Discover the eight types of Begonias you can grow in your garden and how to care for them correctly.
If you want to fill your outdoor space with vivid colours and friendly pollinators, planting Begonias in your garden is a great idea. Begonias are lovely plants thanks to their rich foliage and beautiful flowers that come in various colours and styles. They are also really easy to care for.
Most gardeners grow Begonias as houseplants or in shaded summer beds. However, these versatile plants can also make beautiful outdoor companions if you provide them with the right growing conditions.
Keep reading our article to find out more about Begonias, the different types that you can grow outdoors, and some essential tips on caring for these amazing flowers.
Fun Facts About Begonias
- Begonias belong to the family of Begoniaceae, and they are native to South and Central America, Africa, and South Asia.
- There are over 1,800 species of Begonias around the world. These species belong to three different groups of the flower, based on the root structure: tuberous Begonias, fibrous-rooted Begonias, and foliage Begonias.
- As surprising as it may be, Begonias are actually related to melons, cucumbers, and pumpkins.
- These flowers grow best in tropical and subtropical climates, which is one of the reasons why they are typically grown as houseplants or in summer beds.
- Depending on the variety of the plant, Begonia can grow from 8 to 24 inches (20-60 cm) in height.
- The most common and popular types of Begonias come in colours like red, white, pink, yellow, orange, and scarlet.
- Begonias produce some of the tiniest seeds that you’ve ever seen. Their seeds almost resemble dust. That’s how small they are!
- One ounce of seed produced by Begonias is enough to produce 3 million seedlings.
- Tuberous and wax Begonias are edible, and they have a taste that resembles citrus. However, when consumed in large quantities, they can lead to poisoning as they contain oxalic acid, which is a toxic compound that belongs to the family of carboxylic acids.
- Begonias are not safe for pets. They can be poisonous to your furry friends because their roots contain soluble calcium oxalates. This substance can lead to low levels of available blood calcium, causing a sudden metabolic imbalance in your pet’s body.
- In the past, Begonias have been used to polish swords precisely because the plants contain oxalic acid, which is used to accelerate the polishing process as it has the property to attack a surface and leave it polished.
- When offered as a gift, Begonias can symbolize a message along the lines of “Be cautious.” They can be perceived as a sign of warning about a future new situation. However, they can also represent gratitude and respect.
- Begonias have plenty of health benefits as they contain many healthy ingredients such as carbolic acid, alkaloids, flavonoids, which are all similar to the benefits of vitamin C, magnesium, and calcium.
- Begonias are a natural remedy for plenty of medical conditions such as dysentery, coughs, asthma, flu, digestive problems, bronchitis, low levels of calcium, rheumatoid problems, and many others.
- Non-toxic begonias can be consumed as tea. All you have to do is to boil them in water and then drink the Begonia-infused water.
General Tips on How to Grow Begonias
In general, Begonias are very low-maintenance plants that don’t require a lot of attention to thrive. However, they come in an array of species, and the growing needs can differ from one species to another.
As a family, Begonias do have some particular needs to grow happy and healthy and fill your outdoor space with vivid colours. Here are the general tips on how to grow and care for Begonias.
Most species of Begonias love to be grown in a mild temperature range. They prefer temperatures between 59-78°F (15- 26°C). However, keep in mind that tuberous species of Begonias need cooler temperatures to thrive.
Generally, most varieties aren’t winter-hardy, and they can’t survive frost, but they don’t like extreme heat or dryness either.
In general, Begonias prefer not to be exposed to direct midday sun as they can get sunburnt. In fact, some species actually like to be kept in spots where they get partial to full shade. Wax species of Begonias typically require more sunlight for a couple of hours every day to thrive.
Check the lighting requirements of the Begonia variety you are planting before deciding on a spot.
As they are prone to fungal diseases, most varieties of Begonias prefer well-draining soil that allows excess water to pass through. Heavy clay soil can lead to root rot, killing the plants. To improve drainage, you can use sand, coco coir, or perlite.
There are a few things to know when planting Begonias, including:
- Plant once the risk of frost no longer exists.
- Plant Begonias about 7-10 inches away from each other to provide enough space for growth.
- Keep the soil moist after planting the flowers using a spray with warm water.
Begonias use their fleshy stems and leaves to hold water for long periods. For this reason, most varieties of Begonias don’t require constant watering. In fact, watering your Begonias too often can lead to root rot or turn the plants brown.
To correctly water your Begonias, use the “dry and soak” watering method. Allow the first few inches of the soil to dry out between waterings. Avoid watering the foliage of the Begonias. Otherwise, by wetting the foliage, you may encourage powdery mildew.
When growing Begonias as houseplants, it is recommended to use a general-purpose slow-release fertilizer when planting them. You should also provide the Begonias with feeding every two, three weeks during the growing period. Use a liquid fertilizer.
When growing Begonias outdoors, it is best to incorporate the general-purpose fertilizer into the soil when planting the flowers.
8 Begonia Types To Grow In Your Garden
Begonias are some of the most common plants so you’ve probably encountered them in many places, from public parks and green areas to gardens and containers. There are many good reasons why they are so popular, including the fact that they are low-maintenance and their blooms have very bright lovely colours.
