Begonia

Begonia is a genus of perennial flowering plants in the family Begoniaceae. The genus contains more than 2,000 different plant species. The Begonias are native to moist subtropical and tropical climates. The genus name Begonia was coined by Charles Plumier, a French patron of botany, and adopted by Linnaeus in 1753, to honor Michel Bégon, a former governor of the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). Some species are commonly grown indoors as ornamental houseplants in cooler climates. In cooler climates some species are cultivated outside in summertime for their bright colorful flowers, which have sepals but no petals.



Prominent features are their usually four-coloured tepals (petals and sepals together) in two pairs of different sizes and the three wings on the ovaries of the female flowers. Flower colours are pink, red, yellow, or white, with the ovary below of the same colour. The usually lopsided, alternate leaves are variable in shape and in colour on different forms. In most species, the fruit is a winged capsule containing numerous minute seeds, although baccate fruits are also known. Most begonias are sour to the taste, and some people in some areas eat them. This is safe in small amounts but potentially toxic in large quantities due to the prevalence of oxalic acid in the tissues.


Table of Contents


Height(Avg)

0.5 - 3 feet


Width-Circumference (Avg)

6 - 18 inches


Approximate pH

5.5 - 6.5


Growth Nutrition of Begonia


Begonias thrive on fertilizers that deliver consistent and balanced amounts of nutrients. Fertilizers such as 10-10-10 fertilizer contain 10 percent of each of the macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Additionally, the fertilizer carries trace amounts of micronutrients such as magnesium, calcium, molybdenum and copper. These micronutrients promote healthy growth rate and increase resistance to disease.


Types of Begonias


Based on the root structure, begonias are categorized into four types: Tuberous, Fibrous, Hardy, and Rhizomatous.

  • Fibrous-rooted: This group includes plants described as wax begonias, cane begonias, dragon-wing (angel-wing) begonias, and other types, all of which have standard root balls with thin roots. The leaves tend to be round and waxy, and relatively small. The flowers are also fairly small, about 1 1/2 inches. Potted plants may continue blooming if you bring them indoors and place them in a bright window through the winter.

  • Tuberous: This group has the most spectacular flowers, large blooms in neon-like shades of pink, yellow, orange, red, or white. They have a fleshy, round tuberous root like a potato and generally bloom in mid-summer through fall. The tubers are often planted as annuals each year, or they can be dug up and stored indoors for the winter. This type is popular both for garden planting and for containers.

  • Hardy begonias: These types belong to the species Begonia grandis. They are hardy to zones 6-7 and are commonly grown as a perennial in southern gardens. They have foliage similar to tuberous begonias but produce rather small pink or white flowers.

  • Rhizomatous: These begonias have fleshy roots and stems creeping along the surface of the soil. They are grown mostly for their interesting foliage and are more often used as houseplants than as garden plants. Their blooms can cover the entire plant. Rex is the most popular subcategory with the loveliest foliage of all begonias.


Flower Types:


Boliviensis Begonia



This variety produces bright orange-red flowers with contrasting green foliage having pink margins. It performs well in partial shade and looks great in hanging baskets!


Reiger Begonia



A hybrid between wax and tuberous begonia, it features waxy foliage and bright colored flowers in shades of yellow and orange. It flowers abundantly from spring to fall.


Big Red Bronze Leaf



This one has amazing red flowers that pair really well with dark green leaves having a bronze tint. This specimen can do well in both bright sun and partial shade.


Solenia Dusty Rose Begonia



This trademark variety is a tuberous begonia hybrid and features frilly rose-hued blooms from mid-spring to mid-fall, that pair charmingly with its heart-shaped succulent leaves.


Ambassador White



This is a classic begonia variety. Lovely small single white flowers with yellow eyes adorn the small fleshy leaves on this wax begonia. The plant thrives in sun and shade both, flowering profusely in spring, summer, and fall.


Ambassador Rose



This drought and pest resistant wax begonia is a perfect choice for novice gardeners. The thick fleshy green leaves create an amazing contrast with large flowers.


Million Kisses



It flowers in a subtle shade of pink that is beautifully complemented by its green leaves. The plant blooms abundantly on arching stems and is perfect for hanging baskets.


Glowing Embers



The plant produces flowers in a bright shade of orange, that almost look like they’re glowing! It’s a compact variety with bronze-purple foliage.


