Rieger Begonia: Elatior Begonia Plant Care

The Rieger Begonia, also known as Elatior begonia, is a beautiful flowering plant that is often used in indoor gardens.

Rieger begonia is a flowering plant that usually blooms in the fall and winter and makes a great addition to any plant collection.

This plant is easy to care for, but there are a few things you should know in order to keep it healthy and looking its best.

In this article, we will discuss the proper way to care for a Rieger Begonia and provide some tips on how to keep it looking beautiful.

What is a Rieger Begonia?

The Rieger begonia is a hybrid begonia species created in 1883 by the botanist James Veitch.

He crossed two species of begonia, one from South America and one from Africa, to make this gorgeous flowering variety.

Elatior begonias are a small, compact variety that grows similarly to a bush when given the proper care.

They have small, fragile blooms, typically red, yellow, or pink, with thin, brittle stems.

what-is-a-Rieger-Begonia

The scientific name of the Rieger begonia is Begonia x hiemalis. This name was given to all of the begonia hybrids created by James Veitch.

Commonly kept as houseplants, they thrive in hanging baskets or flower beds in USDA hardiness zones 8-11 in the southern United States.

Many people think of Rieger begonias as a one-season plant and dispose of them after they flower.

Still, you can keep your begonia happy and healthy long-term and have years of beautiful flowers in your future with the proper care.

Blooming Season

The blooming season for the elatior begonia is usually winter.

You can stimulate the plant into blooming by reducing the amount of light it gets and lowering your temperature to 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Be sure to pinch off dead flowers to encourage new growth.

How to Care for Elatior Begonias

The elatior begonia is one of the most popular begonias to grow indoors.

Elatior begonias are easy to care for and can be grown indoors or outdoors.

Read on for more information and tips on how to care for elatior begonias.

Temperature and Climate

Elatior begonia prefers to be kept in the 60–70 degree Fahrenheit range, and that’s when it is most likely to flower.

If temperatures rise to about 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit, your begonia will likely start dropping blooms.

This begonia plant is frost intolerant, so be sure to bring them inside before temperatures get too cold if you wish to keep them year-round.

The Elatior begonia will tolerate higher temperatures than the recommended 60-70 degrees but won’t bloom at these temperatures.

Light

light-for-Elatior-Begonias

Most plants in the begonia family prefer indirect light or partial shade and the elatior begonia is no exception.

Be sure to keep your begonia plants out of direct sunlight as this can cause burns to the leaves, resulting in leaf loss and even the death of your plant.

Watering

watering-Elatior-Begonias

Rieger begonia plants enjoy damp soil, not oversaturated soil.

The bottom watering method will give the begonias a good soak while preventing the leaves from getting wet.

Elatior begonias hate their leaves being wet.

Be sure to check your plants periodically to make sure their leaves haven’t developed fungus or powdery mildew if top watering your elatior begonia plant.

Soil moisture is essential for potted plants, and the elatior begonia is no exception.

It’s best to water when the top 1/2 inch of the soil is dry, be sure not to overwater as this can cause root rot.

If you prefer watering from the top or watering from the bottom isn’t an option, placing bark mulch on the top of your soil is another good way to keep your elatior begonia leaves dry.

Soil

soil-of-Elatior-Begonias

Reiger begonias like well-draining soil.

When choosing soil for your begonia, it’s essential to use a well-draining one.

You can buy potting soil, but we’ve used a homemade mixture of a general potting mix of 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite.

Our begonias thrive in this mixture, but if you’d rather get something premade, this is an excellent ready-to-go choice.

The one houseplant potting soil that we always rely on is this potting soil. It’s nothing special, but it works for all our indoor plants – plus, it’s inexpensive.

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Repotting

Rieger begonias, like most tuberous begonias, are excellent container plants that enjoy being root-bound.

To find out whether your begonia is ready to be repotted, gently remove it from its pot.

If there is soil left at the bottom and around the roots, it’s not ready. Put it back into the pot and give it more time.

