begonia types

45 Amazing Begonia Types (With Pictures + Care Guide)

Begonia types are extremely popular plants cultivated in every region of the world regardless of the type of climate. 

This is not surprising to hear because not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but they are also easy to grow and suitable for indoor and outdoor cultivation.

Moreover, several plants are used for their medicinal purposes in their native lands and there is even Begonia tea made from the Chinese species B. fimbristipula.

How Begonia Got Its Name?

This genus has a somewhat confusing history of how it got the name Begonia.

Although three other names had been previously published for the species of this genus, the French Botanist Charles Plumier named the genus Begonia to honor Michel Begon who had recommended him to King Luis XIV of France for the position of plant collector in the French Caribbean.

So, this is the name that was also officially adopted by Linnaeus in his Species Plantarum of 1753.

Natural Habitats of Begonias

Begonias are naturally found throughout much of tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia, and America, especially humid forests of South America and mainland Asia. Through tropical, Australia is not home to begonias.

Begonias are native to Asia

Distinctive Characteristics of Begonia Types

Begonia includes more than 1,000 species of foliage and flowering plants.

Begonia plant enthusiasts like to group begonias by growth into fibrous, trailing, shrub-like, rhizomatous, thick-stemmed, or tuberous, and by habit into angel-wing, rex, cane, or semperflorens.

Tuberous begonias have a tuber and if grown in the ground, they should be dug up, dried, and stored until the winter passes. Rhizomatous begonias have rhizomes around the soil surface, whereas rex begonias are immediately identified by their unique foliage.

However, there are some hybrid varieties that exhibit a combination of the traits that are typical to two or three groups. B.diurna is one such variety, fibrous with cane-like stems.

Foliage

Begonias are especially prized for their charmingly colored and intricately patterned foliage. As such, they can be used as focal points or grouped together to create a calming oasis.

The leaves are usually oblique, asymmetric, and ear-like, where other varieties have fern-like leaves. Besides, the vein patterns also differ and may be palmate, palmate-pinnate, or pinnate.

Some compelling foliage patterns are exemplary of B.maculata, an angel wing, cane-like variety, as well as any species of the group Rex begonias.

Some varieties have hairy leaf surfaces and some African species take the form of star-shaped forms. Usually, the arrangement of leaves is alternate and most have several leaves, but some have only one or two like B. dioica.

Begonia foliage

Flowers

As for foliage, there is an enormous variety of flower arrangements. Some species have terminal inflorescences which means that flowers form at the ends of the branches, whereas others have axillary inflorescences, which means that flowers appear along the length of the branches.

The flowers are always unisexual, meaning that there are both male and female flowers. Color variations are also immense and there can be yellow, orange, or red species.

The scent is pleasant, most noticeable on sunny days in the morning. Female flowers have a stronger scent and they attract insect pollinators.

The most powerfully scented is Begonia intergerrima that has a sweet, spicy smell. Other varieties are B.egregia, B. roxburghii, and B.lubbersii.

Begonia flowers

Do Begonias Come Back Every Year?

Begonia includes annuals and perennials.

Annuals complete their cycle after one growing season, which means that you plant the seeds and a baby plant emerges, produces flowers, and yields new seeds, an indicator that their life cycle is finished. However, you can get the plant to bloom for a longer period by deadheading.

Perennials live for more than 2 years and do not normally produce flowers in the first year, so they live longer.

Growing Habit – How Big Do Begonias Get?

The growth of begonia plants may be upright, climbing, or scrambling. Some plants are extremely short because they have aerial stems and rhizomes or tubers, whereas other varieties can reach up to 3.5m in height.

Consider the ultimate growing size of the variety you wish to grow and decide upon the site for site accordingly.

Where Should I Plant Begonias?

Begonia species are extremely versatile growers. Indoors, they perform very well in a pot or a basket, while some species that prefer higher humidity like B.semperflorens can be cultivated in large, enclosed terrariums, which makes them an even more attractive display.

