Begonias

Begonia flowers

A closer look at the flowers on a wax begonia

Begonias are a commonly used bedding plant that can provide striking color in the landscape throughout the year. The begonia family contains more than 1,200 species and hybrids, many of which are commonly grown as potted foliage plants.

In the landscape, bushy, fibrous-rooted wax begonias are most popular. Wax begonias are tender to the cold, so should be planted in the spring, after the danger of frost has passed. Their pink, white, or red flowers have rich color, even during the summer.

Angel-wing begonias gets their name from the shape of their leaves, which come in an array of different colors and patterns. Angel-wings are some of the largest begonias, reaching up to five feet tall. Angel-wing begonias produce large clusters of white, pink, orange, or red flowers, blooming profusely early spring through autumn.

Begonias can be used in mass plantings, or they can be mixed with other annuals. They thrive in light, well-drained soil with lots of organic matter. Plant them as soon as possible after purchase.

Since begonias are native to the tropics, they prefer spots with high humidity and lots of filtered sunlight. If you live in a cooler part of the state, be sure to protect your outdoor begonias from frost. They can also thrive indoors.

If your begonia gets leggy, don’t be afraid to cut it back. An occasional light pruning will also stimulate new growth and more flowers.

Begonia foliagePropagation

Begonias are easily propagated at home. There are three types of begonia propagation: stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, and division.

Stem cuttings are very simple. A stem cutting should be two to four inches in length and come from a healthy plant. You can root these cuttings in perlite, potting soil, or any other sterile media.

Some begonias will also start from leaf cuttings. The only requirement is that the leaf portion contains a main vein.

With both stem and leaf cuttings, you should keep them in a cool, humid environment until they root. 

You can also divide some varieties of begonia by simply separating the stems. Take each section and plant them in clean potting media.

Angel wing begonia in planter with ivy

An angel wing begonia with variegated foliage, in a planter with ivy

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