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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, Hiemalis

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.

 

Begonia, Hiemalis

May be sold as Rieger begonias or Elatior hybrids. These profuse bloomers are outstanding outdoor or indoor plants. They form bushy, compact mounds to 1–1 1/2 ft. tall and 1 ft. wide. Flowers appear over a long season that includes winter. The 2-in. blooms come in white, yellow, orange, many shades of pink, and red; available in single and double forms. Frinzie series has white or apricot blooms with fringed, red-edged petals. Plants in the Solenia series are vigorous growers with large, full flowers.

Give indoor plants plenty of light in winter. In summer, keep out of hot noonday sun. Water thoroughly when top inch of soil is dry, but don’t sprinkle the leaves. Plants may get rangy, an indication of approaching dormancy; if they do, cut stems to 4-in. stubs.

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