

A discovery made

(Image credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher.)

The discovery of begonias is credited to Charles Plumier, a Franciscan monk, who came across the beautiful flowers while exploring Brazil in 1690. Father Plumier was involved with an exploration party in search of medicinal plants in the rainforests. He named the flowering plant after the then French governor of Haiti, Michel Begon, who was Father Plumier’s favorite New World botanist.

The first of such honors

(Image credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher.)

Father Plumier’s decision to name begonias after another botanist was the first time such an honor had been bestowed and it began a worldwide tradition for naming new plant species. The name begonia became permanent for the species in 1753 when Carl Linnaeus used it in his book “Species Plantarum.”

Many uses

(Image credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher.)

In China, begonias were used as medicine to stop swelling, ease an upset stomach, slow the symptoms of a cold and disinfect skin wounds. Other nations were known to use the beautiful begonia to ease burns, cure kidney ailments and stop a toothache.

The birds and the bees…

(Image credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher.)

Begonias are monoecious, having both unisexual female and male flowers blooming on the same plant. Female flowers have a large inferior ovary while the male flower contains multiple stamens. The leaves of most begonia species are large and many are variegated. Leaf arrangement is most commonly asymmetric.

Yummy for the tummy

(Image credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher.)

Begonias have been used for centuries as a food source. Both leaves and flowers can be cooked or eaten raw and are a great source of vitamin C. The beautiful flowers are scattered on top of salads in China, Indonesia and Brazil. The stems of tuberous begonias are similar in flavor and taste to rhubarb. Indonesians make a sauce from begonias and pour it over fish dishes.

Beautiful blooms

(Image credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher.)

Native begonias grow best in shady, moist environments. Modern hybrids have now been produced to grow well in both drought conditions as well as in full sunlight. So if winter’s grip seems to be relentless, just hang on, for summer will be coming once again and so too will the beautiful blooms of begonias.

Wax begonia is a hardy perennial that brings bright blooms to your home and garden for the majority of the year. There are more than 1,000 species of begonias, and they come in many shapes, colors, and sizes. They are easy to grow and can be the center of any garden, and they even grow well indoors. In this guide, we are going to discuss how to care for and maintain wax begonias so that you can have a colorful garden this spring and summer.

Growing Zone and Facts

The wax begonia is a plant that thrives in growing zones 10 and 11 as perennials, but they can also grow in other zones within the country as annuals. They also flourish in containers and flower pots, so they make a terrific indoor plant as well. This plant has been popular since the Victorian age, and it is still popular in gardens and homes today.

Depending on the species, this plant can grow anywhere from six inches tall up to two feet. Blooms are red, white, yellow, and pink, and there are variations in the foliage. These waxy flowers are related to pumpkins and melons; in fact, these edible flowers even have a citrus flavor to them.

How to Plant and Care

Begonia seeds are some of the smallest flower seeds that you will find, so when you plant them, be aware that a small seed pod that weighs only about an ounce can create as many as three million seedlings. Once you have a plant growing in your garden, you will find that wax begonias grow best with these conditions:

  • Sun – In most areas, these plants will grow best in full sun, but if you live in the more tropical areas of the country, some shade may be required from the hot afternoon sun. If you find that the plants are not blooming, then more sunlight is recommended.
  • Temperature – This is a plant that does not do well in cold or freezing temperatures, so you will want to plant it where the temperature will be at least about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures that are up to 75 degrees will help encourage blooming.
  • Humidity – Wax begonias like to grow in a relatively humid environment, so if you cannot keep the humidity above 50 percent, a small humidifier may be useful for indoor plants.
  • Water – Make sure to keep the soil moist, but not dripping wet.
  • Soil – Any light, well-draining soil is going to be good for this plant.
  • Fertilizer – A fairly weak fertilizer fed monthly should work well for wax begonias.

Growing in Containers

Wax begonias make lovely indoor houseplants, especially if you live in an area where the plant does not thrive all year long. When planted in a proper container, most wax begonias can live for a period of at least four to five years. Since this plant can grow to be quite large, you are going to need a large pot so that it does not need to be replanted right away. You also want a flower pot with a lot of drainage holes so that the water does not over soak the roots.

