If you need a splash of color in a shady spot, try planting begonias. Begonias remain an attractive indoor and outdoor plant.
This versatile flowering plant with the waxy leaves comes in several varieties.
Rex, wax, tuberous and cane-stemmed begonias come in a vast selection of colors from which to choose. Plant leaves can be a medium green or a lovely reddish color. Begonia flowers come in red, pink and white.
Your Guide to Growing the Begonia
Begonias are tender plants that are perennial outdoors only in warm climates. If you want to keep your begonias for more than one growing season, you’ll need to put them outdoors after danger of frost is past and bring the plants back indoor before the frost sets in again in the fall.
Or treat begonias as annuals and replant them every year.
Growing Wax-Leafed Begonias
Begonia Semper florins and other annual begonias can be found as a bedding plant in many garden centers.
While these lovely plants with their delicate flowers are relatively sturdy plants, they will fade or become stressed in full sunlight and heat, so plant your begonias in a place with partial shade or in a garden spot that only receives the sun in the morning hours. If your area’s weather is very hot in the summer, choose a shady spot for your plant.
Begonias love cultivated soil that is rich and not compacted. They appreciate soil that has compost and enjoy a regular watering and feeding. Do not overwater begonias, however. Keep the soil evenly moist without drying out.
Also, the leaves of the pretty plant look best if the plant is watered from below the plant rather than sprinkled from above. Watering the begonia from below also eliminates several types of diseases from starting on the plant.
Growing Begonia Tubers
Growing begonia tubers is very similar to growing wax or annual begonias.
The main difference between the two types of plants is that tuberous begonias can be planted each growing season again. Once your growing season nears its end, dig up the tubers and store them in a cool place. The following spring, replant the tubers for another year’s enjoyment.
Deadheading and trimming begonias will keep them from becoming leggy and allow the plant to continue to bloom throughout the season.
Simply pinch off the dead blossoms to encourage further blooms to develop.
Also removing a portion of the plant keeps the plant from becoming overcrowded in its container or in the area where it is planted. The cuttings from these begonias can be used as starters for more begonia plants.
To trim or prune begonias, cut back to above a stem leaf or cut back new growth. Another way to trim a begonia is to cut or pinch back new stems from the main stem of the plant. Pinch back new growth and the tips of stems to promote bushier growth. Also, always remove dead or fading stems and petals from a begonia to keep it looking its best.
Some begonia cuttings can be used to start new plants. If you have a good sized stem of your begonia plant available after pruning, place it in vermiculite or another potting medium. Keep the cutting’s soil moist. After several weeks, you should notice new stems growing from the cutting.
When the new, baby plant has become a viable size, you may place it in your garden or repot the rooted cutting.
Rex Begonia Indoor Plant Care
Rex begonias are fancy, large- leafed begonias that do well as indoor plants. They may also be grown outdoors when the danger of frost is past and brought back in when the weather starts to cool off again. They do flower but are usually grown for the vast patterns of leaf designs, deep colors and the unique shapes of their leaves.
If you live in a hardiness zone 9 or higher, you can grow Rex begonias outdoors. In any cooler area, these strikingly leafed begonias can grow outdoors in the hot season and make a lovely house plant during the cooler months.
Rex begonias do well in bright, indirect light. If you want to place them in a sunny window, make sure the window has a sheer curtain to help filter the amount of light that enters the house. Rex begonias remain an excellent choice for offices, as well, and grow well under regular office lighting.
Choose a light potting soil for your Rex begonia. They love humidity but like other begonias, don’t tolerate water on their leaves. Keep the plant evenly moist without over watering. Rex begonias don’t grow true from seed because they are hybrids.
If you want to propagate your Rex begonia, take a cutting from a leaf tip by breaking the stalk of the plant off at a joint and placing it in potting soil. You may also divide the rhizomes when repotting your Rex begonia to start new plants.
No matter which type of begonia you choose, you’ll love growing these colorful plants both indoors and outdoors for colorful flowers and a wide variety of brightly patterned leaves. Or choose a few of all the varieties for a burst of color indoors and outdoors.
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