Begonia semperflorens is simultaneously the name of the plant and the name of the cultorum group. Its name is symbolic and it means “ever flowering“.It is differently called the Wax Begonia and most commonly cultivated as a bedding plant outdoors.
Care guide highlights: This deciduous and annual bushy species is best grown in well-draining, neutral to slightly acidic soil in the partial shade outdoors, or beside an east-facing or west-facing windows indoors. No pruning is necessary. Propagate it by seed or from stem cuttings in spring. Feed it every two weeks in the growing season with mild liquid fertilizer and keep the soil evenly moist. This plant will shower you with blooms from summer to fall.
Here’s which topics I shall address here:
- About Begonia semperflorens cultorum group
- What are the light requirements of this plant?
- Does it tolerate lower temperatures?
- The ideal humidity level for Begonia semperflorens
- What type of soil is needed for optimal growth?
- Potting and repotting instructions
- Any particular watering requirements?
- Fertilizing- how often should you do it?
- Propagation methods
- Pests and other issues
- Garden design with Begonia semperflorens
- Frequently asked questions
Read on to find out how to take care of Begonia semperflorens!
About Begonia semperflorens cultorum group
The name of the group was coined by Helen Kraus in 1945. The original variant of this species was called B. cucullata var. cucullata and it was introduced into cultivation first.
In free translation, semperflorens means “ever flowering“. Semperflorens begonias are evergreen, bushy perennials often grown as bedding annuals. Their stems are soft and succulent.
They branch freely and bear round, green, bronze, or variegated leaves that are around 5 cm long. Flowers can be single or double. To enhance flowering, pinch out growing tips.
Begonia semperflorens description
The Wax Begonia is a rather compact species with green leaves that can exhibit tinges of red or bronze, especially if exposed to higher light intensities.
The blooming period is in summer and spring when the plant will shower you with a splash of pink, rose, and white flower clusters. It can grow around 30 centimeters tall and it is not particularly wide.
Given adequate conditions and a growing environment, this flowery ground blanket is fairly easy to grow.
Where to grow Begonia semperflorens
Provided that you grow Begonia semperflorens in a well-lit position, it can be displayed in a variety of places.
You can cultivate them in a greenhouse, inside the house in a pot, in a hanging basket indoors or outdoors. Moreover, you can grow it outdoors as a bedding plant or in a garden pot – the possibilities with this one are endless. It combines easily with other plants.
Now let’s see the care routine you need to follow with this plant. Then, you will see what design patterns you can go for to make your garden a true flowering paradise.
Before I give you a complete care guide, take time to explore these begonia varieties:
What are the Light Requirements of This Plant?
As one of the requirements for photosynthesis and healthy growth, Begonia semperflorens requires at least half a day of bright indirect sunlight, preferably the morning sun.
East-facing windows are ideal because the light is not so strong as it is beside a south-facing one, where the leaves can get scorched and get brown markings.
Turn the plant every few days to ensure that every part of the plant receives the same amount of light. Otherwise, the plant will stretch for more light and there may be some color variations on the leaves.
In case grow lights are your only source of light, keep them on for around 12-14 hours per day, making sure the plant is at an appropriate distance from the lights and install fans to provide good airflow.
Does It Tolerate Lower Temperatures?
The ideal daytime temperature for cultivating Begonia semperflorens is 21- 27 degrees C, while the nighttime temperature should be somewhat lower, around 15 degrees C.
In the winter, maintain the temperature levels above 10 degrees C. Avoid putting the plant close to the heaters or air conditioners, as well as draughty spots.
Bring your plants inside when colder months come and bring them outdoors when it is nice weather, in a spot that receives partial shade. In case you are growing the plant in a greenhouse, you will have to decrease the temperature levels and you can do that by installing ventilation.
Generally speaking, Begonias originate from cooler places and that’s why they like slightly cooler conditions, but they won’t tolerate frost and chilly weather.
The Ideal Humidity Level for Begonia Semperflorens
Begonia semperflorens prefers slightly the humidity level above 40%. While you can increase it by mulching, adding sphagnum moss, and using a humidifier, misting the leaves is not recommended lest fungus should appear.
In a greenhouse, you can increase humidity by splashing water on the floor, while if grown in pots outside, you can group plants and water them.
What Type of Soil Is Needed for Optimal Growth?
When it comes to soil, Begonias are not demanding and picky. As long as it is porous, well-draining, and well aerated, any combination will work. Besides, ensure that the pH level is between 5.8 and 6.8.
You can use a regular multipurpose mix and enrich it by adding peat moss, perlite, and sand – the combination that will make the soil drain well but retain moisture at the same time.
Potting and Repotting Instructions
If you are growing Begonia semperflorens from seeds, it will have to be repotted twice. The first time when a true leaf appears and the second time after the seedling achieves the height of 4 cm.
In that case, the plant should then fit an 8-cm pot. Transplanting is advisable each time the young plant overgrows its current pot.
To sum, Begonia semperflorens doesn’t mind being repotted frequently, unless you have planted it in the ground, in which case you can transplant it to a pot and bring it inside when the colder months arrive.
Any Particular Watering Requirements?
