Begonia Rex: Painted-Leaf Begonia Plant Care

What is a Rex Begonia (Painted-Leaf Begonia)?

Begonia rex is a species of flowering plant belonging to the Begoniaceae family.

The one and only Rex Begonia is a marvelous plant also known as Begonia Rex Cultorum.

According to the American Begonia Society, these plants are also known as the “King Begonia”.

The most common names include “Painted Leaf Begonia” or “Painted Begonia”.

Its fabulous foliage comes in various colors and shades, with the outer edges in dark green, while the interior portion is pink, silver, grey, and even burgundy.

what-is-a-Rex-Begonia

These plants originate from tropical and sub-tropical areas such as Southern China, leaning towards Eastern Asia and Northern India.

Due to the large spring in the cultivation of this plant, the species has now successfully spread around the world and is easily obtained anywhere.

The Painted Leaf Begonia plant is a humidity-loving plant belonging to the Begoniaceae family of plants, also known as the Begonia Rex Cultorum group.

Even though these plants are best known to be indoor plants, they sure do love aerated soil.

They remain intact and in good condition within shallow pots and good humidity levels.

What Does Begonia Rex (Painted Leaf Begonia) Look Like?

The Begonia Rex, is a graceful evergreen that has leaves that vary from grey to green in color, giving them alternate looks.

The ideal size of the Painted Leaf Begonia leaves ranges from 4 to 10 inches (10–25 cm) during their entire growth periods.

In contrast, the leaves are known to grow to considerable size.

However, the growth period is indeed relatively slow and time-consuming.

Blooms & Flowers

flowers of Begonia Rex stunning in the yard

Begonia Rex is a flowering plant.

The average blooming season is between December to February, mainly leaning towards the winter.

The flowers that bloom from Begonias are given the name of cruciform flowers.

These are mostly seen to be leaning towards the spectrum of light purple to pink in color.

The cruciforms start as perennials; however, with proper care and healthy growth, these perennials are soon evolved into full-grown capsules.

How to Care for a Begonia Rex

Let’s start with learning to care for a Begonia Rex plant.

While Painted Leaf Begonia is quickly given the title of plants that should be grown in your home.

One must fully be aware of the responsibility that comes with the purchase of these houseplants.

The process of taking care of them, giving way to new growth as well as new leaves, and making sure not to provide them with too much water is one that requires your utmost attention and knowledge.

To make the learning process more manageable, the approach to care for the Rex Begonias has been split into the following steps.

Temperature and Humidity

a big Begonia Rex plant standing next to a white curtain

The Painted Leaf Begonia thrives and prefers high humidity in excess of 50% relative humidity and a temperature between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you have your Painted Leaf Begonia in dry air, you can provide some light misting.

Alternatively, you can plant the Begonia rex on a wet pebble tray.

Painted Leaf Begonia plants prefer a warm environment to grow. They tend to go dormant in the winter season.

Rex begonias grow best in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11.

Light

While other begonias grow in direct sun, Painted Leaf Begonia plants can grow well under fluorescent lights or less light throughout the year as their growth process is slow.

With that said, don’t let your Rex begonias get too much direct sun otherwise your plant may burn.

Soil and Watering

Soil-And-Watering-for-A-Begonia-Rex

While Rex begonias thrive in moist soil, be careful not to overwater.

While they require regular watering be cautious of the leaf of the plants and avoid misting while also making sure that the soil is dry to the touch before you water Rex begonias again.

Especially in the winter months. Remember, soggy soil is no good!

To flourish, the Begonia Rex needs soil that is moist and fast to drain from the pot. Porous soil is the best fast-draining soil that keeps the plant moist.

As mentioned already, try not to overwater your Rex begonia plant because it could cause root rot or provide a moist environment for powdery mildew, gray mold (gray fluff) to grow.

If you do see any mildew, mold, or white powder on the leaves, you should remove the affected leaves immediately.

Fertilizer

Fertilizer is essential for Begonia Rex plants because it provides the essential nutrients required for growth and survival.

A balanced fertilizer, which contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, is the most common type of fertilizer for Begonia Rex plants.

Fertilizing your Begonias will help them bloom and grow healthy. The best time to fertilize Begonia rex is during their growing season, which is from spring to summer.

Fertilizer should be used at least once a month, and more often during periods of active growth.

Lastly, we suggest using this slow-release fertilizer. It’s super simple to use, and you don’t need to worry about it once you set it in the soil. We have seen superb blooms in all our plants that we’ve used it on.

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Repotting

The Rex begonia is a rhizome plant that does need room for the spreading of its large leaves.

