Escargot Begonia: Rex Begonia Hybrid Plant Care

The Escargot begonia is a Begonia Rex hybrid that is extremely popular.

Are you deciding whether you’d like to grow Escargot begonias?

The snail-like swirl pattern on the leaves of the Begonia Escargot inspired the name “Escargot.”

The foliage is eye-catching enough to stand alone, but it complements a garden with other foliage plants because it blooms in bright colors.

Keeping begonia escargot healthy is easy, even if you aren’t a plant person.

In this article, you will learn the basics of how to care for Escargot begonias and keep them thriving.

What is An Escargot Begonia?

Escargot begonia is a flowering plant that belongs to the Begoniaceae family. It is a hybrid cultivar of the Rex begonia.

The plants in the Begoniaceae family have colorful patterns on their leaves. From polka dots to swirls, you’re sure to find a look that you’ll like.

There are a variety of striations on each begonia plant type.

For example, the lime truffle begonia has lime green and burgundy variegations, while the burgundy velvet begonia has velvet leaves with green specks on the foliage.

What-is-An-Escargot-Begonia

Rex begonias ‘Escargot’ plants have fascinating variegations that swirl and a pale silver inner color with a mix of lime green and pink fuzzy hairs on the leaves, helping this plant stand out from other begonias.

The reason for the name “Escargot” is that the leaves of the Escargot begonia have wavy edges and have spiral-shaped foliage like a snail’s shell.

A vibrant burgundy color coats the backside of the leaves. These plants are a great addition to other foliage plants you may have in the garden.

The Begonia escargot is an indoor and outdoor plant. This plant is commonly planted in ornamental bedding and containers.

Rex begonia can be perennial if your state is in the USDA hardiness zones 10-11.

Otherwise, they’re annuals because they can’t thrive in cold weather.

If you’re keeping your Escargot begonia indoors, make sure it’s away from air vents, doesn’t get direct sun on the leaves (causes discoloration), and keep a humidifier nearby—these plants like a humid environment.

You can also put your plant on a tray of wet pebbles to increase the humidity.

If your plant is outdoors, make sure it’s in a shady spot, you fertilize it once a month, and the leaves aren’t misted with water because it causes dryness.

You can plant it alone or mix it with another plant that complements it (like a fern).

Escargot begonias grow moderately quick at twelve inches a year. It produces leaves that are six inches long.

The size of this plant can be a maximum of thirty-six times eighteen inches.

The flowers that it blooms give it a charming look. They come in various colors like white, red, orange, yellow, and particular, tiny pale pink flowers.

These flowers earned a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit [add source].

The flowers are citrus flavored with a bitter taste, and you can eat them raw or cooked in sauces, says the NCSU.

Personalize the connection to your Begonia Escargot by giving it a name that compliments the way it looks.

What’s the first name that you think of when you look at it? Also, put it in a spot where it gets a lot of natural lighting from the windows.

How To Care For Escargot Begonias

Escargot begonias are an eye-catching addition to any garden.

These simple-to-grow plants are ideal for beginning gardeners and can thrive in a variety of soil types. Escargot begonias are low-maintenance plants that require little more than watering.

Read on for more information on how you can grow and care for escargot begonias.

Temperature & Climate

Escargot begonias thrive in temperatures that are 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you put your plant in a shady spot, it can tolerate being outside in hot weather.

These plants have a higher chance of thriving outdoors in certain zones and prefer high humidity.

Look up your USDA hardiness zone to see if this begonia would thrive outdoors in your state. The zones that this plant thrives in include:

  • Hardiness: 10-11
  • Heat zones: 1-11
  • Climate zones: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, H1, and H2

Lighting

Light-For-Escargot-Begonia

Keep your Escargot begonia near a window to give it medium to bright indirect lighting.

Avoid exposing your plant to direct sunlight on the leaves because it causes discoloration spots.

Generally, begonias like to be in a spot where they get partial shade to full shade.

Why do Begonias need bright lighting? It helps the plant produce new leaves with a lot of colorful patterns.

The more variegations the new leaves will have, the brighter the natural light gets.

Watering

Give your Escoargot begonia one cup or less of water and stop once the water drains out of the drainage holes.

If the first few inches of soil feel dry, then your plant needs a drink. The soil is lighter in color, and the leaves may limp.

These plants dislike wet soil, avoid overwatering and let the soil dry.

Are you worried that you’ll overwater your Escargot begonia plant? Get a soil meter to help you decide if your plant needs water.

Soil

Soil-For-Escargot-Begonia

Plant your Escargot begonia in aerated organic soil that contains a little perlite.

Aerated soil has a lot of air circulating through it and won’t waterlog the soil pores.

Moist soil is best, but make sure the soil drains well to reduce exposure to root rot.

Additionally, you will want to keep the soil surface free of any dead leaves. Remove dead leaves promptly to mitigate any plant or fungal diseases.