They can be grown in greenhouses outdoors and some species like B.masoniana  are great bedding plants and most varieties make great hanging-basket plants. All varieties can be moved outside in the warmer months, provided that you find a spot that receives bright shade.

Begonia plant in a hanging basket

Meet the Most Popular Begonia Types

Begonia rex 

Otherwise called the Painted Leaf Begonia, this creeping rhizomatous species was first noticed in northeast India.

Begonia rex has very large, burgundy leaves that are slightly hairy and adorned with peculiar patterns in different color combinations ranging from wine-red, green, and bronze.

The blooming period is in winter and the flower blooms are lighter than the leaves, with yellow centers.

Bonus care tip: Add peat moss or leafmold to the standard potting mix and find a spot where the plant will receive bright light and slightly higher humidity. The daytime temperature should be around 20 degrees and winter temperatures should be maintained above 13 degrees C. Propagate from seeds, leaf wedges, or leaf cuttings. If you know how to take care of Begonia rex, it is very rewarding to have it in your collection.

Begonia rex

Begonia tuberhybrida 

Tuberous Begonia tuberhybrida blooms in summer, giving you a splash of colorful flowers. The stems are somewhat succulent, the leaves dark green and you can even buy it as a mature plant.

Bonus care tip: Provide diffused light such as an east-facing window or use additional lights, keep the temperature around 20 degrees during the day, and the minimum temperature should be above 13 degrees C.  Increase humidity in the summer, add peat or perlite to the mix and water weekly in the summer. Fertilize twice a month in the flowering season.

Begonia  tuberhybrida

Begonia coccinea or “Scarlet Begonia“

This is an upright perennial cane-like species of begonia that has attractive stiff green leaves, ovate-elliptic and hairless. Begonia coccinea is a graceful plant with dazzling bright red tepals, ovaries, and flower stalks. It is native to Brazil.  

Fun fact: William Lobb discovered it in 1841 but Hooker called it B. coccinea because of the bright red inflorescences; coccineus in Latin means “crimson“.

Bonus care tip: This plant is readily grown in a greenhouse with high humidity. You can propagate it easily by using cuttings made from young stem growth or by seed.

Begonia coccinea

Begonia semperflorens   – Wax Begonia

This ever flowering shrub-like species of the Semperflorens group is most widely grown as a bedding plant, but does well in a pot, hanging baskets because it is very compact and clean. This group of Begonia semperflorens is also referred to as double begonias because they produce showy double flowers.

It has green foliage with tints of reddish colors if given more sunlight. Flowers vary in color, from pink to white.

Bonus care tip: Bright indirect light, warm environment with temperatures between 22 and 12 degrees C, humidity above 40%, porous soil that is enriched with peat moss and perlite, and judicious watering that prevents sitting in water.

Begonia semperflorens

Begonia masoniana   

Named for Maurice Mason, this is a rhizomatous plant especially attractive if gown in a large enclosed terrarium.

Begonia masoniana has uniquely patterned and textured foliage. Its flowers are first light pink but are like chameleons because they turn green from the leaves they camouflage due to the green environment they are surrounded with.

Bonus care tip: This plant prefers indirect sunlight, temperature between 21 and 15 degrees C, mildly acidic to neutral soil. Water when around 3cm of the surface becomes dry, and fertilize with a nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium fertilizer. Propagate using leaf or seed.

Begonia masoniana

Begonia boliviensis   

Begonia Bonfire or Santa Cruz, whatever name you like – this is a tuberous perennial plant that has bright red inflorescences with tepals that are long and narrow, so they resemble flower bells.

The leaves are pendulous, also long and narrow, thus in harmony with the flowers, green, slightly hairy, with prominent veins.

Fun fact: It is a founding parent of the B. x tuberhybrida cultivar group.

Bonus care tip: Display this species in a hanging basket indoor or outdoor where the stems, branches, and flowers will fall over the sides of the basket.

Begonia boliviensis flowers

Begonia brevirimosa  

Begonia brevirimosa is a bushy species, shrub-like originally from New Guinea that grows up to 1m tall and it is perfect for a large terrarium or a glasshouse.