Pruning

When your plant is growing, you will not need to prune it for the most part. Simply trim the leaves and the branches that grow in a curve or overgrow. In fact, in most cases, you will only need to pinch the stems to remove the dead and encourage growth. This will need to be done about once a month, but it will make the plant look much fuller as a result. Sometimes a begonia may get leggy, which means that it is reaching for a specific direction where the light tends to be. Pruning the plant is a great way to force it to grow from a certain part of the stem, which can correct the legginess and create a fuller plant.

Winterizing

Since wax begonias do not grow in cold climates, many gardeners will remove the plants from the ground and place them in a planter so that they can come indoors for the winter. Once inside, they will need warmth and plenty of sunlight to grow, but as long as the temperature is above 60 degrees, it will survive the winter. Frost can kill wax begonias, so make sure that you keep the plant indoors until well after frost is a threat. We wrote a great article with tips on how to overwinter your Begonias.

The best way to propagate a wax begonia is to take a stem cutting from the plant. This cutting should be taken in the spring, and each cutting should be about three to four inches in length. Place the cutting about two inches into the soil. While the cutting is forming roots, you will need to keep the soil moist, and the air around the plants humid. One trick that many gardeners use to give a plant more humidity is to cover the leaves with a plastic bag. It will take some time for the plant to begin growing again, but with the right care, it will thrive soon enough.

You can also start a plant form the seeds of a mature plant. The seeds should be planted about 12 weeks before the first frost of the year. They will need a lot of light to grow, so do not cover them at all. They will grow best between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and you should start to see growth in about 15 to 20 days.

Common Problems

One of the most common problems that you will experience with a wax begonia is root rot. This is because the plant requires a lot of humidity and moisture to grow, but when the moisture sets in the soil, it can cause root rot, which can be quite damaging to the plant. When the leaves of the plant are wet, fungus can also form on the leaves. This will look like a powdery mildew, but it can easily be corrected by adjusting the moisture level and watering the plant from below the leaves. Spots can also form on the leaves. Pests are not a common issue with wax begonias, but there are a few to keep at bay like spider mites, whiteflies, aphids, and scales, which can all cause discoloration and deformities in the leaves.

Plant Varieties

There are quite a few varieties of wax begonia that you can plant in your garden, but some of the more common options include:

  • Super Olympia Series – Large blooms
  • Queen Series – Double flowering
  • Coco Mix – Rounded foliage
  • Cocktail Series – Dwarf size with bronze or maroon foliage
  • Ambassador Series – White, red, and pink blooms that flower early
  • Varsity Series – Large flowers that grow well in containers
  • Victory Series – Large blooms that tend to be red, white, or pink
  • Paint Splash Pink – Mottled foliage with pale pink blooms

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Wax Begonia

Wax Begonia is a plant you would appreciate a lot in a shade garden.

All through the season this plant keeps on blooming, displaying its white, red and pink beautiful flowers. Sometimes you can even find some species with all three colours combined.

These plants should be grown in the shade but they can also tolerate indirect sunlight. In fact they will benefit from being exposed to the mild morning sun for a while.

The hot afternoon sun should be avoided though; it’s out of the question. Having said afternoon sun should be avoided, in regions with cooler summers, some heat-resistant hybrids of Wax Begonia are quite tolerant to the sun, even if it is a full afternoon sun.

Wax Begonias are perennial plants that are often grown as annuals. They can reach approximately fifteen inches in height.

These plants are not difficult to grow; in fact they do not require too much care and maintenance at all.

For a container gardening interest, they look gorgeous in flower boxes, baskets and containers, and they will work really well in rock gardens.

You will be able to enjoy their charming simplicity and elegance from the last frost in spring till the first frost in late autumn or even in the beginning of winter.

Propagation

Begonias can be effortlessly propagated by taking cuttings. It is better to take softwood cuttings from the plants indoors, if you brought them inside your house for blooming in winter. Root these cuttings to get transplants for spring.

Wax Begonia Planting

Select a place where this plant will be protected from the hottest sun in the middle of the day. At the same time the plants will benefit and perform better if exposed to some morning or evening direct sunlight.

Some species can also grow in full sun, provided the soil is kept moist all the time.

