Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Common characteristics of Begonia plants
- 3 Colors of Begonia flowers
- 4 Classification of Begonias based on root structure
- 5 Most Common Types of Begonias
- 6 Basic Begonia Care Tips
- 7 FAQs
- 8 Conclusion
- 9 References
There are more than 1000 different types of flowering plants in the Begonia genus belonging to the family Begoniaceae.
Furthermore, scientists are developing more hybrids that have bright flowers, attractive foliage, and unique patterns.
Many people prefer growing Begonia flowers in their garden because these flowers require little maintenance.
If you live in warmer climates, you can plant them in the ground. On the other hand, people living in temperate regions can keep these plants indoors.
In gardens, Begonias can be a great addition to bedding plants because they are easy to grow in mixed beds and border areas.
Bushy Begonias can be planted in window boxes, hanging baskets, or containers.
Common characteristics of Begonia plants
Begonias grow best in partially shaded areas.
If you can supply filtered light to these plants, they will grow without showing any burns or damages usually caused by direct sunlight.
If you notice that the leaves of your Begonias are darker, it will be better to keep them away from sunny areas.
Begonias grow indoors as well. However, while caring for them indoors, the grower must be careful.
It should be placed in a brighter place in the house while also protecting it from excessive sunlight. They prefer to be around west- or east-facing windows.
If you need to place them in a south-facing window, you should protect them using a sheer curtain to provide them partial shade.
All the species in the genus Begonia are perennials in USDA zones 10 and 11.
In subtropical and tropical regions, they grow outdoor year-round in dappled sunlight or shady areas.
In milder climates, they may die in the winter, and later in spring, they start a new life cycle.
These flowers cannot withstand frost and extremely cold temperatures, as they can damage their beautiful foliage and roots.
If you live in winter climates, do not worry because there is still hope.
You should plant them in containers and bring them inside when the temperature starts dropping below 50-degrees Fahrenheit.
In the case of tuberous species, you can dig and collect the tubers and store them in a cool, dry place in extreme weather.
In addition, there is a particular species that can be grown in winter due to its hardiness.
Begonia grandis, a tuberous variety, can grow in USDA zones 6 to 9 and withstand the cold. They prefer shady areas and have beautiful wing-shaped foliage.
Colors of Begonia flowers
Begonia is popular mostly because of its attractive colors of leaves and flowers.
The leaves of most Begonia plants have a green-colored gradient – light at the top and dark at the bottom.
Some species, however, show exceptional patterns in their leaves. You can also find heart-shaped, purple, red, or light pink-colored leaves.
Most of their leaves have a red underside.
The color of the flowers is another fascinating thing that astonishes many people.
The color of the flowers are mainly red and pink, but it varies depending on the hybrids.
Developed varieties have the colors like peach, white, yellow, and even orange. Give the plants indirect sunlight, and you will enjoy attractive, colorful flowers.
Classification of Begonias based on root structure
Begonia houseplants are classified into four classes based on the root structures.
Tuberous begonia has the largest flowers, and their flowers are neon-like colors like white, pink, red, yellow, or orange.
These Begonias bloom mainly from mid-summer to fall. They can be a great addition to your garden plants.
This class includes species like wax Begonia, Cane Begonia, and Angel-Wing Begonia.
These species have a root ball structure with thin roots. The leaves are round, waxy, and small in size. They bloom small flowers.
This class of Begonia species has an interesting pattern in the foliage and is preferred as houseplants.
Sometimes referred to as foliage begonias, the Rex Begonia variety, the most popular and favorite begonia in this subcategory, has the most beautiful foliage.
Begonia grandis is a common species among the hardy Begonias class and is perennial in the southern habitats.
The foliage pattern is similar to the tuberous plants with smaller flowers.
Most Common Types of Begonias
There are thousands of different species in this genus, and each of the species has unique characteristics and beauty.
The types and preferences vary based on the nature of Begonias, but most of them are native to subtropical and moist tropical regions.
Begonias are small in size, but when grown together, the growing spot may become quite enchanting.
Let’s see some common types of Begonias that can enhance the overall beauty of your garden.
Wax Begonias are known scientifically as Begonia semperflorens. This is a popular species that can easily be grown outdoors.
They require little maintenance and are regarded as bedding Begonias. They thrive in USDA zones 10 and 11 and are considered perennials in these regions.
One can, however, grow this species as an indoor houseplant.
Wax Begonias produce colorful blooms that can be red, white, light pink, and yellow. The height of the plants can reach up to two feet.
They are edible and keep growing throughout the fall, spring, and summer.
These flowery plants grow in shaded or sunny areas, which is one of their advantages.
You can plant Begonia semperflorens either as houseplants or as bedding plants in gardens.
However, if they are kept in the dark, these plants may be infected by powdery mildew.
Reiger Begonias are one of the most beautiful types of Begonias in the class of tuberous Begonias.
They are sold mainly as houseplants as they prefer cold temperatures. The most common colors of them are yellow and orange.
These plants require more care and maintenance than others. You can find them in the local garden center during the winter and spring months.