Fun fact: There are two subvarieties if this variety- B. brevirimosa subsp. brevirimosa and B.brevirimosa subsp. exotica. The striking feature of both subspecies are large pinkish and green leaves, with a slight difference in terms of shape. Brevirimosa has elliptic leaves, while exotica has ovate leaves.

Bonus care tip: Keep temperatures between 15.22 degrees C during the day, humidity around 60%, provide regular moisture without waterlogging and splashing the leaves, repot when the plant gets rootbound.

Begonia brevirimosa flower and foliage

Begonia amphioxus  

Another shrub-like variety found in Malaysia, Begonia amphioxus has pointed leaves and that’s the reason why the plant got the name amphioxus which means  “sharp at both ends“.

The leaves are adorned with red spots and rimmed on the edges with the same color, which contrasts beautifully to the otherwise green leaves. When the wind blows, the leaves flutter, looking like the wings, hence the name “Butterfly Plant“.

Bonus care tip: This plant performs well in open or contained atmospheres such as large jars and terrariums, which are then positioned under grow lights. The means you choose to be the home of the plant: pot, basket, terrarium, or a glasshouse will dictate the care routine you have to follow.

Begonia amphioxus

Begonia conchifolia  

This is a creeping rhizomatous perennial that has red to light green and hairless rhizome.

The leaf petioles are purple to pale green or pink, densely hairy, while the blades are glossy green above, paler green beneath with hairs along the principal veins. The flowers of Begonia conchifolia are small, white, and very fragrant.

One subspecies called B. conchifolia f. rubrimacula differs from the original plant in having a red spot above the junction of the petiole and leaf blade.

Fun fact: The name conchifolia derives from the fact that leaves resemble rounded shells, after the conch shell.

Bonus care tip: This plant is not a fussy grower and does well in standard conditions, so very easy to cultivate. Use grow lights for supplemented exposure to light.

Begonia conchifolia

Begonia cucullata 

An upright non-rhizomatous variety that is the parent plant of the Begonia Semperflorens group that’s extremely easy to grow and among the most floriferous ones in the genus.

The stem is green to red, sparsely hairy when young. As for the leaf blades of Begonia cucullata, they are glossy green above, paler green beneath, sparsely hairy, ovate, or elliptic. The inflorescence is bisexual, white to rosy pink.

Bonus care tip: Given plenty of light, this plant can grow as a bedding plant, indoors or in a greenhouse. Pinching makes the plant neater.

Begonia cucullata

Begonia grandis

This is an erect tuberous perennial that can achieve a height of 75 cm, bearing green to bronze-green leaves with red veins and pink or white fragrant flowers. Begonia grandis produces them in the late summer and early autumn.

Fun fact: This species is adapted to live in areas experiencing prolonged periods below freezing, which is why it is referred to as a hardy begonia. It can survive temperatures down to -7 degrees C. This is partially because it is dormant in the winter. It is the only truly frost-hardy member of the genus.

Bonus care tip: This garden-worthy plant is best planted in a well-drained position outdoors, in dappled light, in a situation that allows the low autumn sun to shine through the backs of its leaves, causing them to glow red. This plant is the joy of autumn.

Begonia grandis

Begonia pavonina

Otherwise called Peacock Begonia, this is a rhizomatous species native to Malaysia that is distinguished by the attractive iridescent blue sheen on the leaves when grown in low light and light pink flowers. Ordinary plants have large green leaves with yellow venation.

Bonus care tip: It likes high humidity and good airflow, ideally in a terrarium or a greenhouse.

Begonia pavonina

Nonstop Begonia

Nonstop begonias are tuberous perennials that come in an array of colors and are ideal for growing in a pot or a hanging basket.

They have dark green foliage and they bloom continuously and profusely until frost comes, that’s why they are called Nonstop.

Bonus care tip: Make a potting mix out of peat moss, coarse sand, compost, and mulch and keep it moist but not wet. Position them in a semi-shade place.