Cover the ground with two inches of organic matter and mix it carefully with the soil.
Plant them into planting holes that are big enough to place the plant in without breaking or damaging its roots.

After filling the holes with soil do not forget to water the plant slightly, in order to be able to make the soil around the roots settled and more compact.

Growing From Seed

If you choose to grow from seed, they should be propagated indoors around five weeks before the last frost in spring.

You can always find wax begonia seed suppliers to source these tender powder-like seeds.

Put the seeds onto good quality moist compost, but remember not to cover them as they need light for the process of germination. For better effect it is recommended to cover the seeds with glass – it will increase the humidity and aid germination.

Germination process will take around two or three weeks.

How to Take Care of These Plants

These are plants that benefit in growth if you put a layer of shredded leaves around them (around two inches thick). It will help to preserve water and moisture for longer periods of time.

Be careful not to tolerate any standing water in your garden though, as it can cause all sorts of diseases and even induce rotting of the roots.

If you keep your Wax Begonias indoors during the winter, put them onto the windowsill of a south-facing window. It will increase the chances of an excellent blooming.

Summary

What is a Wax Begonia? It is another stellar performer in the shade garden. It keeps on giving and giving throughout the entire season, white, pink and red flowers.

The plants can take some sun as well, preferably in the morning and later evening. You should always avoid the burning midday sun.

A rich humus soil kept moist will provide you with an abundance of shade tolerant flowers.

Propagate from seed or take cuttings. It’s an inexpensive flower to buy and you certainly get your money’s worth.

They work really well in containers, flower boxes and rock gardens. Always keep in mind that they do best in good composted soil and keep them moist.

Enjoy these flowers for shade gardening from after the last frost to the first frost.

  • Container Gardening in Shade
  • Container Plants
  • Rock Garden Ideas
  • Flower Shade Gardening

Begonias

A closer look at the flowers on a wax begonia

Begonias are a commonly used bedding plant that can provide striking color in the landscape throughout the year. The begonia family contains more than 1,300 species and hybrids, many of which are commonly grown as potted foliage plants.

Begonias that do best in the landscape generally fall into three groups: wax begonias, cane or angel-wing begonias, and rhizomatous begonias. Other types like tuberous, Rex, and Rieger begonias prefer cool temperatures and do not usually make reliable landscape plants in Florida, but you can always try them as houseplants.

Wax Begonias

In the landscape, wax begonias (Begonia semperflorens) are most popular, with flowers that keep their rich color, even during the summer. While considered annuals, they can often survive in the landscape for several years. There are numerous single- and double-flowered varieties in shades of red, pink, and white, with either bronze or green foliage. Popular and reliable, wax begonia thrive in sun or shade and perform well in landscape beds or containers. They are tender to the cold, so should be planted in the spring, after the danger of frost has passed.

A cane begonia with pink flowers in the butterfly garden at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Cane Begonias

Cane begonias have stiff, upright stems that give them their common name, and produce clusters of dangling flowers in shades of red, orange, pink, or white year-round. Leaves are spotted, banded, or splotched with color, and wing shaped, giving them the once-common name angel wing begonias.

Landscape favorites include ‘Torch’ (red flowers) and ‘Alba’ (ever-blooming white). ‘Sophie Cecile’ is a reluctant bloomer, but its robust, five-foot foliage makes it a landscape standout. For South Florida gardeners these plants provide year-round interest; however, in North Florida they usually die to the ground during the winter.

Rhizomatous Begonias

Rhizomatous begonias have thick rhizomes, a type of stem that grows along the ground or only somewhat upright. The flowers of the best landscape types are held on stems above the foliage in late winter and spring. This type does best in South and Central Florida; North Florida gardeners get to see the fantastic blooms only if they grow these plants in containers or very protected areas. Common types are the ‘Star Begonia’ (Begonia heracleifolia), hybrids such as ‘Beefsteak’ and ‘Joe Hayden’, B. nelumbifolia (the “Water Lily Begonia”), and ‘Passing Storm’, which is grown mostly for its beautiful lavender foliage. Some rhizomatous begonias have leaves up to two feet in diameter and make wonderful substitutes for hostas in the landscape. Rex begonias are rhizomatous, and are grown for their colorful leaves instead of their flowers. However, because of foliage problems and a preference for cooler climates these are often better houseplants than landscape plants. If you’re up for a challenge you can give them a try.