These plants, unfortunately, have a shorter life cycle than other houseplants.
They can be planted either in hanging baskets or in window boxes, where they look magnificent during cool summers.
These mounding plants grow best during early spring in warmer regions. While planting Begonias, make sure that you plant them in partially shaded areas.
Solenia is another variety of Reiger Begonias and grows very well in sunlight.
Rex Begonia has the loveliest foliage color and pattern. Their leaves are large and are comprised of different colors.
It grows best in moist and humid conditions. If you can provide them with fluorescent light, they will grow even better.
Rex Begonias can be identified by their thick stems.
Rex Begonia does not require direct sunlight. They have smaller blooms, and the leaves come in a wide array of colors, like silvery, green, reddish, and purple.
The color combination is the most attractive part of this begonia.
Their beautiful blooms have made this a highly desired houseplant. They enjoy warmer and humid regions, but higher temperatures can inhibit their growth.
Rex Begonias, unlike the other Begonia varieties, has interesting foliage. Tornado rex variety has beautiful dark green foliage.
Cane Begonia can be identified by its beautiful segmented stems, which grow upright. The joints present on the stems resemble bamboo plants.
They are popular mostly because of their stunning blooms, foliage pattern, and color.
The flowers bloom in clusters of different colors like white, pink, red, and orange flowers.
Cane Begonias enjoy bright light but do not perform well in direct sunlight. Place them in bright shade to encourage their growth during their growing season.
Avoid placing them in the direct sun if you live in a hot climate.
There are subcategories of Cane Begonias, and Angel Wing and Dragon Wing Begonias are among them.
Like the wax Begonia, these are also popular due to their low requirements. One can grow this variety easily under the right conditions.
This attractive flower species is also known as ‘Begonia Bonfire’ and ‘Santa Cruz.’ The reddish-orange flower blooms enhance their beauty even more.
These plants are tuberous Begonias.
This species is relatively new to gardeners, and it is mainly found on cliff walls in South America.
They bloom during fall to late spring and thrive in fertile, well-draining soils. The blooms of Begonia boliviensis are like dangling earrings that hang from the stem.
The most common colors of flowers are orange and red, but breeders have developed new colors like pink, white and yellow.
One can easily plant this species in hanging baskets. Begonia boliviensis prefers partial shade and humid areas.
A Megawatt Begonias are considered an interspecific begonia. They are somewhat similar to wax begonia.
However, these Begonias have bigger blooms that can impress anybody – in fact, they may be some of the largest blooming begonias one can grow.
The blooms are in beautiful shades of different colors, like white, pink, and red. Many people love its white flowers. This plant keeps flowering until frost appears.
These plants can be sub-divided into more varieties, and the most common one is the Whopper Begonia.
Like the wax variety, it also grows well under the sun and shade. The gardener will enjoy more flowers if they place this plant in the sun.
Megawatt Begonias are very easy to grow. Thus, they can be ideal for beginners to grow in containers as houseplants.
You can plant small varieties alongside this larger one as this combination can beautify your garden.
Picotee Begonia plant is known for its various colors at the tips of the flower petals that differ from the main color.
This is a kind of tuberous begonia plant and starts blooming from the mid-summer and continues till frost.
These begonias can be grown in container gardens, garden beds, hanging baskets, and window boxes.
Like other varieties, this species can be a great choice to brighten the shady areas in tropical and subtropical climates.
These versatile plants are often seen in packs. They can tolerate humid and hot conditions as long as you keep protecting them from direct sunlight.
They prefer neutral to slightly acidic soils to grow.
Angel Wing Begonias
Angel Wing Begonia is one of the most fascinating types of Begonias because of its ornamental and wing-shaped leaves.
In addition, the leaves contain speckled or dotted patterns that have enhanced their beauty even more.
This species of begonia has fibrous roots. This fast-growing plant produces beautiful flowers that dangle from its red stem, and the colors may be orange, red, or pink, or can be clusters of them.
Some Begonia cultivars of Angel Wings have dotted leaves and toothed edges. The attractive triangular leaves can reach up to 6-inches long.
If you can take care of this species properly, they will bloom the entire year.
Place this variety in indirect but bright light if you live in moderate temperatures. Keeping them in low-light areas will discourage their blooms.
Dragon Wing Begonias
Dragon Wing Begonias are another interspecific begonias – meaning that they are a hybrid between Begonia x hybrida ‘Dragon Wings.’
They look like Angel Wing Begonias, but they are a completely different begonia. Their flower clusters and growth habits are quite similar.
The difference can be identified using their leaves as leaves of the Angel Wing contain spots, while the bright green leaves of the Dragon Wing Begonia does not.
This variety is reputed for its bright red flowers, which can attract hummingbirds to the garden. These plants enjoy growing in full shade or partial sun.
The red flowers are why many people use this breed as houseplants. Dragon Wing begonias grow up to 18-inches tall.
Placing them in direct sunlight can be a bad choice, though it is a heat-tolerant species.
