Begonia



Begonia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Begoniaceae, comprising about 1500 species. The other two genera in the family Begoniaceae are Hillebrandia (contains one species) and Symbegonia. Begonia is the generic name and also the common name used for all the species of the genus. Begonia was named after Michel Bégon (16381710), a former governor of the French colony of Haiti and a passionate plant collector, by Charles Plumier, a French patron of botany. Begonias are evergreen or deciduous shrubs and small, tree-like perennials, and annuals that are grown for their colorful flowers and/or ornamental leaves. The commonly cultivated Begonias can be divided into the following groupings, each with its own cultivation requirements.

Cane-stemmed begonias (Angelwings) are evergreen, woody perennials. They produce typically erect, cane-like stems, bearing regularly spaced, swollen nodes and flowers that are in large, pendulous panicles. New growth develops at the base of the plant, and by pinching out growing tips encourage branching. These plants grow under cover in good light but not direct sun (poor lighting reduces quantity of flowers), and in well-drained and soil-based mix. Staking is needed for tall plants. Propagation is by seed or tip cuttings in spring.

Rex-cultorum (Rex) begonias are mostly evergreen, rhizomatous perennials of variable habit which are derived from hybrids between B. rex and other related species. They are cultivated for their brilliantly colored, oval to lance-shaped leaves, 8-30 cm long, that are sometimes spirally twisted. These begonias grow well in under cover in cool climates, 40-75% relative humidity,partial shade and in well-drained soil. Water sparingly and do not let the water to remain on the leaves; otherwise the leaves will become susceptible to botrytis. Propagation is by seed, leaf-cuttings or division of rhizomes in spring.

Rhizomatous begonias are evergreen, rhizomatous perennials grown for their beautiful foliage and small, single flowers. These begonias produce smooth, crested or puckered green or brown leaves, 8-30 cm long, which are often variegated with silver and are sometimes spirally twisted. Creeping cultivars are useful for hanging baskets and are more freely branched than erect cultivars. These planrs grow well in under cover in cool climates, prefer 40-75% relative humidity, in partial shade and in well-drained soil. Water sparingly and do not allow water to remain on leaves to prevent botrytis. Propagation is by seed, leaf-cuttings or division of rhizomes in spring.

Semperflorens begonias are evergree, bushy perennial derived from B. cucullata var. hookeri, B. schmidtiana, and other species. They are often grown as bedding annuals. Semperflorens begonias have stems that are soft, succulent, and branched freely. They generally bear rounded green, bronzed, or variegated, highly shiny leaves of about 5 cm long, with flowers that are single or double. Pinching out growing tips will encourage branching to produce a bushy plant. These begonias require sun or partial shade and well-drained soil. Propagation is by seed or stem cuttings in spring.

Shrub-like begonias are evergreen, multi-stemmed, bushy perennials, usually freely branched with flexible, erect or pendent stems that are often hairy. The plants have hairy or glabrous leaves, 15 cm across and 10-30 cm long. The single flowers are white, cream or pink color. These begonias prefer 55% relative humidity, and grow well under cover in good light and moist but well-drained soil. Propagation is by seed or stem cuttings in spring.

Tuberous begonias (including the Tuberhybrida, Multiflora, and Pendula begonias) are mostly upight, bushy, tuberous, winter-dormant begonias. They are cultivated for their flowers and foliage. The stems are sparsely branched, succulent, and vary from pendent to erect, 75 cm high and across. The leaves are oval, pointed, glossy, and bright to dark green. Most are doubled flowered and summer flowering. Tubers are dormant in winter, starts into growth in spring for midsummer to early autumn flowering period. plants may require staking. Propagation is by seed, stem, basal cuttings, ot by division of tubers.
Multiflora cultivars, 30 cm high and across, are more bushy, and bears 8 cm long leaves and single, semi-double and double flowers. Each flower is 4-5 cm across, blooming in summer and can tolerate full-sun.
Pendula begonias have long, thin, and trailing stems, with leaves that are 6-8 cm long. Flowers are produced in masses of single and double, in summer. These plants are outdoors, and grow in dappled shade and moist conditions. They prefer 65-70% relative humidity, under cover and cool shade.

Related Page

We have written an earlier page on Begonia right here.

Begonia grandisBegonia grandis
Author: KENPEI (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

Begonia grandisBegonia grandis
Author: KENPEI (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

Begonia masoniana (also known as 'Iron Cross')Begonia masoniana (also known as 'Iron Cross')
Author: Kor!An (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

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Author: Forest & Kim Starr (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

Begonia odorata (Schiefblatt)Begonia odorata (Schiefblatt)
Author: Tubifex (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

Begonia  tuberhybridaBegonia tuberhybrida
Author: Jerzy Opioła (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

Begonia pendulaBegonia pendula
Author: Asio otus (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

Begonia rexBegonia rex
Author: Mininain (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic)

Begonia diadema 'Silver Star'Begonia diadema 'Silver Star'
Author: Kor!An (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

Begonia sizemoreaeBegonia sizemoreae
Author: Mike Peel (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic)

Begonia 'Muddy Waters'Begonia 'Muddy Waters'
Author: Stickpen (public domain)

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Author: Stickpen (public domain)

Unmature seeds of Begonia luxuriansUnmature seeds of Begonia luxurians
Author: Stickpen (public domain)

BegoniaBegonia
Author: LeSch (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

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