Planting and Care

Begonias can be used in mass plantings, or they can be mixed with other annuals. Plant them as soon as possible after purchase. These easy-to-grow plants prefer warm temperatures, humidity, and moist, well-drained soil. When choosing a spot for a landscape begonia, look for an area that receives several hours of morning sun; many begonias can tolerate more sunlight if they are kept moist but not too wet. Well-drained soil is particularly important as begonias will rot if they are overwatered or planted in an area that stays wet.

Your plants should be fertilized several times a year with a controlled-release fertilizer for best results. If your begonia gets leggy, don’t be afraid to cut it back. An occasional light pruning will also stimulate new growth and more flowers.

These tropical plants can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 8b to 11. If you live in a cooler part of the state, be sure to protect your outdoor begonias from frost. They can also thrive indoors.

Begonias are easily propagated at home. There are three types of begonia propagation: stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, and division. Stem cuttings are very simple. A stem cutting should be two to four inches in length and come from a healthy plant. You can root these cuttings in perlite, potting soil, or any other sterile media. Some begonias will also start from leaf cuttings. The only requirement is that the leaf portion contains a main vein. With both stem and leaf cuttings, you should keep them in a cool, humid environment until they root. You can also divide some varieties of begonia by simply separating the stems. Take each section and plant them in clean potting media.

New Cultivars

Breeders are producing wonderful new cultivars of begonias, many of which are interspecific hybrids of the ones discussed above. These tend to be very vigorous with larger leaves and bigger blooms. Examples include the “BIG”® series which resemble wax begonias on steroids and Dragon Wing™, a cane-type that’s sterile so more energy is diverted to flowers instead of seeds. For more information, visit the American Begonia Society’s website and consider visiting one of the state’s Begonia Society meetings to see what a fantastic array of begonias you can grow in Florida.

Before speaking specifically about Begonia hanging baskets, let’s talk about the environment Begonias prefer. Begonias – like Nonstop, Illumination, and Bossa Nova – like to grow in sheltered shady areas; so a full north, northwest and a north northwest location is best. Begonias need a sheltered area because are a bit fragile and will get damaged or break in a windy area.

We will do a quick review of general hanging basket care using the acronym C-A-R-E and then we’ll take a detailed look at Begonia hanging baskets specifically.

Check daily

  • This is about keeping a watchful eye on your hanging basket.
  • Each day, do a general top to bottom overall check of your hanging basket – inspect leaf & flower health: any curling, wilting, spotted or yellowing leaves, and old or deformed flowers. Turn the leaves over to look underneath for bugs, they love hiding there.
  • Begonias are quite hardy plants when they are in the proper location. You see problems arise when they are growing in areas that stress them (like in the sun).
  • One thing to be very diligent about is to check for stem rot. If Begonias are kept too wet, their stems will rot at the soil level. You can tell this by a yellowish-brown color where the soil and stem touch. It will also be slimy at this area. Yuck!

Adequate Hydration

  • This is all about watering.
  • A good way to check hanging baskets for adequate hydration is to feel how heavy they are, lift them by pushing up on the bottom of the pot as they are hanging and check the weight. As you get more familiar with how heavy a fully watered hanging basket is, you will be able to tell when it’s time to water. If you happened to put your begonia basket in an upright container, you can dip your index finger deeply into the soil. If the soil is dry at about 1.5 inches, it’s time for a drink of water. Water thoroughly so that water runs out of the bottom of the pot – that’s how you know you have watered effectively and that all the roots are bathed in a fresh drink of water. If you don’t let water flow out, salts from the fertilizer will accumulate causing the leaves and flowers to burn.
  • Begonias die most often from overwatering. Because Begonias grow in the shade, their need for water is significantly lower than hanging baskets growing in the sun. Classically a Begonia doesn’t need to be watered any more often than once every 5 to 10 days – it sounds kind of crazy, but they easily last that long. Be very sure to check the soil moisture or basket weight before you water.
  • Water gently and thoroughly so the water drains out the bottom as described above.

