How to Grow and Care for Begonia Plants
Many begonias are grown as outdoor ornamentals, but most can be grown indoors as houseplants. The begonia is a carefree, low-light favorite. It thrives on neglect. Here’s how to care for begonias in your home!
How to Plant Begonias
- Begonias are easy to propagate. Sow seeds in rich, well-draining soil or propagate plants from stem and leaf cuttings by placing the cuttings in soil and keeping the soil lightly moist.
- Plant begonias in a pot that is a couple of inches larger than the root ball.
- Use potting soil rich in organic matter.
- Outdoors, place begonias in a location that gets partial morning sun.
How to Care for Begonias
- Keep the soil moist but be careful not to overwater. Only water when the soil feels dry.
- Remove any faded flowers and dead leaves to keep the plant happy.
- Do not to get the leaves wet when watering.
Begonias are generally pest resistant, but due to their soft stems and foliage, are susceptible to powdery mildew and other fungi, which may lead to rot.
Begonias are a diverse bunch, so chances are good that you’ll find one that’s suited for your home and style. Here a few of the classics to keep an eye out for:
- Wax begonias (Begonia semperflorens) have waxy leaves and lots of flowers. Leaves can be green, bronze or red. Flowers are single or double in shades of red, pink, orange and white.
- Angel wing begonias have long, cane-like stems and leaves are shaped like the wings of an angel. Both standard and dwarf forms exist and many are variegated. Flowers usually grow in large clusters.
- The beef steak begonia is an example of a rhizomatous begonia. It has a heavy succulent stem. The flower stalks have lots of small flowers above the foliage. The leaves come in many colors and shapes.
- Tuberous-rooted begonias produce large showy flowers on small upright or cascading plants.
- The rex begonia’s main feature is its foliage with bright and unusual color patterns. The flowers usually grow on small stems and are hidden between the leaves. Some rex varieties are bred to tolerate lower humidity and are even more spectacular in color. Favorite rex begonia varieties to look for are ‘Fireworks’, a plum and silver combination, and ‘River Nile’, with wavy, spiral leaves that are 6 inches across and chartreuse in color with ruby markings. In winter, it produces pink flowers.
- Begonias may cause vomiting and salivation in cats and dogs. The most toxic part is the root.