Fertilizing

Fertilize your begonia escargot once a month in all seasons. Make sure that the fertilizer is high in nitrogen and phosphorus.

The nitrogen encourages new leaves, while the phosphorus encourages new flowers. The types of fertilizers that you can choose from include:

  • Organic – plant or animal-derived (eco-friendly and it improves the soil’s overall health)
  • Granular – releases the nutrients slowly and takes months to fertilize your plant.
  • Water-soluble – releases the nutrients quickly and finishes fertilizing within days (you’ll need to apply this fertilizer at least once a month to the soil)

Lastly, we suggest this slow-release fertilizer. It’s easy to use, and you don’t need to worry about it once you set it in the soil.

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Common Pests

The most common pests that your Begonia Escargot can get are mealybugs, spider mites, and nematodes.

Spray your plant once a month with neem oil or insecticidal soap to treat and prevent pests.

If you notice pests in the soil, you can also mix neem oil with water and let your plant drink it.

Common-Pests-of-Escargot-Begonia

Mealybugs look like white cotton—these insects damage plants by consuming their nutrients and causing mold.

Wipe the foliage with a cotton ball dipped in alcohol to treat your plant from these pests. Then use insecticidal soap and rinse the leaves in water.

Give your plant new soil if it’s also contaminated.

Spider mites look like small white spots on the foliage of your plant. You’ll also notice webbing on the backside of the leaves.

These pests cause leaves to drop and get dry. Insecticidal soap or neem oil can treat this pest.

Nematodes are the most difficult pests to treat. They like to be on your plant’s soil surface.

You can treat this pest by watering your plant’s soil with mothballs. Get the remedy at a garden center.

Diseases

Common disease problems Escargot begonias can be infected with include powdery mildew and leaf spot.

A clear symptom of plant disease is if you notice white patches on the leaves.

Other symptoms of plant disease are discolored spots and crinkling of the foliage.

To avoid disease problems, provide your plant with a lot of air circulation. Spray your plant’s leaves with Neem oil to treat powdery mildew.

If you are looking for a Neem oil spray, we usually use this particular Neem oil spray. It’s premixed and ready to spray. We’ve used it on our pest infestations and works well.

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

Repot your begonia escargot if many roots grow out of the drainage holes and above the soil.

Avoid repotting it too often, as this plant prefers to be root bound in a small planter.

Propagation

Propagating-Escargot-Begonia

Begonias propagate from the leaves and stem cuttings.

Leaf propagation isn’t widespread in most plants, which makes begonias unique.

Make sure to keep your propagations near a humidifier or inside a greenhouse to increase rooting.

Low temperatures reduce the rooting ability of begonia leaves, according to this Physiologia Plantarium study.

If you’d like to propagate from stem cuttings, cut a stem under the node that’s four to six inches. Nodes look like circles that bump out of the stem.

Put the stem cuttings in a jar of water and fill it with new water every five days. Once the roots are five centimeters, plant the stem in the soil.

New leaves should start to sprout within months from the new plants.

If you’d like to propagate from a leaf, prune it from your plant. Then cut the leaf on the largest vein (the lime green lines) and press on the soil.

Put pebbles on the leaves to make sure that they’re on the soil properly, allowing roots to grow.

The roots grow in six weeks. Once it’s three inches with a few leaves, you can plant it in soil.

Pruning

Prune your Escargot begonia to shape it or if you see yellowing leaves.

Pruning your begonia encourages new growth.

If however, you see yellowing leaves pruning helps cauterize the further spread of decay.

The cause of yellowing leaves is most likely overwatering. Your plant is being oversaturated and cannot absorb enough nutrients from the soil.

One solution to overwatering is to ensure the soil is dry before giving it a drink of water, and don’t neglect it.

Bring it inside when the weather gets cold, and prune it to encourage new growth if your plant is outside.

Looking for a pair of gardening shears? We personally use these pruning shears. They seem to never dull and are easy on the hands.

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FAQ

Do escargot begonias go dormant?

Yes, escargot begonias go dormant in the wintertime. When they go dormant, you can winterize them by pruning the leaves and providing very little water (usually when the soil drys out), and lastly if it is too cold move them inside.

Is begonia escargot a perennial?

Yes, Begonia escargot plants are perennials – but only if planted in USDA hardiness zones of 10 to 12. This plant doesn’t thrive in cold weather and therefore you should treat Escargot begonias as an annual in colder environments.

What are the common problems Growing Escargot Begonias?

Common problems when growing Escargot begonias include leaf yellowing or scrunching, soft or limp leaves, and white powdery patches on the leaves. These issues could be caused by several factors. Yellowing leaves indicate overwatering, limp leaves mean you are underwatering, and white powdering patches indicate you need to increase the humidity and air circulation around the plant.

Conclusion

We hope that after reading this post, you’ve learned some Begonia escargot care basics.

Start to keep your escargot begonia healthy by fertilizing it once a month, checking the soil every seven days to see if it needs water, and spraying the foliage with Neem oil to prevent pests.

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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