Replenish Nutrients

  • This step is about fertilizing.
  • Replenishing nutrients is important for containers and hanging baskets because there is a finite amount of nutrients held within the container soil and when water drips out of the pots, some of those nutrients are lost. We recommend fertilizing weekly. Pick a regular day of the week, and make that your fertilizing day – make it an alarm on your phone. Our favorite fertilizer is called ‘Nature’s Best’. It is a natural fertilizer and we have found it to be easy to use, gentle on plants with no burning and we think it makes flowers brighter. ‘Miracle Grow’ is another good choice and other balanced fertilizers like 20-20-20 work well.
  • As a general guideline, fertilize Begonia hanging baskets weekly. If you are watering weekly or every 10 days, fertilize at that time. There is no need to fertilize more often.

Encourage Growth

  • This is a maintenance step.
  • Plant growth is encouraged by taking off old flowers, known as deadheading, removing dead leaves, and pinching straggly, leggy plants back. Taking off old flowers is important because the ultimate purpose of flowers to produce seeds for reproduction. By taking off those dead flowers, the plant continues to flower. Old wilted and curled leaves actually take energy from the plant in an attempt to repair itself but if they are removed, the plant can continue to focus its efforts on flowering. Plants can also get long and straggly looking – it’s ok to literally give them a haircut with scissors – it will make them branch, become bushy and thrive.
  • Deadheaded Begonias as flowers begin to dry. Pinch out old flowers and seed pods by following the flower stem back to where it intersects with the larger stem and pinch it back at that point.
  • If the Begonias are getting long and gangly, pinch them back to keep them compact and to stimulate fresh growth.
  • If the Begonia basket is mixed with other stuffers and vines, some of the trailing flowers may need to be deadheaded as well. If they get long, you can always cut them back with scissors to keep them stocky and strong, and to stimulate fresh growth.

Enjoy these baskets, they have tremendous color power and perform wonderfully with a little routine care.

Recently viewed bulb varieties

By Naomi Jones

If you want impressively big basket displays, trailing begonias are the way forward. Whether you prefer the big blowsy blooms of double-flowered varieties, or the elegant single-ones, they provide masses of colourful flowers that cascade wonderfully from any container, be it a basket, patio pot or window box.

Hang trailing begonias in baskets either side of your front door for a colourful welcome home, or dot them around the patio to provide a lush colour pop. They provide an excellent display in full sun or partial shade, flowering profusely throughout summer.

How to grow Trailing Begonias

Spring is the best time to buy begonias – you’ll have the biggest selection to choose from and you’ll get much better value for money than if you wait until the summer and buy ready-grown ones. They’re supplied as tubers during spring, ready for you to grow on from home. They’re very easy to grow from tubers, so it’s well worth planning ahead and ordering early.

Begonias are tender, so they need to be started off in a frost-free place, a conservatory or greenhouse is ideal.

When you order begonia tubers online, they’ll be sent out at just the right time to pot them up ( around March or April). Here are some simple steps for starting them off:

  • Fill a seed tray to about 8cm with compost.
  • Make shallow indents in the compost (approx. 3cm deep) and position your tubers in the indents, concave side up. Allow a 2cm spacing between the tubers.
  • Give the tubers a thorough but gentle watering, and leave them in a bright, frost-free place to grow.
  • Once leaves have emerged, move the tubers and plant them into pots, window boxes or hanging baskets, but keep them in their frost-free position until risk of frost has passed.
  • You can ‘harden off’ the begonias throughout late April and May by leaving them outside during the day and moving them indoors or covering them with horticultural fleece at night, or you can just keep them indoors until late May.
  • Containers can dry out quickly on hot days, so it’s important to water them every morning or evening in the middle of summer.
  • To enjoy the biggest, most colourful displays, feed them on a weekly basis with a high-potassium fertiliser, such as tomato fertiliser.
  • Begonias often flower right up until the first frosts. To save your begonias for next year, remove them from their container before the frost catches them, shake off the soil and store them in a dry, well-ventilated and frost-free place. You can then repeat the process again the following year.