If you’ve decided to fill your outdoor space with Begonias, choose these 8 types as they are the best ones for garden planting:
1. Charm Begonia
Part of the wax Begonia family that feature fibrous roots, the Charm Begonia is an excellent choice for outdoor planting. It is a variegated cultivar, and it is truly unique for the psychedelic vibes given by the design of its leaves. This type of Begonia features vivid yellow spots on its bright green foliage. The flowers have a soft pink colour that resembles the colour of pink lemonade.
Charm Begonia is relatively short, growing 6 to 12 inches (15-30) in height, which makes it more suited for containers that you can beautifully arrange in your garden.
Variegated Begonias such as the Charm Begonia need to be grown in partial shade in order to maintain their interesting foliage design.
2. Solenia Dusty Rose Begonia
Solenia Dusty Rose Begonia is a herbaceous evergreen perennial that grows up to 12 inches (30 cm) in height.
Featuring lovely rose-pink blooms, Solenia Begonias are a joy to have in your garden. As the name suggests, its flowers resemble roses.
Compared to other types of Begonias, this one needs a little more care, but it is definitely worth it to have in your garden. It usually looks best without pruning, so avoid pruning with this type. Provide your Solenia Begonia with more sunlight than you provide other types of Begonias. You can replant the tubers of the Solenia Begonias in the following spring.
3. Richmond Begonia
Also part of the wax Begonia species, Richmond Begonia is a shrubby plant that can grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall. This Begonia cultivar features unique and attractive foliage: glossy oval-shaped leaves that are dark green with red undersides. The blooms of Richmond Begonias are pink, and they are long-lasting.
This type of Begonia requires a lot of sunlight to grow and reach its mature size. You can also help your Richmond Begonia with some feeding, particularly fertilizers rich in phosphorous, for good root development.
4. Nonstop Mocca Yellow Begonia
This type of Begonia is absolutely stunning, thanks to the blooms’ bright yellow lemon-like colour. The flowers produced by this Begonia also resemble roses. The foliage of the Nonstop Mocca Yellow Begonia is also unique and breathtaking, having a deep black, purple colour which creates a fantastic contrast with the plants’ vivid yellow flowers.
This type of Begonia grows up to 12 inches in height. If you live in an area with scorching summers, this Begonia cultivar will do great in your garden. Nonstop Mocca Yellow Begonia is heat tolerant and needs about 6 hours of full sun daily to thrive.
As the name suggests, Nonstop Mocca Yellow Begonia will flower nonstop during the spring and summer months.
5. Begonia Million Kisses Elegance
A Begonia cultivar with a striking yet elegant appearance is the Million Kisses Elegance. It features masses of blushed pink, white blooms that grow on the top of bright red short stems. Begonia Million Kisses Elegance blooms continuously from late spring to fall.
This Begonia thrives in places where it gets both partial shade in the afternoon and sunlight in the morning. When kept in full shade, this species of Begonia produces fewer but larger blooms.
Although it has a fascinating appearance, unlike other species, Begonia Million Kisses Elegance is really easy to care for.
6. Begonia Apricot Shades
As the name suggests, the colour of this species’ blooms resembles the beautiful colour of apricots.
Begonia Apricot Shades is one of the largest species of Begonias, producing masses of blooms that almost hide the foliage completely. The blooms appear in spring and last all summer long. In July, this Begonia species will be at its peak, filling your garden with apricot and golden-coloured blooms.
To replant the tubers of Begonia Apricot Shades the following spring, make sure you keep them frost-free over the winter. Once you replant them, the entire cycle of growing and blooming will happen again.
These Begonia cultivars are also low maintenance. The only essential things these Begonias need are full sun or partial shade and protection from frost.
7. Begonia Super Cascade
If you want to have a “cascade” of beautifully coloured blooms in your outdoor space, look no further than the Begonia Super Cascade type.
This species of Begonias produces cascades of double and semi-double blooms that are coloured in various shades of orange, yellow, pink, red, and white. The vividly coloured flowers look amazing in contrast with the bright green foliage. The blooms appear in June and last until September.
Super Cascade Begonias are typically used as bedding plants, but they are also gardeners’ favourite for mass planting and window boxes.
Unlike other species of Begonias, Begonia Super Cascade has very weather-resistant blooms, and it is a low maintenance plant.
8. Begonia Rex
Known for their striking and dramatic foliage, Rex Begonias can make an excellent focal point in your outdoor space.
This type of Begonia features large leaves that are decorated with spirals and veins and splashes of vivid colours like silver, purple, pink, and burgundy. The blooms produced by Rex Begonias are pink but not very visible or attractive because they are very small, which is why many gardeners remove them to keep the unique foliage looking at its best.
Rex Begonias thrive in partial shade to full shade and can require a bit more care when grown outdoors.
Begonias are beautiful ornamental flowers to have in your outdoor space. Thanks to their bright colours and their unique-looking foliage, Begonias make fantastic focal points in any garden.
Most Begonia varieties don’t require a lot of care to thrive and fill your outdoor space with life. As long as you provide them with their basic growing requirements, your Begonias will repay you by decorating your garden with their beautiful blooms.
What type of Begonias are you growing? Share your experience in the comments below!