It’s a highly appreciated houseplant here in Romania, but I’ve heard that Begonia is one of America’s favorite flower. Although it’s not an easy to care houseplant, as well as Kalanchoe for example, Begonia is a flowering plant to grow and especially to love for its ornamental quality, for Begonia’s beautiful flowers, special foliage. I personal think that it’s a real challenge to grow and then enjoy Begonia.
It may be difficult to choose what Begonia species to grow: flowering Begonia or foliage Begonia. We can find Begonia in park flower rounds, on terraces and potted indoor. From among the three types of Begonias (Tuberous Begonia, Semperflorens Begonia, Perennials Begonia), the most common and popular is Semperflorens. Begonia’s flowers are white, red, pink, orange, yellow or multicolor. So it’s your decision how to incorporate Begonia into your house in accordance with your color preferences and indoor atmosphere.
Begonias with Decorative Foliage
These perennial begonias are typically grown as annuals for their large, usually asymmetrical, ornamental leaves which are available in a variety of colours. There are over 1000 species of Begonia. For example, there are lively leaves of “Merry Christmas” outlined with emerald green, or there is more subtle, dark green, metallic foliage of Begonia Metallica. Some leaves are valued for their unusual patterns; Begonia Masoniana is appropriately known as the iron-cross begonia.
Under the right conditions, “Thurstonii” may reach shrub-like proportions, but most, like “Munchkin”, are more compact. Grow as summer bedding, in a conservatory or as house plants. Begonias leaves are white, pink, light pink or red, but insignificant as decorative.
How to Grow Begonias with Decorative Foliage
Begonias are annuals and do not like frost in the spring or fall. Set them out in containers, hanging baskets, or your flowerbed after all risk of frost has past. In summer, Begonia feels good in light dappled shade, anyway never full sun or draughts. If the light is not enough, there is a major risk of dieing. Its favorite temperature is 20-25 degrees (minimum temperature 15 degrees C) and Begonia loves high humidity.
Grow in fertile, well-drained, neutral to acid soil or compost.
Water thoroughly, allowing the soil to dry before the next watering. Begonias can’t bear over watering. Begonias like attention. Promote compact, leafy growth by pinching out shoot tips during the growing season; remove dead flowers, leaves, and stems. Trim off long stems to help retain its compact shape. A little care will pay you back with lusher foliage and more blooms. When in growth, feed regularly, once a month, with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
Usually grown outdoors as annuals, these bold-flowered begonias are very variable in size and shape, offering a range of summer users to the gardeners. Upright or compact begonias, such as “Pin Up” or the Olympia series, are ideal for summer bedding; for containers and hanging baskets, there are pendulous or trailing varieties like “Illumination Orange”.
Begonias can also be grown as houseplants. The flowers also come in a wide variety of sizes and colours; they are either single or double, and appear in loose clusters throughout summer. Flowering Begonia’s flowers are similar to miniature roses.
How to Grow Flowering Begonias
As regard of location, Flowering Begonias grow well in similar conditions as Begonias with Decorative Foliage, but preferring north orientation. Flowers are best in partial shade, they suffer in direct sun. In winter, when (if) is low temperature, Flowering Begonia is in a semi-spell, so they need to be seldom watering. Or have to pull out the bulbs for soil and kept in a box with sand at 10 degrees C. In February-March, repot the begonias bulbs. When see the first offshoots, place Begonia at the window and increase the watering. That’s the time to give a balanced fertilizer.