Trailing Begonias in brief:

  • Grown from tubers
  • Height 30cm-40cm
  • Spread 30cm-60cm
  • Plant in spring, flowers during summer
  • Grows in full sun or partial shade
  • Attractive to bees
  • Perfect for pots and hanging baskets
  • Frost tender

Five of the best Trailing Begonias

Why keep your garden colour at ground level? Lift your flower display higher to add a whole different feeling and perspective to your garden. Here are five of the best trailing begonias to create impressive hanging baskets:

Begonia ‘Cascade Pink’

Striking, large pink double blooms provide plenty of ‘wow’ factor, cascading from containers from early summer right through to autumn. This bright variety brings tropical tones to both modern and traditional gardens.

Buy Begonia Cascade Pink →

Begonia ‘Pendula White’

This elegant variety provide months of interest, with pendulous pink-tinged white blooms that are continuously produced throughout summer and into autumn. Ideal for a white-themed garden, or for adding highlights to colourful schemes.

Buy Begonia Pendula White →

Begonia ‘Cascade Red’

This brilliant red variety with large double blooms provides high-impact colour and will trail beautifully from containers throughout summer. It looks great planted on its own or in mixed schemes with contrasting dark foliage.

Buy Begonia Cascade Red →

Begonia ‘Cascade White’

This cool white variety will light up your garden in the height of summer. The large double blooms are produced repeatedly and will tumble nicely from containers for months.

Buy Begonia Cascade White →

Begonia ‘Bertini’

Grow something different this summer with this spectacular new variety. Begonia ‘Bertini’ is a vigorous, large variety and puts on a very grand display throughout summer. The single pendulous blooms hang elegantly above the equally attractive, lush green foliage.

Buy Begonia Bertini →

“The Best Trailing Begonias for Hanging Baskets”
is a guest blog written by:

Naomi Jones
Author of Garden Nomey blog

Begonia Care Guide: How to Grow Begonias

Begonia Varieties


The labelling and description of the complex array of Begonia types is far from straightforward, especially when looking beyond the generic mixed collections available from garden centres and supermarkets. ‘Picotee’ refers to sepals with edges that contrast with the principal colour, but only if the colours are considered to blend: if they do not, then ‘marginata’ is used. ‘Fimbriata’ Begonias have fringed sepals, and ‘pendula’ varieties have a trailing growth form that is ideal for hanging baskets.

See beautiful Begonia varieties here!

Hybridisation has been easy, even using parents from different continents, and countless commercially produced hybrids and cultivars are available. Most gardeners will choose a low-cost selection of the semperflorens group Begonias from a garden centre, but for beginners looking to create their own container designs with an emphasis on foliage as well as flower, the list of hybrids that have the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit is a good starting point:

Begonia ‘Irene Nuss’

‘Irene Nuss’ is an evergreen perennial that grows up to 1.2m. It has erect stems and large leaves that are bronze-green above and reddish beneath. The pink flowers emerge in dramatic, pendulous, bell-shaped clusters.

Begonia ‘Burle Marx’

This cultivar is mainly grown for its variegated dark green leaves with brown veins and highlights. The tiny flower clusters are held above the leaves and are white with a light pink blush. It is clump forming and grows to 30cm tall.

Begonia ‘Marmaduke’

‘Marmaduke’ forms a bushy plant up to 50cm tall, with oval yellowish-green leaves that are heavily blotched with reddish-brown, and sprays of small pale pink flowers in late spring.

Begonia ‘Mikado’

This Rex Begonia is very tender but can be put outside for the summer. It is evergreen and primarily grown for its handsome grey, deep purple-red and dark green variegated leaves, rather than the small pink flowers that sometimes appear in spring, summer or autumn.

Begonia ‘Munchkin’

Another tender variety that does best at around 20ºC but which can be grown outside in containers through the warmer part of the summer, ‘Munchkin’ is a bushy perennial that grows up to 20cm in height. Its large, frilly, hairy, ovate leaves are bronze with green veining and red beneath. It produces large clusters of rather inconspicuous pink flowers.

Begonia ‘Orange Rubra’

A good choice for hanging baskets and window boxes in shadier locations, ‘Orange Rubra’ grows to 75cm and has bright green foliage that provides a foil to the pendulous, vivid, bright orange flowers. It will not do well in continuous direct sunlight or in waterlogged conditions.