Nonstop Begonia

Begonia luxurians

This is an upright and robust shrub-like variety that has green leaf blades with pink flushed veins at the base covered with stiff hairs.

The inflorescence of Begonia luxurians is many-flowered and large, with male flowers emerging long before the female ones. Both are tiny and creamy white, while ovaries become green with maturity.

Fun fact: The name luxurians is evocative of the luxuriant foliage and flowers that the plant produces when it is happy.

Bonus care tip: This ornamental plant is suitable for outdoor cultivation in warm areas. Keep slightly moist and propagate via stem cuttings or by seed.

Begonia luxurians

Begonia listada

This is a branched subshrub that can grow up to 1 meter tall. Its leaf blades are dark green above with a yellowish stripe running along the main veins. The flowers of Begonia listada are white, covered with short red hairs.

Fun fact: The name listada derives from Spanish and means “striped“ in reference to its striped leaves.

Bonus care tip: It is well adapted to standard conditions, though it prefers a brightly lit position.

Begonia listada

Begonia obliqua

This is a tuberous perennial hardy plant that is famed for its olive green glossy foliage and pink-rose flowers. However, Begonia obliqua doesn’t bloom that often. You can deadhead and pinch offshoots to promote flowering, but you can also use fertilizer for that purpose.

Bonus care tip: Find a position that receives good shade, water when the soil becomes dry but avoid overhead watering by all means.

Begonia obliqua

Begonia darthvaderiana 

Well, here is one secretive and mysterious plant discovered in Indonesia just recently, very rare indeed. It is endemic to Borneo, which a real hotspot for Begonia. The leaves of Begonia darthvaderiana are large, lanceolate, dark brownish-purple nearly black, sometimes with rimmed light green or cream edges, barely obvious venation, and sometimes with dots between the veins. The flowers vary from white to light pink or pink or red.

Fun fact: The name darthvaderiana means black leaves.

Bonus care tip: Well-draining soil that contains sphagnum and perlite, temperature around 20 degrees C, partial sunlight, and regular moisture is what this plant needs.

Begonia darthvaderiana

Begonia nelumbiifolia

This is a robust creeping rhizomatous perennial plant that has green, unusually large, and peltate leaves sparsely haired on the main veins and flowers that are white to pale pink.

It is endemic to Southern Mexico and Colombia. Begonia nelumbiifolia is also called Lotus Leafed Begonia or Lily Pad Begonia. It blooms in late winter.

Fun fact: Nelumbo is a plant prized for its large umbrella-like leaves, so its scientific name is due to the resemblance to Nelumbo.

Bonus care tip: It is best displayed in a bed in a greenhouse rather than in a pot since it needs a lot of elbow room. It is also perfect for outdoor landscaping. Provide humus-rich soil and bright filtered light, but it tolerates full sun too with adequate moisture.

Begonia nelumbiifolia

Begonia foliosa

This one is a shrub-like variety with gracefully arching stems, green or pink petioles, glossy green leaves with red veins, hairless. Male flowers of Begonia foliosa have four white, pink, or red tepals, while female ones have five white pink or red tepals and pale green or whitish-green ovaries.

Fun fact: It continuously produces a smattering of dainty white flowers borne on fern-like foliage. Foliosa means “with abundant leaves“ since this plant is a leafy mess.

Bonus care tip: Plant it in a hanging basket because its arching stems look best when seen at eye level. It prefers to be slightly moist at all times and in a relatively cool, shady position with a humidity between 50 and 70%. Propagate from stem cuttings and seeds.

Begonia foliosa

Begonia petalatifolia

This is a creeping rhizomatous perennial that belongs to the thick-stemmed group because the rhizome is thick, orange-brown in color, and branching.

The leaf blades of Begonia petalatifolia are green and densely covered with brownish star-shaped hairs and the inflorescence is white with pink tinges.

Fun fact: The name depicts the plant’s resemblance to members of the genus Petasites.

Bonus care tip: It requires good drainage, allowing the soil to dry out somewhat between watering again.

