Begonia (Polka Dot) - Care tips
The Begonia is a genus in the Begoniaceae family and she is very popular! We think the Begonia is so popular because of her many different, beautiful and unique forms, the most famous being the Angel Wing/Polka Dot Begonia. There is a Begonia for everyone!
Information about Begonias
With an impressive number of over 1600 species and almost as many hybrids, the Begonia Family is certainly a diverse one. Begonias are native to tropical and subtropical regions, with most species in (South) America. The Begonia family is now so widely distributed around the world that they have adapted to all kinds of different climates. However, before buying a (Rare) Begonia, it is important to do a little research into the conditions of their natural habitat.
Many people will be familiar with the outdoor/garden Begonias. They bloom with enormous flowers and add colour to gardens and balconies well into autumn. But most Begonia species and hybrids are not cultivated or known for their impressive flowers, but rather for their extraordinary leaves, which is what we think this plant is all about! These are the Begonias that are grown indoors and these are the ones we will focus on here.
Begonias can be categorized into four types: Fibrous, Tuberous, Canes and Rhizomatour.
Fibrous and Tuberous: the fibrous begonias, also known as wax begonias, and the tuberous varieties are often grown in garden beds. They can also have small flowers and are generally selected for their flowers rather than their foliage. The Begonia Semperflorens or Begonia Dragon Wing is a good example.
Cane Begonias: popularly known as Angel Wing begonias or Polka dot begonias, for example Begonia Maculata, Begonia Tamaya and the Begonia Corallina. They have long, almost bamboo-like stems and slender drop- and wing-shaped leaves that point downwards. They may have clusters of small white, pink or red flowers, but the real stars are the leaves, which come in various colours and are often speckled with silver.
Rhizomatous: the rhizomatous Begonias are so called because they grow from a stem called a rhizome. They have the most striking leaves in colour, shape and texture. Many have fuzzy, variegated leaves in shades ranging from pale pink to deep purple and from yellow to dark green. The popular Rex Begonias are technically a subgroup of the rhizomatous category, but they are often grouped separately due to their difficult growth. Rex means king in Latin, an appropriate name (we think) for this group with the largest, most extravagant leaves!
Begonia Plant Care Tips
Begonias are a little picky about light and water. They are not too fragile either, which makes them a good intermediate plant. We will be pleased to advise you on what you need to know about the care of Begonias.
Light and placement for Begonias
Most Begonias prefer indirect light. The Rex Begonias do prefer a more shady spot, but the Cane Begonias really need bright, indirect sunlight. If the leaves appear scorched, then you can be sure that your Begonia is getting too much sun and you should move it to a less sunny spot. Plant Begonias are susceptible to root rot, so we recommend using a soilless potting mix or an airy potting mix with a layer of pebbles in the bottom.
The biggest challenge in growing Begonias is finding the right balance in watering. Ideally, the soil should always be slightly moist, but not too wet because of their sensitive roots. Test the soil with your fingertip before watering. The top 3 centimetres should feel dry before you water your Begonia. Water the soil directly and keep the leaves dry!
Water the plant with fertilizer every two weeks in spring and summer. This will encourage bigger leaves and blooms. Small leaf size and slow growth is her way of telling you that it is not getting enough fertilizer.
We understand that you are so fond of your Begonia that you would like to make more new plants. Propagating a Begonia is fun, possible and not that difficult! For most Begonias, you can simply take a cutting and leave it in a jar of water until roots appear. The roots should be about 10 centimetres long before you can transfer them to a pot.
Most common pests on Begonias
The main pests and diseases that can affect your Begonias are aphids and powdery mildew. Mildew can often be avoided by relatively harmless preventive treatments with sulphurous products and an aphid infestation can be tackled with neem oil treatments. If you want to know more about the right treatments, our PLNTS Doctor will help you! On this page you will find all the tips and tricks you need when your Begonia shows signs of trouble.
Are Begonias toxic for pets or children?
Begonias are, unfortunately, toxic. The most poisonous parts of the plant are the underground tubers and roots, but ingesting too many of the leaves or other parts of the plant is also not good for humans and animals.
Buy your new Begonia at PLNTS.com
At PLNTS.com you can buy Begonias online, like the Begonia Maculata and the Begonia Masoniana.
Whether you like your Begonia big from the start or prefer to grow them from tiny BabyPLNTS into full-grown PLNTS - we’ve got you covered!