An Introduction To Begonia – Begonia Types, Rooting, FAQs & More

What type of plants are you familiar with? With a variety of plants available in our surroundings, it is not surprising to get overwhelmed. But it is also not uncommon to get attracted to a variety of colorful and beautiful plants. Plants are lovely creations. Aside from their eye-catching appearances, plants have a variety of mental, emotional, and physical benefits. Each plant has its beauty, story, and requirements. Among the plants with very interesting petals and flowers are Begonia plants. Continue reading this article and get to know more about the different Begonia types, features, and care tips.

beautiful begonia with pink and yellow leaves
Photo by Marjonhorn via Pixabay

What is a Begonia Plant?

Begonia is a genus of perennial succulents belonging to the Begoniaceae family. Begonia’s typical habitats are the tropics and subtropics. It is a kind of plant with many beautiful colorful leaves and flowers. Have you wondered what a Begonia looks like? Among the prominent features of Begonias are their usually four-colored tepals (a combination of petals and sepals). Typically, these tepals are grouped into two and paired with different sizes. Another obvious feature of this plant is that it has three wings at the ovaries of the female flowers. Begonia has flowers in pink, red, yellow, or white. More than 10,000 Begonia species are recorded, cultivated, and have hybrid origins. The most common varieties are fibrous-rooted, rhizomatous, or tuberous-rooted. Due to their beautiful colors, Begonias are a popular choice for a garden and even as an indoor pot plant.

white begonia
Photo by No-longer-here via Pixabay

Begonia Types

  • Fibrous-rooted – We can divide this Begonia type into wax or beddings. A specific group of Begonia called Semperflorens-Cultorum is mostly used as summer bedding plants. This group is described as wax begonias, cane begonias, dragon-wing (angel-wing) begonias, and other begonia types that have standard root balls with thin roots. The stem of this type of Begonia is the cane stem type, characterized as Begonias with tall stems, hairy, and feltlike leaves. The leaves and flowers are also relatively small.
  • Tuberous-rooted – This Begonia type includes the Tuberthybrida group. This type of Begonia grows outdoors with large and colorful flowers. They usually bloom from early summer to the first frost and winter. Tuberous-rooted Begonias prefer the filtered light under high trees or up to 4 hours of morning sunlight. Usually, we can propagate this Begonia type through cuttings.
  • Rhizomatous – The Begonia genus is a large group. There are 700 already-known species and hundreds of cultivars under this genus. This is composed of hybrids and species with large and sometimes colorful leaves. These leaves grow from thick rhizomes that grow along soil surfaces. Typically, you’ll see this Begonia type with white or pink flower clusters. The flowers bloom in late winter and spring. Rhizomatous Begonias range from small to immense with 3-foot leaves.
rhizomatous begonia
Rhizomatous Begonia
Photo by ignartonosbg via Pixabay

Popular Begonia Varieties

Almost every begonia species has outstanding beauty, but the following are the most popular and outstanding in your assessment.

Angel Wing Begonia (Begonia coccinea)

It is a South American native, a perennial plant with small flowers whose color ranges from bright red to light pink. The blooms are small and waxy, and they proceed directly from the stem. It has large nodes characteristic of canes – the family to which it belongs.

Its wings give it its common name because they resemble angel wings.

The outer edge of the leaves is red, and sometimes, their underside is also red; their surface is glossy. These factors make the leaves very attractive; they are the plant’s main attraction. Position this plant so that both the upper and lower sides of the leaves are visible for the best effects.

Begonia Maculata (Polka Dot Begonia)

It is also known as the Polka Dot Begonia due to the silvery polka dots covering its angel wings. The polka dots appear to be painted deep into the plant’s green leaves, thus giving the plant a unique appearance.

It is a relatively easy plant to parent, but you need to keep it away from direct sunlight. Also, the plant is toxic to pets, especially cats and dogs, and keeps it out of their reach. It needs most water between spring and fall when blooming. However, you shouldn’t overwater it as that can lead to root rot. Only water when the soil is dry to the touch.

Rex Begonia (King Begonia)

This Begonia grows from a rhizome. It is a cultivar that comes in a wide range of colors, and the leaves also have different textures and shapes. Some have heart shapes, others like ivy, and others appear like seashell swirls. The colors of its leaves are usually burgundy, green, or pink. Some of these plants have graying silver or metallic leaves.