Begonia petalatifolia

Begonia venosa

This is a thick-stemmed shrub-like perennial whose vegetative parts are covered with short silver felt-like hairs. The flowers of Begonia venosa are compact, fragrant, white, and long-stalked.

Fun fact: The name venosa means “prominently veined“ and it refers to the plant’s stipules.

Bonus care tip: It requires a brightly lit position to develop its unique coating of felt-like hairs. Treat it more like a succulent – infrequent watering, bright position, excellent drainage, somewhat dry conditions (bathroom). It does well in a cactus and succulent potting mix. Pay attention not to dust off the hairs.

Begonia venosa

Begonia pearcei 

This is a tuberous plant species that has deep green foliage prominently veined. Begonia pearcei has yellow inflorescences.

Fun fact: It was named for Richard Pearce who discovered it in 1864 in Bolivian Andes.

Bonus care tip: Ensure that the plant gets light shade, loose and free-draining, porous soil, and add peat moss or mulch for moisture retention.

Begonia pearcei

Begonia dregei 

This is a semi-tuberous erect perennial that can grow from 40 cm to 1 m tall. The leaf blades of Begonia dregei are green above, with reddish or purplish veins and margins, and sometimes white spots when young.

Flowers are fragrant. Male flowers have two white or pink tepals, while female flowers have five tepals in the same color.

Fun fact: It is the only African species that has a swollen base of the stem, caudex, so that makes it easily identifiable. This makes it ideal for a bonsai pot.

Bonus care tip: Grow it on an east-facing windowsill and provide heat from beneath the pot so that the fleshy caudex wouldn’t shrivel. Water increasingly and often in spring, and place it upon a humidity try in late spring. Remove the tray in the fall and reduce watering. Shallow pot and bright light. Prone to mildew, propagate from seeds.

Begonia dregei

Begonia sutherlandii

Another African tuberous perennial with green leaves adorned with red veins and pale pinkish-orange to deep orange or brick-red flowers. Begonia sutherlandi is both elegant, hardy, and easy to grow outdoors in colder regions, but not frost-tolerant.

Fun fact: It is named for Peter Sutherland who discovered it in 1864.

Bonus care tip: Grow it in a greenhouse or a container, never in a terrarium. When kept outdoors, it grows well in humid regions that have slightly cooler summer temperatures.

Begonia suthrelandii

Begonia bipinnatifida

This species is a very rare one originating from New Guinea. It has crimson-colored stems, fern-like leaves that are crimson on the underside and green on the top surface. It is also named Fern Leaf Begonia because of its pinnate-looking growth.

As such, it makes a wonderful display in a terrarium. Since it is so special, no wonder that is a demanding grower.

Bonus care tip: It needs high humidity (60 to 90%) and temperatures between 15 and 25 degrees C, but very sensitive to overwatering. Provide bright indirect light.

Begonia bipinnatifida

Begonia thelmae

This is a trailing, non-rhizomatous perennial plant that roots at nodes and can grow up to 1m long.

The leaf blades of Begonia thelmae are brownish-green above with pale green veins, and burgundy below, both surfaces adorned with red hairs. Inflorescences usually have three male and a single female white flower.

Bonus care tip: This plant requires a shady, humid environment such as in a greenhouse or a terrarium. Take cuttings in the fall and put several to each pot.

Begonia thelmae

Begonia acetosa 

This is a creeping rhizomatous plant that has thick, pale green branches that bear wonderfully contrasting olive green upper leaf surfaces with stiff white hairs and bright red beneath the wine-red lower surface. Begonia acetosa has white flowers.

Bonus care tip: It requires relatively high humidity and bright indirect light to promote the natural deep red and green leaf coloration. It is best grown in a greenhouse.

Begonia goegoensis

Begonia goegoensis is a creeping rhizomatous perennial that has dark green-bronze leaves with pale green veins and purple-red margins. The inflorescence it bears is several-flowered and pink on the outer surface, white inside.