They can be a great addition to the landscape in warmer areas as they can tolerate heat. However, extreme cold can be a problem for Dragon Wing Begonias.
Double Begonias are bushy, compact plants that stand and grow upright. They have beautiful rose-like flowers that are relatively large.
Gardeners can grow them in containers as well as in garden beds.
These plants are considered tuberous begonia. They bloom in the mid-summer if the grower can plant them during early spring.
The beautiful foliage pattern has a unique pattern with blended colors.
The brightly colored flowers make this plant a popular option for gardeners to plant in shady gardens.
This species can be a bit more expensive than other varieties. You can find them in garden stores during spring.
These Begonias are like Begonia rex, which is mainly grown for their foliage type, and you will mostly see them as a houseplant.
Rex species is a type of rhizomatous Begonias, and these are the biggest class of the Begonia type and can be identified by their thick stems.
Like Begonia rex, the rhizomatous Begonias have fascinating leaves and many of the varieties belonging to this class look similar to Begonia rex.
You can grow them in your garden if it’s shaded; otherwise, it is better to place them on your balcony. Many of them can thrive well, even in hot summers.
Tuberous begonia is regarded as a dramatic class because of its rose-like flowers, bright green foliage, etc.
Some of the species have dark green leaves, while others have light colors. The fragrance of the flowers is also pleasing.
This tuberous variety can survive successfully in colder temperatures, but growing them in hot weather can be difficult.
You can grow them in full sun or partially shady areas to encourage their growth.
It is better to plant them in hanging baskets as their flowers and green leaves tend to hang down.
One more thing to remember, wherever you plan to grow them, make sure the drainage system can drain the excess water.
Polka Dot Begonias
They are known scientifically as begonia maculate and have fantastic olive green colored foliage with contrasting spots.
Caring for this beautiful species is not a problem, as it can grow in bright sunlight and has low requirements.
Like the Angel Wing begonia, Begonia maculata also has Angel-Wing-shaped leaves. But you can identify it by observing its white spots.
Remember that this begonia can be toxic to your pets.
Like a few other begonia cultivars, this variety grows best under bright and indirect sunlight.
It is the best idea to place them on the east-facing window to receive the morning sun. Placing them in sunny conditions can result in damaged leaves.
Basic Begonia Care Tips
Many beginners think that begonia plants are quite hard to care for, but in reality, they’re not.
Growing begonias is pretty easy if you can supply adequate water, fertilizer, light, and humidity.
This requirement varies from plant to plant. For example, Cane Begonia prefers bright light, while rex and other rhizomatous begonias need partial shade.
If you place the begonias outdoors, keep a close eye on the leaves. Scorching heat can burn the leaves. So, move the plants from the sunny place if you notice scorched leaves.
It is better to place them in shady areas while growing outdoors. You can place them in the south-facing window if you grow them as indoor houseplants.
Begonias like well-draining soil, and the gardeners can use hanging baskets or containers. You can also prepare a soilless potting mix to grow them in containers.
It does not matter where you grow the begonias. These plants should be watered only when the soil surface becomes dry.
They thrive happily in moist soil, but a wet or soggy condition can cause root rot to all types of begonias, including tuberous begonias, rex begonias, and even hardy begonias.
Also, do not water the leaves as it can cause a fungal infection.
Begonias are often called early spring container plants. Gardeners can either feed them liquid fertilizer or solid ones.
These houseplants go into dormancy during the late autumn and break dormant conditions in the spring.
Which types of begonias can tolerate full sun?
The begonias with bronze leaves can withstand full sun.
Most wax begonias, Angel Wing begonias, and Whopper begonias are some of these varieties that can tolerate sunny conditions.
But it is better to give them a break from the hot sun at noon.
How do I tell what kind of Begonia I have?
Each of the Begonias has different shapes, colors, and root systems.
It is a good idea to study their roots and leaves to identify your begonia.
Do Begonias like sun or shade?
Most Begonias prefer partial shade, but morning sun can be comfortable for them.
How can I identify wax Begonias?
You can identify wax Begonias by their waxy, serrated, dark green, and broad leaves.
Can I grow Begonias indoors?
Yes, you can grow them indoors. But make sure that they get filtered sunlight.
When do Begonias bloom?
Most of the Begonias bloom from mid-summer till the weather turns cold enough to frost.
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Begonias can be grown either as indoor plants or in the garden to enhance the aesthetic.
Planting these flower plants at the edge will surely beautify your property.
As they bloom with different colors and varieties, you can choose to plant some of them together to enjoy the view during flowering periods.
Last thing to remember, if you ever notice that the plants are not producing blooms, do not worry.
Tuberous begonias normally have brittle flowers. So, always look for the type before buying.
- Gilman, E.F. and Howe, T. 2015. Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum Fibrous Begonia, Wax Begonia
- Clemson Univeristy Cooperative Extension Service, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, Home and Garden Information Center, Begonia Factsheet, HGIC 1159, Updated: Oct 21, 2020
- Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor, University of Vermont Extension, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Easy Houseplants – Begonias
- American Begonia Society
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.