It’s better to repot them in a shallow pot once the roots start coming out of the drainage holes in the pot currently being used.

Propagation

The process of propagating Begonia rex plants is accomplished by taking leaf or stem cuttings from the mother plant.

The stem or leaf cuttings should be approximately 1 to 2 inches (2 to 5 cm).

Allow the cuttings to root in a moist growing medium for a period of time.

Afterward, the new plants will be ready to be transplanted into larger pots or directly into the garden at that point.

Begonia rex plants are easy to grow, and they grow new roots in a short amount of time.

The best time to propagate Begonia rex plants is in the spring or summer season.

Pests

Begonia rex is vulnerable to a few pests that are easily avoided. Aphids, mealy bugs, scale insects, and spider mites are some of the most common pests.

These pests wreak havoc on the plant by feeding on it.

Aphids, for example, are small insects that feed on the plant’s honeydew.

If you see any of these symptoms on your plant, use insecticidal soap or Neem oil spray to get rid of them.

Next, once a week, wash the plant’s leaves with a weak solution of mild soap and water.

Finally, continue to provide adequate light, humidity, temperature, and water for a healthy plant.

If you are looking for a Neem oil spray, try this particular Neem oil spray. It’s what we’ve used on our pest infestations and it works.

BioAdvanced 800400D Neem Oil, 24-Ounce, Ready-to-Use
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Diseases

Begonia rex is susceptible to a variety of diseases, including botrytis, bacterial leaf spot, and powdery mildew.

Botrytis is a fungus that causes blight on begonia flowers and leaves.

Fungicides can be used to control it, but if left untreated, the fungus can kill the plant.

A bacterial infection that causes lesions on the leaves of begonias is known as “bacterial leaf spot.”

If you notice any signs of fungal disease, isolate and quarantine the affected plant.

It is critical to practice good sanitation and cultural care in order to avoid future diseases. Remove any diseased leaves and flowers from the plant and throw them away.

Clean up any fallen leaves or debris around the plant and throw them away, as they can serve as a breeding ground for the fungus.

FAQ

Is Begonia Rex an Indoor Plant?

Yes, it is possible to grow Rex begonia indoors, although it is typically cultivated as an outdoor container plant because it is a semi-tropical perennial. If you do plant Begonia Rex plants indoors, they enjoy cool temperatures, moist soil, and humid conditions. Bright indirect light is ideal for growing Rex begonias. For brief periods of time, some direct sunlight is OK, especially if it comes from an eastern window that receives the morning sun, which is milder.

How much light does Begonia Rex need?

Rex begonias thrive in bright, indirect light throughout the year. The fact that they are not aggressive bloomers means that they can accept less light than other begonias and will flourish when grown under fluorescent or grow lights.

Should I mist my rex begonia?

You can mist Begonia rex plants, but misting is not very helpful for rex begonias and many other houseplants that like high relative humidity. If you want to mist your plants, you need to do it multiple times a day, which is not recommended. Additionally, rex begonias do not tolerate wetness on their leaves. It’s better to have a humidifier or pebble tray to increase the humidity around the plant.

Conclusion

The Rex begonia is one of the most prized begonias to grow.

They are lovely plants that require only a minimal bit of attention in order to grow.

Despite the fact that they are simple to care for, they may develop into enormous, lush plants that provide color and beauty to any house or garden if given the proper circumstances.

Make sure your plant gets plenty of light, water it frequently, and fertilize it once every few weeks to keep it healthy.

The more you follow basic plant care, the more your rex begonia will grow for years to come.

Other Types of Begonias to Consider

There are many types of begonias to think about when choosing a plant for your home or garden.

For example, cane begonias have tall, tuberous begonias are small, compact plants used for bedding or fibrous begonia for their flashy blooms.

Look further for other types of Begonias to grow in your garden. 

References

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  • University of Connecticut Extension. (2019). Rex Begonia. University of Connecticut, Home & Garden Education Center. URL: http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/FactSheets/rex-begonia.php
  • Shaughnessy, D. & Pertuit, A. (2000). Growing Begonias Indoors. HGIC 1552. Clemson University, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences. URL: https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/growing-begonias-indoors/
  • Bachman, G. (2011). Rex begonia is Great Choice for Christmas. Mississippi State University Extension. URL: http://extension.msstate.edu/news/southern-gardening/2011/rex-begonia-great-choice-for-christmas
  • Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois. (1989). Bacterial Leaf Spot of Begonia. Report on Plant Disease. University of Illinois Extension, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Horticulture). URL: https://ipm.illinois.edu/diseases/rpds/659.pdf
  • About/mentions: Begonia rex, begonia, flowering plant

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