#ProPlantTips: How to Grow the Best Begonias!

#ProPlantTips: How to Grow the Best Begonias!

begonia

Flouncy and colorful, the beautiful Begonia is a shade gardener's favorite flowering plant! Collectors can be highly protective of their plant collections and eagerly seek out new hybrids and cultivars that are always arriving on the market thanks to plant breeders who are equally enthralled by these garden gems!

Learn how to grow and care for these unique garden specimens and catch Begonia mania for yourself with the help of Nature Hills Nursery!

Types of Begonias

There are over 2.000 species and many hybrids of annuals, perennials, shrub-form, and climbing Begonias that grow in subtropical and tropical regions! From Wax to Cane, Tuberous, and Rex, knowing what type of Begonia is available and how to best grow it is the first step!

Ranging from upright forms to weeping to groundcover types, Begonia can be versatile and adapt to your individual garden or container garden needs!

Their delicate waxy petals sparkle and the attractive foliage have their own unique ornamentation depending on the variety!

Typically grown from tubers, fibrous roots, semi-tuberous, or rhizomes, these perennial bulb plants are wonderfully easy to grow. Native to subtropical and humid tropical climates, these happily adapt to indoor environments.

1. Cane Begonia

Angel Wings, sometimes called Dragon Wings™, are Cane-Type Begonia with fibrous roots, similar to Rieger Begonia, that are wonderfully easy to grow. These South American natives are well-known for their winged foliage with unique speckles or spotting, upright stems, and delicate-looking blossoms! Loving warmth and humidity, the delicate clusters of waxy petals with winged bracts accenting them.

dragon

Wonderful air-purifying plants, Angel Wing Begonia can readily be grown indoors as houseplants, or outdoors as annual accents, any bright yet indirect light setting and enriched moist site that is neutral to slightly acidic suits these plants just fine!

Plant outdoors after the threat of frost in an enriched shallow hole or trench in a protected location away from foot traffic to keep their slightly brittle stems from breaking.

Dragon Wing™ Begonias have solid-colored foliage and will bloom continuously. They make fantastic hanging baskets and bedding plants that will constantly be in bloom. They love the heat and humidity and are drought tolerant so missing a watering on occasion will not be the end. Fantastic plants for color. Conversely, the Angel Wing Begonias typically have spotted foliage and colorful foliage and are grown more for their foliage. These will produce a few flowers on occasion but nothing like the Dragon Wing™ and are grown for more interesting foliage and texture.

2. Wax Begonia

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With fibrous roots and bushy growth, Wax Begonias (aka: Bedding Begonia, Begonia semperflorens cultorum Group) are hybrids that can have dark to bronzy leaves and cute little blossoms with tufted clusters of stamen! These smaller, compact plants love warmth and bright indirect light, and can even be grown indoors successfully. From the typical four-petalled flower forms to showier pleated, ruffled, and double-petalled flower forms, Wax Begonia has a wide array of colorful options to choose from!

These slower-growing herbaceous plants need consistent temperatures and moisture, so they do best in planters and containers in protected patios and porches. Move indoor Wax Begonia into shaded locations outdoors for a while to acclimate them before moving them into more sun locations later on. Bring them back indoors before evening temperatures dip below 60°F.

You can also root some cuttings and start with smaller plants that will acclimate to indoor environments well!

There are 1,800 species of Wax Begonias. These are wonderful container accents and annual bedding plants throughout shade gardens in moist soil.

3. Tuberous Begonia

Tuberous Begonias are grown from bulb-like roots known as tubers. These potato-like modified roots can be treated as Dahlia or Canna and planted in the garden each spring and lifted each fall where temperatures can become too cold in the winter for them to survive. Typically with round or heart-shaped foliage, there are many foliage colors and flower colors to choose from including many different flower forms!

Growing best in filtered sun or partial shade, protect your Tuberous Begonia from harsh sun in the afternoons throughout USDA zones 8 and up. In colder climates, you can plant the tubers in pots and bring them indoors for the winter.

Plant the tubers in the late spring after the last frost date, or give them a head start by potting them up and growing them indoors about 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Tuberous Begonia does not like soggy springs or cold soil. Dig a shallow hole or trench, plant your tuber with about an inch of soil over the top, and water them in well. Top off with a layer of compost or mulch to hold in moisture more consistently. Refrain from watering much more until you see new sprouts forming a few weeks later.

4. Rex Begonia

Painted, Fancy-Leaf, and Rex Begonias (Begonia rex-cultorum) have some of the fanciest foliage around! Vividly colored, textured, patterned, and often with fringed, toothy edges, these foliage plants are wonderful houseplants and container thrillers due to their gorgeous leaves! The smaller, almost insignificant flowers of this variety are just delightful container accents.

begonia

Rex Begonias need consistent warm humid conditions around 70°F and are semi-tropical. Preferring bright indirect light and consistent moisture, any light, well-drained soil supports the fibrous roots and knobby rhizomes of these plants. Their rhizomatous roots are fleshy and grow just below the soil surface.

5. Hardy Begonia

Hardy down to USDA planting zone 6, these tuberous Begonia are common perennial accents throughout warm climate gardens and in containers everywhere. The small pink to white blossoms are free-flowering on dainty airy clusters and long slender stems. Typically backed by wing-shaped leaves with red veins and contrasting undersides. Some even have a maple-leaf shape with prominent pointed lobes.

Great in the shaded landscape bedding and border gardens, as well as container gardens and planters because of their ability to handle cooler temperatures. Plant and care for Hardy Begonia in a similar fashion to Tuberous Begonia.

6. Bolivian Begonia

Bolivian Begonia has showy flowers with longer petals and weeping trailing branching and drooping red to orange flower clusters. The darker foliage and stems and the glossy leaves are just the right amount of contrast for these hanging basket and container garden accents!

Caring For and Landscaping With Begonias

These gorgeous shade plants grow best in filtered, indirect, dappled sun and partial shade locations. They can handle brighter light indoors as long as it is not direct sun. Plant in any kind of light, enriched environment with higher to average moisture-holding content. Containers, window boxes, and planters with controlled environments where you can maintain their needs more easily.

Begonia container

If you have a deep landscaping bed full of organic matter and compost, they will do wonderfully as long as they are well-drained and protected. Then any shade and part shade garden bed can grow these pretty flowering accents!

Use upright Begonias as edging and container thrillers! These have sturdier stems and form rounded mounds that add pops of space-saving color along the fronts of garden borders.

Groundcover and cascading Begonias look fantastic also spilling over garden edges and are lovely spillers in containers and hanging baskets!

Beckoning Begonias at Nature Hills!

Featuring big fancy blooms and ornamental foliage, the Begonia has captivated gardeners for hundreds of years! Include these incredible plants in your garden as annual accents, perennial container plants, and landscape focal points!

Check out all the gorgeous Begonia plants available at Nature Hills today and you’ll find yourself hooked!

Happy Planting!

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