A Begonia plant, part of the Begoniaceae family, is often considered to be an outdoor plant, but they also make excellent indoor plants that can bloom the entire year. Begonia plants originally came from the tropical, moist regions of southern Asia, Africa, South America, and Central America which is why they require such high humidity to grow well. There are over 1500 varieties of begonia plants that fall into the categories of caned, rhizomatous, or tuberous. Each of these varieties have different care requirements but they all prefer warm temperatures, barely moist soil, bright, indirect light but no direct sun.
Begonia Plant Description
The leaves of some begonia plants, such as the Begonia Rex or the Iron Cross Begonia, have extraordinarily colorful foliage. Other varieties, such as the Rieger Begonia have broad green leaves and beautiful flowers. There are some such as the Angel Wing Begonia, that have both lovely flowers and outstanding leaves.
Rhizomatous Begonias have large, often colorful leaves that grow out of rhizomes, thick, fuzzy horizontal, stem-like growths that produces stems, roots and stores food for the plant.
A Cane Begonia is named for the tough, bamboo-like plant stems. The angel wing begonia is an example of a cane begonia.
B. Angel Wing B. Dancing Girl B. Looking Glass B. Irian Java
A Tuberous Begonia develops from a from a tuber which is an enlarged stem. Like a rhizome, a tuber also stores food for the plant. A tuberous begonia produces beautiful flowers and sometimes blooms for up to three or four months.
Quick Begonia Plant Care Tips
Medium to bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light., direct sun in the morning only
Allow soil to partially dry out before watering, keep water off the leaves, and reduce water in winter
Provide high humidity
Brighter the indirect light, the more flowers a begonia plant produces
A begonia plant is a slightly poisonous plant and toxic to dogs and cats. Read more about common houseplants that can be dangerous in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.
Massive leaf droppage on a Begonia Plant is usually caused by sudden changes in the environment or in the care of the plant; for example, temperatures that go from cold to hot, soil goes from very dry to very wet, light changes from very bright to very dark.
The white marks on the leaves of the Begonia Plant usually mean the plant is getting burned by too much sunlight. Some Begonia Plants can gradually be introduced to direct sun, but most Begonias prefer bright indirect light.
Begonias, like Peace Lilies, tend to bloom more often in bright light and when under a little stress. Move your Begonia Plant to brighter location, cut back on your fertilizer, and allow the soil dry out a bit more. This should encourage your Begonia Plant to produce more flowers.
The grey powder on the leaves of your Begonia Plant are an indication of the plant disease powdery mildew. Remove any diseased leaves on your Begonia Plant and any leaves that have dropped onto the soil, allow the soil to dry out more, keep the leaves dry, provide good air circulation, and spray your Begonia Plant with a commercial Fungicide.