The Encyclopedia of House Plants

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Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae.

Begonia Genus of about 1300 species and numerous cultivars of annuals, herbaceus perennials, shrubs and climbers, including some succulents and epiphytes. The estimated number of Begonia hybrids is between 1000 and 2000. Botanically there are three basic groups, depending on the nature of the underground portion. The Rhisomatous group bear thickened underground stems which are used for propagation - the members of this group are generally grown for their attractive foliage and Begonia Rex belongs here. The Tuberous Group have thickened roots which are used for propagation - here you will find the large-flowered types. Finally there is the Fibrous-rooted Group with ordinary roots which are not used for propagation - the well-known Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens) belongs here.
Growing conditions Watering and misting Propagation
Average warmth - minimum 55 F in winter. Avoid temperatures above 70 F. A bright light - away from direct sun. Grow in a light, well-drained, peat- or soil-based potting mix. Water freely from spring to autumn - sparingly in winter. Misting is necessary. Take stems cuttings in summer. Seeds sown in spring at 70F germinate quickly.
Begonia boweri 'Tiger'.
Begonia boweri 'Tiger'.
Begonia elatior 'Karita'.
Begonia elatior 'Karita'.
Begonia rex Putz.
Begonia rex Putz.
Begonia Tamaya
Begonia Tamaya
Begonia tuberhybrida Voss. "Pendula" fl. pl. hort.
Begonia tuberhybrida Voss. "Pendula" fl. pl. hort.

User-submitted additions and corrections:

Phyllis
Ohio U.S.A.
10th Aug 2008
I grow the "looking glass" begonia (a strong cane type). This plant is gorgeous! At night, under a light, it's leaves are a smokey silvery/sage (top of leaf color). During the day, with the plant setting in front of a bright window, the leaves shine a hot pink/blood red (under side leaf color). This begonia is a sweet monster as it grows fast and big. Being a cane type, cuttings of it root fast in water ( use a clear glass jar and a pinch of rooting powder). Plant them in african violet soil and keep evenly moist, but not to soggy (has white flowers). Any window light will do ( don't place to close to south windows though) In very low light the canes grow tinner, leaves are smaller, and colors are weaker ( but it still will thrive). Normal low/mid.70's temps year round. If you start this begonia everyone will want some - and you'll have plenty to share. Great plant! Easy!
Robert
USA
24th May 2012
Begonias are quite exacting plants. Of utmost importance is fresh circulating air. They detest a stagnant stuffy environment as this creates a perfect environment for insect problems. Better to underwater than overwater. In winter they benefit from early morning or late afternoon direct sun. From experience I have learned the cane types seem to be the strongest type.
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