Illumination



With large, pendent shaped flowers in a rich hue of red, the plant looks gorgeous with its cascading, deep green foliage. This variety is good for hanging baskets.


Apricot Shades



The exotic double flowers in apricot shade carry a subtle hue of white, orange, and yellow. It has one of the largest flowers on the list and blooms all summer.


Waterfall


With large double blooms, the flowers look somewhat like roses. This flowering variety is also good for hanging baskets.


Super Cascade



Great for window boxes, hanging baskets, and containers, the super cascade will offer you a palette of bright colors in both sun and shade.


Solenia Salmon Coral



Solenia Salmon Coral is a beautiful orangey, pinkish shade flower. It creates a lovely mound with lots of fluffy blossoms. Pair it with lobelia and senecio ivy for a lovely container arrangement. Or use as pops of color through a shade garden. The Solenia series begonias can take more sun than a lot of the other tuberous varieties.


Solenia Light Pink



A window box favorite, the plant offers full pink, rose-like flowers. It also does quite well in sun and thrives equally well in shade too.


Nonstop Rose Begonia


‘Nonstop Rose’ is a beautiful variety from the trademark ‘Nonstop series’ of tuberous begonias. It offers blooms in lovely shades of red, pink, and mixed hues.


Rose Green Leaf



The plant’s large pink flowers pair really well with its bright green leaves. It does well in containers, is easy to care for, and does well in both part sun and shade.


Cocktail Mix



The cocktail series offers light pink, white, and red flowers with a touch of yellow at the center. It is a compact variety and does well in part shade.


Foliage and Pattern Types:


Tornado Rex Begonia


An out and out exotic variety, the plant has dark green leaves patterned with silver, bronze, and deep rich purple splotches making it stand out from the rest.


Ballet Rex Begonia



The plant displays smashing silver-green leaves with mid-green margins on red stems. The plant, overall, also has a slight red accent.


Fairy Rex Begonia



It is silver leaves textured with shades of pink and cream along with dark green veins is surely going to tempt you into growing it.


Pink Charming Rex Begonia



As the name suggests, the plant features a glorious shade of light pink on its foliage, patterned with green hues and hints of silver.


Duarten Rex Begonia


This specimen has unique pointed foliage, splashed in the shades of bronze and silver. The leaves are also veined and stippled, giving this compact plant an amazing look.


Red Kiss



The metallic red leaves of this plant have a black center, which makes this begonia stand out. It is a hybridized cultivar that has a compact growth habit.


Salsa Rex Begonia



The plant has dark-green foliage splashed with pink color with a touch of silver accents here and there. The leaves are also variegated with burgundy-red hues.


Spitfire Rex Begonia


Featuring a striking red-pink foliage that’s edged in silver and has a border in hues of green, it is one of the best begonias you can grow.


Camouflage


You can grow it both indoors and outdoors and it’ll continue to amaze you with its fantastic russet leaves and small flowers. It thrives well in shade.


Polka Dot Begonia



Go retro with this amazing begonia type with wing-shaped leaves marked with silver spots on the green background. It also grows clusters of pretty white flowers.


Angel Wing Begonia



Categorized as a cane begonia due to its long stems, it is popular for its foliage, which has a shape like wings of angels. It also forms attractive edible pink flowers.


Crinkle Leaf Begonia


Deeply-veined, lily-pad like glossy green leaves with dark-maroon undersides of this compact begonia gives this plant a crinkled look, hence the name.


Begonia Exotica



This exotic variety features large metallic leaves with bright pink variegation on the bronze-green background. It does well under bright light.


Beleaf Begonia


This plant is an absolute stunner thanks to its deep pink large leaves with deep veins that resemble a heart’s shape.


Begonia Ambassador Scarlet



This evergreen perennial generally grown as a half hardy annual, it offers glossy, round, red-edged green foliage, you will see single red blooms with yellow stamens throughout summer.


Wax Begonia ‘Party’ Series


‘Party’ begonias feature large waxy leaves with red tint on the margins. Scarlet red, pink, or pink-white blooms make the overall look more pleasant.


Senator White Wax Begonia


It boasts dark bronze foliage and pure white flowers. ‘Senator White’ is drought and heat resistant that does well as an annual in summer gardens.


Begonia rex ‘Zurich’


This begonia resembles caladium, it shows off heart-shaped leaves in deep burgundy, green, pink, and silver hues, green edges, pink, silver patterns, and dark veins in the middle.


