Rex Begonias – Breathtaking Leaves, Dramatic Colors

Spectacular Rex Begonias, also known as Fancy Leaf Begonia, Painted Leaf Begonia, Iron Cross Begonia, Begonia rex, and B. masoniana to name a few, produce large leaves that are marked with dramatic colors, such as pink, green, silver and burgundy.

While these plants do produce some small flowers, it is the breathtaking leaves, with their unique patterns and bright colors that make the plant so appealing. The leaves of the various species of Fancy Leaf begonia plants can be streaked, spotted or blotchy.

They need slightly less light than begonias with larger blooms, andRex Begonias do well when grown under fluorescent lighting. Maintain large, healthy leaves by pinching off buds and blossoms. Rex

Begonias require high humidity, which can be provided by covering plants with a plastic tent at night, creating a “humidity chamber”. You can also try placing a humidifier in the room with the plant to increase humidity.

In winter, these Begonias will sometimes shed their leaves and become dormant. When this happens, remove the withered leaves, allow the soil to become almost completely dry, and enclose the pot in a plastic bag. Store in a room with a temperature of 60°F / 16°C until new growth appears. New growth will occur within six to ten weeks.

Caring for Rex Begonias – Growing Conditions and Tips for Houseplant Care


Bright, indirect light or fluorescent light year-round.


Average indoor room temperatures are ideal (65 – 75 ° F / 18 - 24° C).


In spring through fall, feed with a balanced houseplant fertilizer. During winter, feed begonias monthly unless they are dormant.


Water lightly, yet frequently to keep soil constantly moist. Avoid overwatering Rex Begonia plants.


These plants thrive in moderate to high humidity. Place pots on trays filled with moist pebbles, use a humidifier, or utilize a plastic tent. Avoid misting plants since this can cause spots to form on the leaves.


A light textured, fast draining soil mix such as African violet potting soil is ideal.


In early spring, repot plant in a shallow pot making sure that the rhizome is barely visible at the surface of the soil. Dormant plants should be repotted as soon as new growth appears.


Individual plants can grow for two to three years. When propagated from stem or leaf cuttings, plants can last indefinately.


Rhizomes can be divided when repotting; however, it is best to root medium-sized leaves in early summer.


‘Iron Cross’ begonia (B. masoniana) features apple green marked with dark brown crosses; leaves have a puckered texture. Some hybrids have spots on their leaves. Other hybrids have variegated patterns on their leaves in assorted shades of silver, pink, and green.

Display & Uses

Dwarf varieties are ideal for terrariums. Be sure to provide larger Rex Begonia varieties with sufficient humidity growing conditions.

Additional Begonia Plant Information

Begonia Plant Care - Basic Tips and Information

Plant Containers - Choosing the Right Containers for Your Plants and Flowers

Watering Plants - Tips and Techniques


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