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Begonia boliviensis (tuberous begonia) (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)
Begonia boliviensis (tuberous begonia) (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)

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Zone
Zones 14-24, H1, H2
Partial Sun
Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Begonia, Cane-type

Begoniaceae
Annuals, Perennials, Shrubs, Flowers

BEGONIA

Grown for textured, multicolored foliage, saucer-size flowers, or lacy clusters of smaller blooms.

Grow as perennials in Zones 14–24, H1, and H2, except as noted. Can also be grown as annuals anywhere or dug and stored. Outdoors, most grow best in pots in the ground or in hanging baskets in filtered shade, with rich, porous, fast-draining soil, consistent but light feeding, and enough water to keep soil moist but not soggy. Most thrive as indoor plants, in a greenhouse, or under a lath. Some prefer terrarium conditions. Almost all require at least moderate humidity. In areas with hot, dry summers or indoors in winter, set pots in pebble-lined saucers or trays kept filled with water to below pot level.

Most are easily propagated from leaf, stem, or rhizome cuttings. They also grow from dust-fine seed. Of the many hundreds of species and varieties, relatively few are sold widely.

 

‘Dragon Wing’ angel-wing begonia (photo courtesy of Proven Winners)
‘Dragon Wing’ angel-wing begonia (photo courtesy of Proven Winners)

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Begonia, Cane-type

They get their name from their stems, which grow tall and woody and have prominent bamboolike joints. The group includes so-called angel-wing begonias. These erect plants have multiple stems, some reaching 5 ft. or more under the right conditions. Most bloom profusely from early spring through autumn, bearing large clusters of white, pink, orange, or red flowers. Some are everblooming. Among the many available varieties are ‘Bubbles’, with spotted foliage and pink, apple blossom-scented flowers; ‘Honeysuckle’, with plain green foliage and fragrant pink flowers; ‘Irene Nuss’, with dark red-and-green leaves and huge drooping clusters of coral pink flowers; and ‘Orange Rubra’, with medium green leaves, sometimes spotted with silver, and bright orange flowers.

When roots fill 4-in. pots, plants can be placed in large containers or in the ground. Position plants where they will get plenty of light, some sun, and no wind. They may require staking. Protect from heavy frosts. Old canes that have grown barren should be pruned back to two leaf joints in early spring to stimulate new growth.

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