Begonias- Plant Bio: Podcast Ep#51

Begonias have some of the most unique patterns, colors, and shapes. Plus, this plant has never-ending varieties to collect, with thousands of different hybrids!


Varieties

There are hundreds of different kinds of Begonias, so sorting them out is very hard! There are LOTS of hybrids that are just typically labeled as Begonia 'HYBRID NAME' which have been produced by using varieties I will talk about.


Main Categories (there are thousands of Begonia hybrids out there!):

Fibrous Begonia- Cane Begonia, Angel Wing, Polka Dot Begonia

Rhizomatous Begonia- Rex Begonia

Tuberous Begonia


Sun Requirements:

Bright, indirect light is best, but they will still do okay in medium light. Some varieties can tolerate some direct sunlight.


As an outdoor annual, it is best to keep this plant out of long periods of direct sunlight and keep it in light shade.


Water Requirement

This plant likes to be evenly moist but absolutely hates sitting in water. Using a well-draining soil and using a draining pot will help prevent your plant from getting root rot.


Medium to high humidity is recommended. I have 3 begonias and the one that is doing best is near my humidifier.


Fertilizer

As I always say, there are LOTS of ways to fertilize plants. Unless you are extremely over-fertilizing your plant, there isn't necessarily a wrong way to do this. I currently use Fox Farm's Grow Big Liquid Fertilizer and I fertilize every 2 weeks when I water my plants, starting around the end of February through October. I honestly probably only fertilize once or twice in winter because the plant isn't as active! I use about 1/2 to 3/4 the recommended amount of fertilizer because I would rather under-fertilize than over-fertilize my plants. Based on the below info from Fox Farm it looks like I could increase my fertilizing a bit if needed!

Practical Houseplant Book: "Apply a half strength feed every 2 weeks in spring and summer and monthly in fall and winter. Use a high-nitrogen fertilizer early in the season to encourage leaves, and a high-phosphorus fertilizer later in the season to encourage flowers."


As you can see, there are MANY ways to fertilize and it is completely up to you! There are tons of products out there you can try but an overall rule of thumb for houseplants is that it is best to under-fertilize, rather than over-fertilize. Always use the recommended amount, or less, when applying your fertilizer to houseplants.


Propagation

For most varieties you can take leaf cuttings or divide the rhizomes for propagation.


Other Facts

  • Part of the Begoniaceae Family.

  • Native to tropical regions around the Americas, Asia and Africa.

  • Blooms are frequent outdoors and can commonly happen on indoor Begonias as well. Color, size and shape depend on the variety.

  • Toxic to pets and humans. Check out Podcast Ep#31 for more info or the corresponding blog post!

Instagram Q&A

I asked followers if they had any specific plant questions I could address in this podcast and blog. Here are the questions and answers for the Begonia...


"Is there a difference in care for cane vs non-cane begonias?"

  • There is not a huge difference in care. Some flower easier than others (and you can alter care to encourage flowering), but this may be the only real main difference.


"My begonia maculata makes a lot of new leaves but most of them fall, and the tips of the old ones are dry."

  • I would try being consistent with watering. This could be a sign of underwatering. They like to be evenly moist.

"How to prevent or get rid of powdery mildew on these guys! "

  • Make sure you are not misting the leaves or the leaves aren't getting hit directly by a humidifier. Allow for air flow around the plant. Use a well draining soil so moisture does not accumulate.

"How can I get my cane begonias to flower?"

  • Make sure you fertilize consistently through the growing season and give your begonia plenty of light. Increasing humidity could also create those ideal conditions to bloom as well.

"How does one know what begonias need terrarium-like conditions?"

  • This is tricky! Based on everything I've seen, most Begonias thrive in a high humidity situation. They all seem to benefit from terrarium like conditions. That being said, it is not a requirement and Begonias can still tolerate medium humidity.

"Do you have a favorite begonia?"

  • I am a big fan of any Rex Begonia. I think their textures, colors and patterns are endless - which makes me super excited to discover more!

 

WANT TO LISTEN?

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Always written with extreme plant passion!

Love, Holly

 

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