Bonus care tip: It is a bit challenging to grow. This one prefers warm temperatures around 18 to 24 degrees C, humidity around 60 percent. The best place to keep it is a humid greenhouse or under lights in a large sealed terrarium. Make the medium rich and humusy, free-draining, with the addition of fertilizer during summer.

Begonia odorata 

Begonia odorata is a mix of large double white, rose, pink and red flowers that are extremely fragrant and glossy green foliage. As such, it makes a perfect hanging basket plant for outdoor or indoor display.

Bonus care tip: Find a location that receives partial shade and plant in well-drained soil.

Begonia odorata

Begonia prismatocarpa

This is another creeping rhizomatous perennial that is very short, around 11 cm –  a begonia dwarf. The leaves of Begonia prismatocarpa are glossy green with tinges of red and yellow flowers. It is best to display it in a small enclosed terrarium or a fishbowl.

Bonus care tip: It requires high humidity and high light, so grow it under grow lights and an enclosed atmosphere. In that case, place it away from direct sunlight. Propagates easily from seed, rhizomes, leaf cuttings, or leaf wedges. Grow it in coarsely chopped sphagnum moss and perlite.

Begonia prismatocarpa

Begonia benigo 

This species is an angel-wing variety of begonia that is distinguished by its large, glossy leaves and silver or pale pink spots that embellish the leaf blades. The underside is red and the flowers of Begonia benigo are pink.

Bonus care tip: Provide indirect sunlight, free-draining soil mix and keep the soil moist.

Begonia socotrana

This is an upright thick-stemmed perennial that belongs to the group of tubers. Begonia socotrana can grow up to 45 cm tall.

The leaf blades are glossy green above, paler green beneath, with sparse hairs on the veins. The flowers are rose-pink, obovate, or elliptic, with green ovaries.

Fun fact: This plant is summer dormant, so it requires minimal watering in late summer to early fall to wake up new growth. When it begins to sprout, water increasingly. This variety achieves its full growth in mid-winter. Reduce flowering after the flowers begin to yellow, and cease to water for the summer resting period.

Bonus care tip: It is somewhat needy in its growing requirements and as such, it demands a well-drained potting medium, bright and humid environment. It would be ideal to plant it in a clay pot. Propagate via division of clusters of bulbils.

Begonia microsperma 

This plant is a very rare one restricted to areas near waterfalls or rocks. The leaves of Begonia microsperma are elliptic or ovate, light green with barely visible yellow veins, very interestingly textured. As for the flowers, they are yellow and consist of two petals on opposite sides.

Bonus care tip: It requires high humidity that is will receive best if grown in a terrarium, but infrequent watering. Using grow lights is advisable.

Begonia microsperma

Begonia bogneri

This is a short-stemmed tuberous plant that has crowded green leaves and light pink flowers. Begonia bogneri originates from Madagascar.

Bonus care tip: Grow it in an enclosed container for increased humidity and provide a cool position in which the temperatures are between 18 and 21. Using artificial lights can prevent the resting period in winter when the plant becomes dormant and drops the leaves.

Begonia sparreana 

This species originates from Ecuador and tropical and subtropical forests are its natural habitats. The leaves are green but turn reddish if given more light. Begonia sparreana produces purplish-pink flowers.

Bonus care tip: Water moderately in the summer and keep temperature levels around 20 degrees C regardless of the current season.

Begonia sparreana

Begonia popenoei

The leaf surfaces of this rhizomatous plant are extremely large, green, smooth, somewhat glossy, while the flowers that accompany the leaves are white. That’s why this particular plant is otherwise called White Begonia or a Giant Leaf Begonia.

Bonus care tip: Take into account the ultimate size of the plant when choosing its home, since its stems and leaves are thick and large.

Begonia “Cleopatrae“

This is a rhizomatous, easy-to-grow plant with a dense mass of shortly creeping rhizomes that support yellow-green and purplish-brown leaves. The flowers of Begonia Cleopatra are profuse, long-stalked, and pale pink.