Give the plant extra feed between spring and fall when the plant is flowering. You do this by giving it high potassium fertilizer every two weeks. You should dilute the fertilizer to half-strength. To increase the space, you will need to report the plant every two years.

Toxicity

If you are a pet parent, you might be wondering “is Begonia toxic to cats or dogs”? Most of Begonia’s toxic parts are underground. Although, it is better not to leave your pets unattended with your plant. Begonia’s toxicity also increases when your cats/ dogs accidentally eat it. Parents and guardians must also be cautious about leaving their children unattended with a Begonia Plant.

How to Plant Begonia?

Generally, all Begonias thrive in dappled or shaded environments. Take note to avoid placing your plant facing south as direct sunlight can burn the foliage. If you grow your Begonias in a greenhouse, providing shades to your plants is advisable. It is also ideal for placing your Begonias in growing pots and hanging baskets. We listed down some tips on how to plant Begonia properly.

  • It is advisable to plant your Begonias in March or April
  • You may get Begonia tubers online or at your local garden center
  • Plant the tubers hollow side up, into individual pots, or in a seed tray
  • Ideally, you will have to plant the seed 2.5cm deep
  • Keep the pot in a warm spot of at least 18 degrees Celsius
  • Once you notice leaves growing, you may now transfer them to a bigger pot
  • Make sure that you are using the proper soil mixture, compost, peat-free, or multi-purpose compost
planted begonia
Photo by dewievans86 via Pixabay

How To Propagate Begonia?

Ever wonder about how to root Begonia cuttings? Propagating Begonia is very easy. You can do this through the stem, leaf cuttings, or seeds. Take note that you might need to know how to root a Begonia, prior to propagating using the cuttings method.

How to Root a Begonia Cuttings in Water

  • Choose a healthy Begonia mother plant that has grown tall or leggy
  • Take cuttings around 4 inches long
  • Cut off the stem just below the spot where a leaf attaches to the stem
  • Use clean garden scissors to take off the lower leave, leaving only a couple at the top of the cutting
  • Don’t forget to prune off any flowers, and this would allow your plant to focus on developing roots instead of forming seeds
  • Place the cutting in freshwater, with the cut-end down
  • You may expect roots to develop after a month or less
  • Wait until the roots grow up to a couple of inches long prior to planting on a pot
propagating begonia plant
Propagating Begonia Madame O’Reilly @Reddit

How to Propagate Begonia Through Seeds

  • Fill a pot or tray with a fine potting mixture.
  • Make sure to moisten it well and allow the excess water to flow freely through the bottom part of your pot.
  • Level the soil to avoid any dips or depressions.
  • Place the seeds evenly on the surface of your mixture.
  • Firm them lightly with a block of wood to make sure that they are in contact with the mixture, and make sure that soil doesn’t cover.
  • Spray the surface with lukewarm water.
  • Place the seed container in a clear plastic bag or in a mini greenhouse to provide high humidity for them to germinate properly.
  • You may also move your container to a spot about 6 to 12 inches under a fluorescent light. Warm light is suitable for your seeds to germinate.
  • In around 14 days, you should expect to see very tiny green leaves appear.
  • Continue giving good lighting and watering your soil when it starts to dry out.
  • When the seedlings have 2 to 3 layers already, you may remove them and transfer them to individual pots.

What Do Begonia Seeds Look Like?

Nowadays, Begonia seeds are already pelleted. This makes them easier to handle and space equally. However, pelleted seeds are more costly. Depending on the Begonia types, it could be the color green or reddish-brown. The seeds also have intricate ridges and pits on the outside, but these are only visible under a microscope.

begonia seeds
Begonia seeds @Reddit

Final Words

All in all, we hope that you were able to get to know more about the different Begonia types. Any plant lover will surely be captivated by Begonia’s beautiful, unique, and colorful petals and flowers. This article aims to open your mind to different plants you can add to your garden or indoor plants. A variety of Begonia types are available for you, and we hope that you will be able to appreciate them more after reading through this article. We hope to see a Begonia plant as your new plant baby.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posted in Guides & Care Tips