Begonia Care – Tips for Growing Begonias
Begonia care is easy when you take to time to select the best species
for your comfort level and environment.
With the right knowledge, many begonias are easy to grow and care for.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how simple it is to ensure your
begonia plants grow and prosper.
begonia family includes over 900 species (not including hybrids). The
begonias grown as houseplants are warm-natured, and generally originate
from tropical regions.
All begonias have fleshy stems and uneven leaves – one half of the
leaf is longer than the other.
The shape of the leaves vary.
Begonia leaves can be rounded with scalloped edges, elongated hearts,
or ivy shaped forms.
are either male or female. Female flowers (a home for seedpods) last
for weeks, while male blooms are usually short-lived.
Care: How to Grow Begonias
the summer, moderated light is needed. An ideal location is near a
window or under fluorescent lights. Blooming begonias need increased
light in the winter.
begonia plants from cold temperatures. They will suffer damage by
temperatures below 55° F / 13° C. Temperatures in the range of 65 - 75°
F / 18 - 24° C are ideal for most species.
doses of liquid fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength will ensure
begonias stay healthy. Feed plants every two weeks during active
growth. Flowering plants benefit from a high-phosphorus fertilizer.
Feed Rex begonias a balanced plant food.
can suffer from over-watering, as well as extremely dry soil. A general
rule of thumb is to allow the top inch of soil to become almost dry
between watering; however, water requirements will vary by species.
need moderate to dry humidity. You can place begonias on a tray of
pebbles filled with water or place them near a humidifier. Avoid
misting plants – this can lead to mildew problems. Consider growing
begonias near houseplants with similar humidity requirements, such as
bromeliads, ferns, and orchids.
prefer a high-quality, well draining potting soil with perlite, or
African violet soil. Avoid heavy, slow-drying soil mixtures.
Begonia Care - Repotting
are three types of begonias based on their roots: fibrous, tuberous, or
a rhizome that spreads over the soil surface. They container size and
shape you choose will depend on the type of root system.
Begonias with fibrous roots, such as Angel-wing begonias, grow best
when they become slightly root-bound in small pots.
Rex Begonia varieties develop rhizomes that grow near the soil surface
– broad, shallow containers are best for these begonias.
Reiger begonias do not require repotting (unless you want to change
To avoid problems with overwatering and root rot, do not plant begonias
in larger containers.
After repotting begonias, tap the sides of the pot to compress the soil
into place – do not pack soil down using your fingers.
can be propagated by setting stem tip cuttings to root in a warm, humid
environment. Some species can be grown from seed; however, the easiest
method is by rooting stem cuttings or leaves.
Fancy – leafed
types can be propagated from petiole leaf cuttings (like African
violets). They will also develop plantlets when a leaf is pinned to the
surface of dampened seed-starting mix – although this is a slower
method of propagation.
Begonia Care - Additional Information
Begonias are sensitive to changes in their environment. It is best to
buy begonias from a local nursery. If the plant must be shipped, warm
weather conditions are preferable.
When you bring begonia plants
home, protect them from drafts and dry conditions by enclosing them in
a loose plastic bag for the first few days. Handling begonias with care
in the first few weeks can improve longevity.