Bonus care tip: It performs well in zones 10-12 in the hot sun, so it is an ideal balcony plant.

Begonia “Erythrophylla“

Otherwise called Begonia Feastii or Beefsteak begonia, this variety is grown for its attractive foliage – large, leathery leaves that are bright green above and deep red-brown beneath. Moreover, there are sprays of delicate pink flowers.

Bonus care tip: It is not only popular as an indoor plant, but also makes an attractive garden plant display in a shaded spot.

Begonia Erythrophylla

Begonia fuchsioides

This is a shrub-like type with crowded, small, oval leaves flushed pink on young ones. The flowers of Begonia fuchsioides are coral-red to pale pink, borne in abundant sprays over a long period of time.

Bonus care tip: This species is suitable for outdoor cultivation, it grows up to 1m tall because of the branches that are gracefully drooping.

Begonia fuchsioides

Begonia “Pink Shasta“

This is an angel-wing type of cane-stemmed begonias that has branching stems and slightly silver spotted leaves. Begonia „Pink Shasta“ produces salmon-pink flowers.

Fun fact: This species originated as a seedling of “Shasta“ derived from B. coccinea.

Begonia Pink Shasta

Begonia maculata – Polka Dot Begonia

This large angel wing, cane-like species is a true show-off with its large green and white spotted leaves, which is why it is called the Polka Dot Begonia. Who doesn’t like polka dots?

In addition, the foliage bears cascading trusses of small cream flowers that appear in summer.

Bonus care tip: The long stems of this plant need staking.

Polka Dot Begonia

Begonia “Rumba“

Another painted-leaf begonia in the genus, this is a demure beauty celebrated for its decorative patterned foliage.

This one has rich, rose-red foliage with brown to almost black markings and red undersides. The venation of Begonia „Rumba“ is hence very prominent, adding to the uniqueness of it.

Bonus care tip: Stand it in filtered sun to achieve this foliage coloration.

Begonia Rumba

Begonia olsoniae

This is a creeping rhizomatous perennial plant that has one of the most striking foliage – dark green to brownish green with contrasting whitish-yellow veins that are held at an attractive angle from the plant in a shield-like manner. The flowers are small and white.

Bonus care tip: Grow this beauty in a humid greenhouse or a terrarium, or a hanging basket.

Begonia Versicolor

This is a dwarf creeping rhizomatous plant with blades that are pale green with white highlights and brownish borders to the veins. Begonia Versicolor has a crinkled, velvety appearance because of the soft hairs on upper surfaces.

Fun fact: The scientific name of this plant means “variously colored“, referring to its leaves.

Bonus care tip: Plant it in a terrarium because it needs high humidity, keep slightly moist and keep the temperature around 16 degrees C. Bright light will underpin the desired leaf coloration.

Begonia ampla

This is an epiphytic, trailing, non-rhizomatous plant that has glossy green leaf blades that are paler beneath. Both surfaces of its leaves are covered with short star-shaped hairs. The flowers of Begonia ampla are white with red stripes along the veins.

Bonus care tip: It requires a cool, humid greenhouse environment and likes to be close to any water feature such as garden pots or pools.

How Do You Care for Begonias?

Before deciding upon the care routine that you are going to follow, do some research about the growing requirements of the plants you want to cultivate.  Put special focus on the ideal home for them. Is it a pot, a hanging basket, a large jar or a terrarium, a greenhouse or simply, ground?

That will largely dictate the routine you are to adopt. Terrariums are ideal for small, compact varieties that need high humidity. Growing plants in a terrarium means less frequent watering, but the addition of grow lights. Yet again, larger, messy, and free-flowering varieties make the best displays in hanging containers. That’s why you’ll have to find a spot that receives light shade. In greenhouses, you will have to install fans to minimize temperatures.

In all cases, you will have to adjust the environmental conditions in a way that suits your plants.

Begonia plant in vase terrarium

Light, Temperature, and Humidity

These three variables are closely connected. Ideal temperatures are in the range of 13 to 29 degrees C during the day, that is, lower during nighttime.

