Have you been considering getting a house plant to liven things up around your living space? Or maybe you’re thinking of adding a new plant to your pre-existing collection? Or maybe an extra plant to bring some more color to your gardens?
If that sounds like a predicament you’re currently facing, well then, maybe a begonia plant is the one for you. The Begonia is a beautiful plant with vibrant colored flowers – usually red or pink but can come in a great range of colors as well, with broad luscious green leaves.
What is Begonia?
Begonia belongs to a genus of perennial flowering plants and is in the family Begoniaceae, the genus contains more than 2,000 different species and subspecies. Some of the many various classifications and types include the painted-leaf begonia, the wax begonia, and the tuberous begonia to name a few.
Generally found in and native to tropical and subtropical climates, the begonia requires a warm and moist environment for it to thrive. Though some species can also be grown indoors in cooler climates as ornamental houseplants.
The plant is known to be a gardener’s best friend, due to its vibrant colors, gorgeous foliage, and extended period of blooming season. So, if you’re thinking of adding a begonia to your personal space, here is everything you need to know about caring for your new little plant friend.
The Basics of Begonia
To start, as mentioned above, begonia has quite a long blooming season, lasting from early summer all through to early frost. Some types may even bloom all year round, allowing you to show it off in its full and utter glamour for as long as possible.
Contrary to popular belief, begonias are quite simple to care for and are not high-maintenance plants. In fact, except for a few things, they can pretty much thrive anywhere, even in shaded areas.
Though sun exposure is required, preferably with an East, West, or South facing direction, make sure to watch out for burning. The main thing to look out for is temperature, as a tropical originating plant, the begonia prefers warm climates and is very frost sensitive.
Most Common Types Of Begonias
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Wax begonias are the most common type of begonias, and are also called wax annual or bedding begonia. They are shade-loving plants, typically grown under trees or in pots and hanging baskets.
They grow up to about 6 to 12 inches in height and bring copious amounts of color to any scene.
Again another common type of plant, the tuberous begonia is mostly planted in hanging baskets and window boxes. They grow to about 12 to 18 inches in height indoors and can grow to be as tall as 3 feet in outdoor conditions, dwarfing the wax begonias.
Cane begonias are a popular type of houseplant but can also be grown outdoors, as they show an upright growing habit and exhibit big beautiful leaves, capable of a height of up to 6 to 12 inches.
Rex begonias are a subgroup of a larger type of begonias known as the Rhizomatous and show similar features to them. They are widely available and sold all year round at florist shops and can grow up to an impressive 12 to 18 inches in height.
Ideal Growing Conditions For Begonias
These are the optimum conditions you should consider cross-checking to ensure the optimum growth for your plant.
Begonias typically love and enjoy sun exposure. Though they can also grow in shade, it is important to ensure that they do receive sunlight daily as well.
As mentioned above, you should be careful of direct sunlight, as too much direct sunlight will damage the leaves and cause burning. Shady spots in your outside garden are perfect spots for these delightful plants.
As begonias originate from the tropics, they require a sufficient water supply to keep them healthy. You must ensure that the plant stays damp and there is no danger of drying out at all times, though be careful not to overwater.
Begonias dislike having their roots saturated with water and this can affect or stunt their growth. Be mindful of the soil you are using, make sure it is a good quality draining soil that helps the roots stay moist for the best results.
Temperature is a key component to maintaining your begonias’ health. As they are extremely frost sensitive, you must provide a comfortable warm environment with temperatures of 72’F (22’C). Make sure the temperature never drops below 50’F (10’C), as it can severely damage the leaves.
A good quality balanced fertilizer that is mixed into the soil will help begonias thrive and remain healthy all blooming season long. Additionally, you can add water-soluble fertilizer once every month to better boost your plant’s health.
Care Tips and What To Look Out For
Providing too much fertilizer, or on the other hand, not enough fertilizer can lead to a slew of nutrient-related issues in your begonia plants. Faded, deformed, defected, or discolored foliages are all typical symptoms observed in nutrient-deficient begonias.
Keeping a careful eye on your plant is the key to catching the start of such symptoms and acting on them quickly once the problem has been noticed. These symptoms are mostly observed in plants deficient in nutrients including nitrogen. potassium, and phosphorus.
Hence switching your fertilizer for one that contains greater amounts of these elements can help alleviate the issue.
The most common pests of Begonias include:
- Spider mites
Most pest infections can be prevented by carefully monitoring your plant and watching out for any early signs of pest infection.
Begonias can also be sensitive to certain types of soap insecticides, so it is important to run a patch test first before applying the treatment. Another prevention technique is carefully washing your plant and regularly spraying it with water to stop any pest infections from growing in the first place.
Additional Tips and Information
When planting your begonia, make sure to handle the roots with care and use a peat-free, multi-purpose compost. Position the begonia in a dappled or partially sunlit area, and do not forget to check the roots regularly to ensure they are nice and moist.
During overcast, or night times, the plant can be moved indoors to ensure its safety.
Also, it is worth noting, that although they are harmless to humans, some species of begonias can be toxic for house pets. So it is best to make sure your pet is not allergic to the type of begonia you are interested in before you make the purchase.
We hope you found this article helpful and that by now you have gained immense insight and knowledge about begonias. We assure you, taking care of it is not as difficult as it seems, and even inexperienced planters can care for this plant.
We believe the effort is well worth the payoff once you see its glorious blooms during the blooming season.
Hopefully, now, you will feel more confident in making your decision about whether or not to house the plant. If you have any further questions, please leave them in the comment section below and we would be delighted to answer them.
- Grows Well in Containers – 5 bulbs per package
- Bloom Time: Summer – Mature Height: 8-10 inches – Bulb Size: 5/+ cm
- Sunlight: Partial Shade to Full Sun
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