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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, Rex

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.

 

Rex begonia (photo courtesy of Proven Winners)
Rex begonia (photo courtesy of Proven Winners)

Click to Enlarge

Begonia, Rex

With their bold, multicolored leaves, these are probably the most striking of all foliage begonias. While many named varieties are grown by collectors, easier-to-find unnamed seedling plants are almost as decorative.

The leaves grow from a rhizome; see “Rhizomatous begonias” for care. In addition, rex begonias need high humidity (at least 50 percent) to do their best. Provide it by misting with a spray bottle, placing pots on wet pebbles in a tray, or keeping plants in a greenhouse. When rhizome grows too far past edge of pot for your taste, either repot into a slightly larger container or cut off rhizome end inside pot edge. Old rhizome will branch and grow new leaves. Make rhizome cuttings of the piece you remove and root in mixture of half peat moss, half perlite.

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