Painted-Leaf Rex Begonia



Also known as King Begonia, it displays oval leaves in a spiral shape and patterns. The silver-gray foliage shows off pink margins and fuzzy texture.


Begonia Rex ‘Paul Gibory’


‘Paul Gibory’ exhibit margins with pointed lobes, small hair-like growth, the edges are surrounded by pink and lilac hues and maroon center.


Rex Begonia Hybrid ‘Merry Christmas’



This begonia hybrid features bright lime-green foliage with notable red-maroon veins and fuzzy texture on the leaf surface.


Rieger Begonia



Also known as Elatior, it features dark green foliage with serrated margins and clusters of dainty red, pink, orange, or yellow single and double petaled blooms. This variety has a compact growth habit making it an apt choice for growing as a houseplant.


Wax Begonia ‘Doublet Red’


‘Doublet Red’ has small, frilled-red, rose-like blooms and bronze-green shiny leaves. It grows up to 12 inches tall and wide.


Dragon Wing Begonia



This hybrid displays glossy, dark green leaves and clusters of bright red or pink blooms. It has a similar shape like angel wing begonia.


Planting Begonia


When to plant:


Transplant after all threat of frost has passed, as they are extremely frost tender and even temperatures below 50 degrees can cause damage.


Where to plant:


Select a location that gets partial shade or filtered sunlight; with morning sun and afternoon shade being the best, especially where it is exceptionally hot. For sunnier locations, try a dark-leaved variety or one that specifies improved sun tolerance, like Surefire Rose. Plant in a location where they will have good air circulation to prevent powdery mildew.


How to plant:


Plant wax begonia transplants 6 to 8 inches apart and others according to their mature size. Tubers can be started indoors by placing the tubers, hollow side up, 1 inch apart in a shallow tray with moist potting mix. Place the tray in a dark room and water just enough to keep the potting mix moist, but not soggy. Tubers should sprout in about 4 weeks and be moved to an area with bright light once the sprouts are about an inch tall. Only plant outdoors when there is no longer a threat of frost.


Begonia Care


Begonias are not heavy feeders. Apply a slow-release fertilizer or a granular organic fertilizer at the time of planting to supply all of their needs through the growing season. Fertilize perennial hardy begonias in late spring each year.


Although wax begonias and some others tolerate dry conditions, all types grow best with consistent soil moisture. Planting in high-quality soil is the key. Amend garden beds with compost to boost organic content for excellent moisture balance. Apply 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch to retain moisture and buffer temperature extremes. For container plants, choose glazed pottery or plastic containers that retain moisture better than unglazed terra cotta. Water often enough to keep the soil from drying out.


Prevent plant stress that leads to disease and pest problems by giving your begonias the right growing conditions. Excessive moisture from frequent overhead irrigation invites disease problems. Water outdoor flower beds in the early morning, when the foliage is already wet from dew, and only when the soil begins to dry. Better still, use drip irrigation to avoid wetting the leaves. Also, avoid over-fertilizing, as too much plant food results in too much soft plant tissue, which attracts insect pests.


Growing Begonias Indoors


The best way to ensure the survival of any begonia houseplant is to select the proper location indoors that matches their lighting needs.


Rhizomatous and fibrous-rooted species like Rex begonias are often grown as houseplants. While you can grow tuberous begonias indoors, they are harder to take care of due to their light and humidity needs.


Like most houseplants, begonias prefer bright, indirect light and plenty of humidity. If the air in your home is dry, especially in the winter, set the begonia houseplants on a shallow tray filled with pebbles and water, but keep the water level below the pebbles to prevent water from wicking into the pot through capillary action. Or, invest in a small humidifier.


While begonias enjoy a humid environment, that doesn't mean that they need frequent watering. Allow the top inch or so of potting soil to dry out before giving your potted begonia a good drink. It's a good idea to water until it runs out of the bottom of the pot to make sure that the soil is completely saturated.


Also, begonias love company. Amanda Spangler, a horticulturist and lecturer for the University of Tennessee's Department of Plant Sciences, suggests grouping a few of your favorite houseplants together to create a microclimate of increased humidity in the area around your begonia plants.


In cold regions, wintering hardy tuberous begonias inside is an excellent way to keep them from year to year. These types perform best in a brightly lit room, but indoor humidity is drier than these plants prefer.