Watering is one of the trickiest parts when it comes to growing plants. The main thing to remember is not to water the plant if the top surface of the soil is still wet.
Rather, wait for the surface to become dry and then apply water, thoroughly, until the excess water drains out the drainage holes. Do not let the plant sit in water since this can lead to root rot.
Another tip is to use a rose attachment to your watering can which will provide greater control over where you apply water. Avoid splashing the leaves and water the soil only to avoid bacteria and fungi. That means that you should also avoid misting.
Fertilizing- How Often Should You Do It?
Begonia semperflorens will thrive in an environment that’s warm, bright, and humid enough, with or without the addition of fertilizer.
If you decide to use them, though, most gardeners suggest using organic ones which are absorbed by the plant slowly than most chemical ones. In case you opt for them nevertheless, find one that contains concentrations of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous, liquid or solid, which are slow-release fertilizers.
Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and cut the concentration if you have doubts as to how to use it. Whatever option you go for, don’t put too much fertilizer close to the roots as it can damage and kill the plant. Discontinue feeding in the colder months.
The Wax Begonia can be propagated by stem cuttings or seeds.
If you decide to use seeds, it’s of vital importance to find a draft-free location, otherwise the tiny and light seeds will be blown away. Use shallow container to combine peat and sand. Before you spread the seeds across the moist medium, don’t forget to sterilize the mix in the oven- just like you would for other Begonia types. When spreading the seeds, leave them visible, don’t cover them with soil. Place it in the spot where it will receive bright, but indirect light. Mind the humidity.
It will take a few weeks for the seeds to germinate. Once the first leaf appears, transplant into new pots by gently lifting the seedlings and placing them into a tiny, ready-made hole. When the plant has reacher around 4cm in height, transplant one more time.
In case you prefer stem cuttings, always use a healthy stem or branch. Find the non-flowering one which has four nodes, and a dormant bud. Eliminate the lower foliage.
Place the end cut in the rooting mix. Some gardeners like to put it in rooting hormone beforehand, which is optional. Expect the roots to form after a few weeks.
You can also label the pots and write the name of the plant, type, and date of propagation so you know which method has turned out to be the best.
Pests and Other Issues
Brown leaf markings
Begonia semperflorens can develop dark brownish markings on leaves, which is a sign of too much sun without proper application of water. Move the plant to a shadier spot and alter your watering routine.
On the other hand, if it receives insufficient sunlight, the plant flowers reluctantly and sparsely, so find a brighter spot. To stimulate the flowering process, deadhead or pinch off the shoots.
Rotting is a common issue with waterlogging and fungal infection. To prevent it, avoid overwatering and overhead watering, and remove infected leaves.
Mites, mealybugs, and thrips
This species of Begonia is rarely visited by pests, but mites, mealybugs, and thrips can occur, in which case you should clean the leaves with the rubbing alcohol. You can also clean thrips with a toothbrush or by hand.
Care tips in brief
- Find a place to plant or grow Begonia semperflorens that receives bright sun half of the day
- Deadheading promotes blooming
- Don’t keep the soil dry, but don’t water too frequently, either
- Don’t water the leaves
- Propagate in spring from stem cuttings or seeds
- Inspect the plant regularly
Garden Design with Begonia semperflorens
It is undeniable that this begonia variety makes the most dazzling display as a bedding plant and it is well adapted to it. The reason for it is that animals are not attracted to them and pests seem to dislike them, too.
This is a good annual for shady areas with moist soil and it tolerates acidic soil, too. You can choose among pink, red, or white combinations.
Purpose, simplicity, unity, balance, and harmony
When thinking about a design that you want, think about the purpose first. Consider simplicity in your design by limiting the number of species you will be using, as well as unity, balance, and harmony. You can make a list of plants that you would like to plant and see how they combine and fit into each layer.
Think of the layers. Usually, they start with rhizomes, tubers, or bulbs, then comes the perennial layer, the shrub layer, and then trees. Of course, you can deviate from this pattern and invent a completely new and distinct design. Making a sketch will help you see how the end result should look like.
Take into account your personality and choose a style accordingly: romantic, formal or informal, minimalist, contemporary or traditional, exotic or tropical. You can find many ideas on the Internet or books about garden design and outdoor gardening.
What you should do beforehand is consider:
- Site suitability – see if the plant’s care requirements fit your garden conditions
- Root requirements – you might need to improve your soil and feed it
- Take into account the plant’s size, shape, and habit – this shouldn’t be a problem since it is a compact plant, but make sure you assess this for other plants, too
- Shade – this plant has to be separated somewhat from other sun-loving plants
- Accompanying plants – choose varieties that will compliment Begonia semperflorens in terms of shape, color combinations, and contrast.
- You can use complementary colors and add one key decorative accent to be the focal point
- Try different shapes until you are satisfied with the design you have made
Frequently Asked Questions
As a low-maintenance and easy care plant, the Wax Begonia is widely cultivated as an outdoor, bedding plant.
Find a good spot, make a design and accompanying plants, decide what colors you want your garden blanket to have and you will enjoy the view and smell of it every day.
Or simply keep it as a houseplant in a pot – it will attract attention either way.
Where do you keep your Begonia semperflorens? I can’t wait to hear from you, so hit the comments section below.