Begonia ‘Ricky Minter’

This is another indoor plant that can be put outside for the summer. It has deeply frilled and lobed dark olive-green leaves with yellow veins and deeper markings, and red undersides. It produces small, delicate deep pink flowers.

Begonia ‘Tiger Paws’

‘Tiger Paws’ has rounded, lobed pale green leaves with darker, big-cat-like markings. It must be grown under glass for most of the year but can be put outside for the summer. In summer, it may produce small sprays of pale pink flowers as an added bonus.

Other widely available varieties for the hanging baskets, containers and bedding include the following.

Begonia ‘Million Kisses’ series

These have a semi-trailing habit and are ideal for hanging baskets and the edges of large pots and containers. The series includes Begonia ‘Yadev’, which has pointed green leaves that are edged in pale pink and bright luscious red, pendulous flowers on pink stems. They grow up to 45cm, flower into October, and do not require routine deadheading.

Begonia ‘Illumination’ series

This series of cascading Begonias comes in a wide range of colours. They are perfect for summer hanging baskets. Amongst the more popular types is Begonia ‘Illumination Orange’, which produces masses of vibrant, dark orange, semi-double flowers on red stems. The leaves are hairy and mostly green but with orange margins.

Begonia ‘Ambassador’ series

These are free-flowering semperflorens Begonias. In favourable conditions they can be persuaded to flower throughout the summer. Begonia ‘Ambassador Rose’ grows to 20cm and has glossy green, red-edged foliage and pink flowers with prominent yellow stamens.

Begonia ‘Non Stop’ series

The ‘Non-stop’ Begonias are hybrids that have the potential to bloom throughout the year. In the garden, they form compact, 20cm, vigorous plant that flower continuously from June to October. Many colour varieties are available. Begonia ‘Non Stop White’ has shining white flowers up to 7cm in diameter and contrasting dark green foliage. As with others in the series it makes a great bedding plant and is ideal for pots, window boxes and other containers.

Begonia ‘Apricot Shades’

This variety has large, tumbling double blooms in fruity shades of peach, orange and lemon from July to October. It thrives in semi shade and its trailing habit makes it ideal for hanging baskets and window boxes, where it will dangle to 40cm.

Begonia ‘Destiny Pink’

‘Destiny Pink’ is another good choice for hanging baskets. It has large, double pink flowers and a glossy dark brown foliage.

Begonia ‘Glowing Embers’

This smaller-flowered and compact, 30cm tall Begonia has striking purple-bronze foliage and bright orange flowers. It will cascade quite happily around the edges of a hanging basket or container.

Begonia ‘Love Birds’

This variety has large, frilly, dark red flowers that contrast beautifully with the long, dark-green leaves. It is suitable for containers and hanging baskets.

Begonia ‘Belleconia Soft Orange’

This trailing Begonia produces spectacular 35cm cascades of pink to orange flowers that have a prominent yellow eye. It will generally flower from May through to September.

Begonia ‘Santa Cruz’

‘Santa Cruz’ produces cascading bronze stems with fiery red to dark orange flowers on bronze stems from June through to the first frost. It is another good hanging basket variety that does not require deadheading.

Begonia ‘Splendide Ballerina’

This new variety of vigorous, cascading Begonia has a 30cm spread and produces showy, double flowers in shades of apricot, orange and dark yellow from early summer right through to the autumn. It is wonderful for hanging baskets, window boxes and containers.

Begonia grandis ssp evansiana

This tuberous Begonia is hardy down to 0°C and with care and protection it can be left in the garden year-round in the south of the UK. It has delicate pink flowers with a prominent yellow centre in autumn and liver-shaped tropical-looking leaves with strong veining. It grows to 50cm, and needs moist and semi-shaded conditions.

Easy-Care Begonias

Fancy foliage is the smart way to brighten up a shaded patio or a garden corner―leaves last while flowers don’t. And among plants with showy foliage, the fancy-leaf or rex begonias have no rival. Their leaves are large and richly patterned with blotches, splashes, and sprinkles in endless combinations of bronze, red, pink, purple, silver, and green. They’re also rippled, dimpled, crinkled, and curled. Some are fuzzy, while others have a metallic sheen. There’s a whole show going on in each leaf.