The majority of begonias require a relative humidity between 40 and 60 percent. To achieve this level, you can either group the plants or buy a humidifier. Don’t mist the leaves.

Do begonias like sun or shade?

Light is the trickiest part here because begonias need different amounts of light. Too little light makes the foliage paler, whereas too much sun causes it to develop red or purple pigmentation on the leaves. It is safer to lean on the shadier side and increase the light intensity if you notice any signs.

For terrarium-grown varieties, keep grow lights on for 14 hours a day.

Begonia plant light requirements

Soil Requirements

For standard cultivation, choose a shallow pot in a slightly acidic, well-aerated medium. You can also add sand, grit, bark, perlite, and moss.

The soil for greenhouse cultivation should be comprised of sphagnum peat, grit, bark, and limestone. Also, add some slow-release fertilizer.

On the other hand, the soil mix for terrarium cultivation should consist of charcoal pieces to line the base,  sterilized and boiled sphagnum moss, combined with perlite. Avoid watering immediately after planting.

Transplant when the roots fill the containers.

Do Begonias Need a Lot Of Water and Fertilizer?

To determine how much water your begonias need, take into account the climate, growing medium, as well as the pot itself.

Generally speaking, water begonias grown in pots when the top surface becomes dry. Allow the excess water to drain out from the bottom. Use warm water, never cold.

Keep in mind that terrarium begonias don’t require frequent watering. Approximately once a month or even less than that is enough. Always use distilled water or rainwater. Check the moisture with your hands and if you overwater, remove the cover and let it dry.

On the other hand, be careful with rhizomatous, rex, and tuberous begonias in the state of dormancy. Make sure not to overwater. Symptoms of overwatering include leaf drop, root rot, and wilted stems.

Feed regularly during the active development with a 20-10-20 mix of N-P-K. Soil-less mixes need more frequent fertilizing.

Don't overwater begonias

Propagation

Taking cuttings is the most widely used method to propagate begonias, along with seed propagation.

Stem cuttings: Remove the tip of a stem with three nodes with a knife, eliminate lower leaves, and place the cut end in the rooting mix. Always choose a non-flowering stem.

Leaf cuttings: Rhizomatous begonias are best propagated from leaf cuttings. Remove a young leaf with a leaf stalk, cut into smaller leaves if necessary, and place in a rooting medium so that the leaf blade is not covered.

The rooting medium for stem or leaf cuttings can be peat and sand, or moss, whereas cane-like and shrub-like begonias can also root in water. The addition of rooting hormone is optional.

While you are waiting for a plantlet to emerge, enclose them in a bag or glassy bowl, provide good light, also grow lights.

Seed propagation: Sprinkle the seeds carefully over a sterilized (covered with a foil and baked in the oven at 20 degrees for an hour) and previously moistened mix of sand and peat in a tray or a shallow pot. Use heat mats to provide additional warmth.

Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases are the most problematic if you have a large greenhouse collection.  To prevent these, maintain good hygienic conditions, avoid overhead watering and use sterilized soil and pots.

If you notice any symptoms such as white powder, wax, stunted growth, honeydew, mucus, yellow rings or mottling, even moldy patches on the leaves, stems, or buds, that means that something is wrong with your plant.

It can be mealybugs, mites, nematodes, snails, slugs, weevils, or diseases like mildew or bacterial leaf spot. Immediately quarantine the plant to protect the plant, identify the cause and start the treatment.

Snails like begonias

Frequently Asked Questions

Conclusion

The genus Begoniaceae abounds in plants that have awe-inspiring patterned foliage and brightly colored flowers. Begonia plants are also suitable for environmental conditions that every plant enthusiast can recreate in their home. 

Whatever variety you go for – amazing and bold rex begonias, angel-wing varieties like the Polka Dot begonias, or tuberous ones that make ideal bedding plants, you are bound to enjoy both their appearance and fragrance.

Which one of these beautiful Begonia types is your favorite one? I can’t wait to hear from you, so share your thoughts with me in the comments section below!