However, if you notice that it’s primarily root ball, it’s ready for a new pot.

Be sure your new pot is only one size up from your current one.

I prefer to use nursery pots for all my indoor plants as it keeps them relatively light and easy to access.

It also gives me the option of cutting the pot off if the roots grow through the bottom.

I then place the nursery pot inside a larger decorative pot for aesthetic purposes.

We use this self-watering pot for most of our indoor plants. With this pot, its waters from the bottom, so there’s no need to worry about overwatering.

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Fertilizer

Fertilize Elatior begonias every other week in the spring and summer growing season with a mild water-soluble fertilizer at half strength.

Also, give your begonia fertilizer every 3–4 weeks when it is blooming.

If fertilizing isn’t something you want to tackle, you can also add some worm castings to your soil when making your soil mix.

This will give your plant extra soil nutrients and won’t require any additional fertilization until repotting next season.

Propagation

At the end of the growing season, if you wish to propagate your begonia plant, you will need to take stem cuttings.

The best way to root these is on a mixture of sand and peat moss.

Take cuttings roughly 3 inches, place them on your substrate, and cover the entire pot with a plastic bag. This will create humidity and promote root growth.

Once you notice roots forming on your new plants, you can place them in their new pots.

Pruning

If you want your elatior begonia to stay compact, you will need to prune back any leggy growth by pinching the stems regularly.

Pinch back any dead flowers to encourage continuous new flowers and flower growth.

If you’re looking for a pair of shears, we really like these pruning shears. They are not too expensive and they seem to never dull. Plus, they are easy on the hands.

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Common Pests

Rieger begonias can be susceptible to common pests such as aphids and mealybugs.

These pests can cause damage to the leaves and stems of the plants, which can affect their growth and appearance.

If you notice that your begonias are infested with pests, there are several things you can do to get rid of them.

The first step is to identify the pests that are causing trouble.

Mealybugs

Mealybugs are small, sap-sucking insects that can cause leaves to yellow and wilt.

They can also secrete a sticky substance that will coat the leaves and stems of the plant.

If mealybugs are left untreated, they can damage the plant’s stem and root system, which can lead to the plant’s death. Cleaning the pests with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol instantly kills them.

To get rid of a heavy infestation, wrap the plants (and soil) in some saran wrap, and then spray rubbing alcohol. Wait for a few minutes then unwrap your plant.

Aphids

Aphids are a common begonia pest. They can be difficult to get rid of, but there are a few solutions. One method is to use a powerful stream of water to dislodge them.

These items are available at garden centers. Hand-picking can also be used to kill aphids – but obviously, this is only if you see a few to them.

Another option is to apply Neem oil or insecticide soap.

Looking for a Neem oil spray? We suggest this particular Neem oil spray because we’ve used it on our pest infestations and it simply works.

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FAQ

Can Rieger begonias take full sun?

No, Rieger begonias cannot take full sun. Though, Rieger Begonias require a lot of light – indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, however. If you’re going to put it outside, choose a spot that gets some sun and some shade. When grown indoors, place the plant near a window, but avoid south-facing windows that receive bright or direct sunlight.

How Do You Keep Rieger Begonias Blooming?

To keep Rieger Begonia plants blooming, keep them in soil that is rich in organic matter and well-drained. Keep the soil moist throughout the growing and blooming season. Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer on a monthly basis and remove faded flowers to keep the new flowers coming.

How Long Do Rieger Begonia Blooms Last?

If the conditions are favorable, a Rieger Begonia plant can continue to bloom for up to six months. So, provide it with plenty of indirect light and water if the soil is semi-dried out.

Conclusion

Rieger begonias (Elatior begonias) are great flowering plants that would look lovely in any garden or home.

They just need a little attention, but with the right information, they can be easily maintained.

To keep your Rieger begonias looking their best, give them plenty of water and sunlight, and fertilize them on a regular basis.

Following this guide will make sure you have a healthy plant 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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