Pruning and Propagation of Begonias


Pruning


Begonias grown as annuals do not need to be pruned. In some cases, you may want to cut back the plant to encourage growth. This isn’t as much of a factor for begonias as other plants, such as wave petunias.


Propagation of Begonias


Propagating begonias is possible, but you’ll likely just want to purchase small plants to start if you are growing begonias as an annual. Propagating begonias takes more time for them to get started, so you may not have as long as a growing season.

Here’s a quick overview of how to propagate begonias:

  1. Cut about a 4″ stem off the mother plant.

  2. Place the stem(s) in a glass of water (a few inches of water is fine) and place on a windowsill.

  3. Re-fill the water as needed until the stems begin to sprout tiny roots (may take about a month or so).

  4. Once the roots are mature enough, plant the cuttings in some well-drained soil and water and fertilizer. The plant may struggle at first in its new environment, but with the proper care, it’ll grow into a begonia plant of its own.


Repotting Begonias


When your begonias are ready to move into a bigger pot, choose a container that is only an inch or so larger than its current pot.


"Putting a small begonia in a big container or potting one before the plant is ready for an upgrade may lead to root rot and other fungal problems," says Spangler.


Choose a potting mix that has some good organic matter or a soil-less mix with slow-release fertilizer mixed in. If you are happy with the size of the pot that your begonia is currently growing in, you don't necessarily need to re-pot it to maintain a healthy plant.


Topdress with an inch or so of fresh potting mix every year and root prune if needed.


Pests and Plant Diseases


Pests of begonia


Diseases and pests of begonia often come to us from the windows. Most flying pests are street insects that we fight in the garden.

  • The greenhouse whitefly appears due to increased humidity. She eats begonia juice. As a result of its activity, the leaves become discolored and gradually dry out. Spray the plant with soapy water. To do this, dilute 40 ml of liquid soap in 10 liters of water. Before spraying, cover the root system.

  • As a result of the activity of the gall nematode , growths and swellings appear on the stems, roots and leaves of begonias. This can lead to complete damage to the plant, stopping its growth and even death due to decay. Fighting her is quite difficult. The best way is to prevent it from occurring. Steam the soil before planting to kill all the larvae. If nevertheless a nematode has appeared, use a solution based on heterophos.

  • Soft false shield settles inside the shoots. As a result, begonia stops growing and dries. You can get rid of it manually by cleaning the shoots with a soft brush. Use also an infusion of garlic.

  • The appearance of a red spider mite is indicated by a spider web on the plant. Leaves in the beginning become marble, then become covered with cobwebs, turn yellow and fall off. He settles on the back of the leaves. Abundant irrigation and very warm conditions contribute to the emergence of this begonia pest. You can fight the tick with the drug Decis.

  • Greenhouse aphids feed on plant sap. Its massive presence leads to the death of the plant. A sign of the presence of aphids on begonias is yellowed and twisted leaves, their falling. Flower buds also fall. Use insecticides. Use the drug immediately because aphids breed very quickly in indoor conditions.

  • Leaf nematode affects the aerial part of the plant. A sign of its influence is light green spots on the leaves and their browning. In the early stages, heterophos affects it. If the lesion has spread greatly, it is better to remove the flower, and disinfect the pot well.

  • Greenhouse thrips – a large insect. It leads to discoloration of the plant and stops its growth. Its reproduction is promoted by high humidity and high temperatures. Usually, to combat it, use a soap solution, tincture of tobacco and celandine (1 l of water and 100 g of the mixture).


Diseases of ornamental and deciduous begonias


Most often,feel unwell due to improper care. Therefore, it stops developing. Next, we give you a list of common symptoms and causes of such plant behavior.

  • Leaves curl and dry around the edge that appear because begonia is kept in too dry conditions. She lacks moisture in the soil, air. Remove the plant from such a place.

  • Too small young leaves develop as a result of a lack of nutrients in the soil and its deterioration. Transplant begonia every time into nutritious soil mixture. Feeding in the form of liquid fertilizer will also help. It should be intended for begonias. Feed a houseplant every two weeks.

  • Begonia and its leaves wilt from gas fumes in the kitchen. Remove it immediately from the kitchen, where there is a gas stove.

  • At the base of the begonia, rot appears on the stems and their tops because the soil in the pot is too moist. As a result of the accumulation of excess moisture by the plant, putrefactive diseases appear. At the initial stage of the disease, watering should be significantly reduced.

