The Beauty of Begonias
They Grow Indoors and Out
Begonia is an amazing genus. There are well over 1,800 species. They add constant color and beautiful foliage throughout the season in places with little to no direct sunlight. They can be used as bedding plants, in window boxes and in hanging baskets. Their bright colorful flowers have sepals but no petals. There are two types of begonias commonly used for growing outdoors in the summer — fibrous and tuberous. They are not hardy, and need to be treated as annuals or brought inside for the winter.
Begonias are one of the best indoor/outdoor plants you can grow. Not only do they make exceptional houseplants, these versatile plants make lovely additions to hanging baskets, window boxes, or mixed containers. Just be sure they’re protected from direct sun, especially during mid-summer when the temperatures soar. Begonias dislike wet feet. Between waterings, let the soil dry out slightly.
Fibrous begonias | Begonia x semperflorens
Few other annuals can beat the Wax Begonia ( Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum) for hardiness and continuous flowering throughout the summer. Small, bushy plants, with shiny, heart-shaped leaves of green, bronze-red or mahogany, are covered with small white, pink, rose or red flowers. Wax begonias withstand drought and heat better than other begonias, although they definitely prefer moist, well-drained, fertile soil. Wax begonias grow quickly, are deer resistant, and spread to fill in spaces in the garden. While most people think of wax begonias as exclusively outdoor plants, they also make excellent indoor plants, where they become true perennials.
Tuberous begonias | Begonia x tuberhybrida
These begonias are popular for their beautiful 2- to 4-inch- wide flowers that come in a variety of colors and forms: Red, orange, yellow, white, salmon and pink blooms may be single or double and may be plain, ruffled or toothed. They bloom throughout the summer, thriving in shady spots where few other plants with long bloom periods and showy flowers grow. They are often used as container plants on patios and porches, in hanging baskets, and as bedding plants. They need frequent watering and light fertilization. Excess of either causes flower bud drop. The “Non-stop” cultivars are compact and small-flowered multiflora types that will delight you throughout the summer.
Tuberous begonias are frost-tender, so in our zone they must be dug up before the frost and replanted each year. Tops should be cut back to within a couple inches of the tubers. After drying, pack the tubers in cardboard boxes between layers of vermiculite, peat moss or wood shavings and store at 45 to 55 degrees.
Tips for Growing Begonia as Houseplants
Begonias are a popular and easy to grow houseplant. Some varieties of begonia are grown for their flowers while others are grown for their foliage. Growing begonias as houseplants very little time, effort or knowledge in order to keep them looking their very best indoors.
The first thing to do when learning how to care for begonias indoors is to determine what kind of begonia you have. Begonias belong to one of three types — tuberous, fibrous, and rhizomatous. As a rule, fibrous and rhizomatous begonias make excellent houseplants while tuberous begonias can be grown as houseplants but have different requirements than other begonias. They have a need for higher humidity and light than the other two kinds.
Care of begonias indoors starts with the proper location. One of the tips for growing begonia as houseplants is to place them somewhere where they will get bright, indirect light and receive plenty of humidity. If the air in your house becomes dry, often occurring during the winter, it is a good idea to set your begonia houseplants on a shallow tray filled with pebbles and water. This allows your growing begonias to get the humidity they need indoors without waterlogging the soil or exposing the leaves to excess moisture that could cause disease.
When you take care of begonias, make sure that you only water them when they need to be watered. Many experts suggest you actually wait until the plant shows signs of being dry, such as drooping leaves, before you water them. This will help prevent accidental overwatering, which is the main reason for begonias dying when grown indoors. Also, when you water your begonia houseplant, make sure to water below the leaves in order to avoid inviting a fungal disease.
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