Rhizomatous & Rex Begonias
Begonia is a popular ornamental plant that belongs to the family Begoniaceae. It is renowned for its striking foliage and colorful blooms. Begonias are native to tropical and subtropical regions, and they are widely grown as houseplants and in gardens across the world. In this post, we will explore the origin, habitat, and popular cultivars of begonia.
Begonias are believed to have originated in the rainforests of South and Central America. The first begonias were discovered in Brazil in the 17th century by Michel Begon, a French botanist after whom the plant is named. The plant was later introduced to Europe by botanists and became popular in Victorian-era gardens.
Begonias are typically found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, including Africa, Asia, and the Americas. They thrive in warm, humid conditions and can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, riverbanks, and rocky outcrops. The plant's ability to adapt to different environments has resulted in a wide range of cultivars with varying characteristics.
-Begonias are available in a variety of cultivars, each with unique foliage and flowers. Some of the popular cultivars include:
-Rex Begonia - This cultivar is known for its large, decorative leaves that come in a variety of colors, including silver, purple, and green. They are commonly grown as houseplants.
Habit: Medium to low growing succulent-like herbaceous perennial growing from sem-erect to creeping stems that produce variously smooth to hairy colourful leaves and pink or white flowers.
Temperature: Plants grow best between 15 to 25ᐤ C and temperatures below 4ᐤ C may result in the death of the plant. Avoid placing plants in windy or drafty locations which can lead to less attractive plants.
Light Exposure: Plants need shade or low indirect light. Exposure to sun will cause leaf scorch and bleaching of leaf colour.
Watering: Begonias like a moist growing medium but not saturated; water only when the top 3 cm of soil feels dry to the touch. Always check the soil moisture first but as a rule of thumb watering once a week in the rainy season, once every two or three weeks in the cold dry season and once or twice a week in the hot dry season.
Fertilising: Give plants a well balanced fertiliser twice a month during the hot dry season and rainy season but not during the cold dry season when plants are resting (semi-dormant).
Pruning/Repotting: Remove dead or dry leaves and old spent flower stalks as needed. Repot plants every three or four years once the roots have filled the pot.
Pests/Diseases: Aphids, mealy bugs, thrips scale, spider mite and whitefly may attack plants; while fungal pathogens can cause stem or root rot (usually on overwatered plants) and the leaves can be affected by powdery mildew.