The best news of all is their new toughness, thanks to the efforts of begonia propagator and breeder Jim Booman of Booman Floral in Vista, California. A decade ago, Booman decided to solve the problems afflicting previous generations of rex begonias, including a tendency toward salt burn on foliage (exacerbated by the West’s generally alkaline water) and a long winter dormancy period. His Great American Cities, Beach Cities, and other rex-begonia series are fuss-free and forgiving, he says. Our experience growing the plants confirmed his claim. These regal beauties give a long season of pleasure flourishing outdoors when nighttime temperatures are above 55°.

DESIGN AND CARE TIPS

Rex begonias are striking enough to go solo in a container. They also combine well with other plants, as long as you give them the starring role. Small grassy plants such as liriope or lacy ferns make good mates, as do simple trailers such as vinca or ivy. If you add flowers, use small, shade-tolerant types―impatiens or lobelia, for instance.

Outdoors, rex begonias like part- to deep shade, ordinary potting soil, and water when the top inch or so of the soil is dry. Give them a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month, or add granular timed-release fertilizer to the potting soil at planting time. Avoid misting the leaves; alkaline water just desiccates them. Instead, when humidity drops to below 10 percent, hose down the patio floor and water the plants. In Sunset climate zones 14–24, H1, and H2, begonias can remain outdoors year-round. In colder climates, bring plants indoors before cold weather arrives.

THE BEST REX

All rex begonias are gems in their own way, but the following are our favorites among the new varieties. If you have trouble finding these rex begonias at your garden center, try ordering from or (888/330-8038).

Great American Cities ‘Houston Fiesta’
Midsize leaves with bright pink, green, and white markings.

Growing Tuberous Begonias

Tuberous begonias have beautiful rose like flowers in a wide variety of colours and forms. Flowers may be single or double, plain, ruffled or toothed. They bloom throughout the summer, thriving in shady spots where few other plants with long bloom periods and showy flowers can grow. They can also be grown in pots on patios, in hanging baskets and indoors.

Growing Begonias Outdoors

Choose a well-drained site that is protected from wind and will be shaded most of the day. Early morning and late afternoon sun will not harm them. The hotter your growing region, the more shade they prefer. Plant the tubers by with the soil just barely covering them. Plant 20-30cm apart with the indented side facing up.

After planting water generously to settle the soil around the tubers. Roots and sprouts will form in a few weeks, depending on soils and air temperature. Keep watered enough to keep the soil very slightly damp but never enough for it to be soggy. Try to water the soil around the plants rather than the plants themselves, to avoid mildew. At the first sign of a white patch on any of the leaves apply a fungicide right away. Feed Begonias with a well-balanced plant food every 2 to 3 weeks.

Stake stems as required. Take care not to damage the tuber. Male and female flowers appear separately on the same plant. You can pinch off the smaller female side buds for larger male flowers. Pinching off the first 3 or 4 buds of the season from each plant will encourage larger flowers

After flowering has finished for the season leave the foliage in place, don’t cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. Water as needed. Leaves and stalks may be removed when they yellow. (If you live in an area where your begonias aren’t winter hardy, dig the tubers before the first frost, dry for a few days and then store in a cool place in paper bags or cardboard boxes filled with peat moss.

Growing Begonias in Pots

Fill your containers with good quality, well-drained potting mix. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; begonia tubers must never sit in waterlogged soil or they will rot. Self-watering pots are ideal. Keep in mind the mature size of the varieties you have chosen and plan your container sizes accordingly. Barely cover the tubers with potting mix. Water sparingly and increase water as the plant develops leaves. Avoid watering foliage if possible. Try to keep the plant continually moist.

Place pots in bright, indirect light indoors or out. Early morning or late afternoon sun is acceptable outside. Fresh air is essential as flowers will drip in stuffy conditions. The hotter your growing region, the more shade they prefer. Apply a combination fungicide and insecticide spray every week from the time that leaves are 15cms long. Stake stems as required. Take care not to damage the tuber.

Stop watering from about mid April. As long as water is applied the plants will continue to grow and flower but become unduly tall and leggy and need much extra staking. Lie the pots on their sides and after several weeks remove the detached top growth. Removed tubers and store them in a dry place.

At the end of August put the tubers out to sprout, concave side up in bright, indirect light then start all over again.

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