  • Begonia can drop leaves in winter because it is cold or through. Remove the plant from the cause of the cold and transfer it to more comfortable conditions.


Diseases of flowering begonia


From indoor flowering plants, we expect a beautiful and abundant flowering. Many diseases are common to them. The following is a list of common begonia diseases.

  • Yellow rings and spots appear on the leaves of begonias as a result of exposure to the cucumber mosaic virus. It spreads very quickly and is not treated. Such an affected plant is destroyed immediately. Inspect the rest of the indoor plants and get rid of the sick as well.

  • A greenish coating with a brown tint is gray rot or mold. It affects the leaves and flowers of begonias. The cause of the occurrence is most often waterlogging. To get rid of gray rot, fungicides are used. For the treatment period, the plant is placed in a dry and cool room.

  • Burns and dry leaves appear on begonias as a result of direct sunlight. Remove the plant from the bright sun.

  • White spots with a powdery coating are a sign that begonia is affected by powdery mildew. The fight against it is the immediate use of fungicides and placing the flower in a well-ventilated and cool room.

  • Blackened and decaying roots, noticeably slow growth and wilting appear because the plant became ill with black root rot. Fungicides and moderate watering will help to fight it. In order not to provoke the appearance of the disease in begonias, do not water the soil in the pot.

  • The lack of flowering and underdeveloped new leaves indicate that you are underfeeding the plant. Feed every two weeks or transplant begonia into fresh soil.

  • Sluggish and completely dried leaves indicate that the surrounding conditions are too dry. Regular watering and spraying will help to grow a beautiful and healthy begonia.

  • Leaves are drooping and yellowing are Begonia that a sign that the plant is watered more intensively than it needs and it is cold.


Benefits of Begonia Flower


1. As a cold medicine


Symptoms of flu are usually caused by a virus. For that, the right way to quickly recover the flu is to consume drugs containing anti-virus. One of them is consuming this begonia flowers. Because in addition to containing anti-virus, this flower also contains anti-bacterial. So the flu can heal quickly.


2. Good for the digestive system


Eating begonias or health benefits of guava are good for your digestive system. Some of the problems of the digestive system that can be cured by these flowers are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This is because the begonia flowers contain natural compounds that are good for maintaining the health of your digestive system.


3. Brighten the skin


Who says getting bright skin costs a lot? You can get bright skin naturally using this begonia. In addition, this way is a natural and safe way. You can also get it easily and also cheap.


4. Good for bone and teeth growth


During the growth of bones and teeth, you need high calcium. Eating foods such as vegetables and fruits that contain calcium is the solution. Another way is to consume begonias. Because this flower contains the nutrients needed for the growth of bones and teeth.


5. Treating bronchitis


Bronchitis is a disease caused by bronchial problems. This problem causes the flow of oxygen to the lungs to become obstructed. If you do not get a quick and proper treatment, it will result in a more serious problem. One way to treat it is to consume begonias. Because this flower contains anti-inflammatory.


6. As a rheumatic remedy


Aside from being a bronchitis drug, begonias flowers can also be used as rheumatic drugs or gout. The natural content of this flower serves as an anti-inflammatory, so it is very powerful to treat rheumatism.


7. Stop the bleeding


Unstopped bleeding can be life-threatening. Therefore, the patient will lose a lot of blood. To stop it, special handling is required. In addition, patients can also use a natural way. Namely by consuming begonias.


8. Natural cough medicine


In addition to the flu, cough can also be cured with begonias. A cough is usually caused by bacteria or viruses. If you are coughing, you should consume begonia to relieve it. Because this flower contains anti-virus and also anti-bacterial that can cure a cough.


9. Relieve asthma symptoms


Asthma symptoms often make the sufferer difficult to breathe. If not treated immediately, the patient will be deprived of oxygen which will cause other problems. Usually, doctors will give medicine to relieve symptoms of asthma. But asthma symptoms can also be overcome by natural means by consuming begonias.


10. Treating dysentery


Another benefit of the begonias for the health of the body is treating dysentery. The natural content of this flower can cure dysentery in a natural way. You also need to maintain cleanliness and set a healthy diet for dysentery quickly healed.


Uses

  • Typically used as houseplants.

  • Consume begonia flowers by boiling them. Then strain and drink the water regularly.

  • Flower can also be used as a medicine.

  • Begonia used in Landscape.

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