Reiger Begonia – Winter Blooming Hybrid
The Reiger Begonia (also known as Rieger Begonia, Begonia hiemalis
and Winter Begonia) is a hybrid of wax begonia species and tuberous
The best time to purchase Rieger Begonias from the florist is early
winter, when the flowers are on the brink of blooming.
Reiger hybrids in full flower reach 12 – 18 in / 30 – 45 cm in height.
The thick reddish stems grow from tubers under the soil. The large,
soft leaves are dark green.
Their flowers resemble camellias, and are 2 in / 5 cm wide, and can be
red, orange, salmon, pink, or yellow in color. To extend blooming time,
carefully pinch off flowers as they fade.
Since Rieger hybrids can be difficult to grow and maintain, they are
thought of as a temporary house plant. Despite this belief, it is
possible to enjoy them year after year.
When the blooming cycle slows down, taper off watering and allow winter
blooming begonias to become almost dry. Cut the foliage back to 3 in /
7.5 cm long, allow plants to rest for six weeks, then begin watering.
When new stems reach 3 in / 7.5 cm in length, cut them off and root
them. Dispose of the parent plant. Keep the new plants in natural light
in the fall. Cool nights and shorter days (less than twelve hours long)
trigger the formation of new buds.
Begonia Care – Growing Conditions and Tips for Houseplant Care
Near a Cool, Bright Window
Year-round temperatures should be 60°F / 16°C at night, and 70 - 75°F /
21 - 24°C during the day.
Feed every three weeks with a high-phosphorus fertilizer mixed at ½ the
Allow soil to dry to 1 in / 2.5 cm below the surface between thorough
watering. Keep begonias on trays filled with moist pebbles to increase
A fast-draining potting mix that includes peat and perlite is ideal,
such as African violet potting soil.
Repot Rieger Begonias to slightly larger pots if they become root bound.
Winter begonias will last six months or indefinitely when propagated
from stem tip cuttings.
Propagate after begonias have been cut back, rested, and show signs of
new growth. Take 3 in / 7.5 cm long stem cuttings. Root the cuttings in
damp perlite, seed-starting mix, or a half-and-half mixture of sand and
Selection and Display Tips
Buy begonias that show good bud color that have not started to bloom.
Display together with other winter-blooming plants (Amaryllis and
Cyclamen) in a sunny windowsill.
Begonia Plant Information
- Basic Tips and Information
- Choosing the Right Containers for Your Plants
- Tips and Techniques