Begonia flower is a versatile plant that can thrive well almost anywhere. It remains attractive whenever you put it, whether in the garden flowerbed or inside containers and hanging baskets. The plant itself comes in thousands of varieties, so you have plenty of option to grow one.
Let’s find all you need to know about begonia—including its meaning and growing requirements—by reading the rest of this article.
Native to Central and South America, begonia (Begonia boliviensis) is included on the list of flowers for indoor and outdoor growing. Although most varieties of begonia are popular houseplants, this flower stays wonderful in the outdoor flowerbed.
Begonia is one of a few flowery plants that are valued for both the blooms and the leaves. Its glossy foliages and colorful flowers complement each other perfectly. The flowers of begonia vary in terms of structure and shade. The petals can be single or layered. Additionally, some flower varieties have solid colors, while some others have different shades around the edges.
Types and Varieties of Begonia
Begonia is classified into three main types: tuberous, fibrous, and rhizomatous. Begonia types are further categorized into thousands of varieties—some even say that there are more than 1,800 species and cultivars around the world. Let’s take a look at some popular varieties and their main characteristics.
Also known as Semperflorens, wax begonia is one of the varieties which belong to the fibrous types. It is an annual plant which thrives well in bright-shading location. This cultivar has shiny leaves and red begonia blooms.
This cultivar is another species of begonia that works well as a houseplant. Its bright pink flowers usually bloom in winter and early spring. Reiger begonia can be planted in containers or hanging baskets.
Rex begonia is one of the most popular houseplants which like to thrive under bright, indirect light. This cultivar earns the title of “the showboat of the begonia world” from The American Begonia Society due to its slightly large colorful petals.
Orange Rubra begonia
Orange Rubra is a hybrid variety which belongs to the classification of cane-stem begonia. Similar to common varieties in this group, Orange Rubra has segmented stems, attractive foliage, as well as colorful flowers that usually bloom in spring and summer.
Begonia Meaning and Symbolism
Begonia symbolizes many things, but it specifically represents harmony and good connection between people. You can present a bouquet of begonia to friends or family members as a symbol of gratitude. In addition, the bouquet can be used to offer peace or an apology.
Moreover, begonia meaning may differ depending on the color of its petals. Red and pink begonia is usually used to represent love and romance. Yellow and gold are associated with wealth and happiness. Some rarer colors such as blue and purple begonia are known for being a symbol of passion and creativity.
Growing Requirements for Begonia
To grow and bloom better, begonia flower should be placed under certain conditions. Here are some requirements that you need to fulfill when growing begonia.
Well-draining soil is the primary need of begonia. Acidic soil with plenty of organic matters adds more benefits for the plant’s health. A good planting medium for indoor growing should consist of 2/3 peat moss and 1/3 potting mixture. As for outdoor growing, you can add coffee ground to the planting area to increase its acidic state.
As a houseplant, begonia prefers bright, indirect light. An east-facing window is the perfect location for the plant as it can receive early ray of sun in the morning. The plant still needs indirect light when it is grown outdoor. For this reason, you need to place it in a location with a partial shade.
Begonia needs to live in a location with high humidity. Humidifier plays an important role of keeping the plant happy indoor. If you don’t have one, an alternative way to maintain the humidity around the plant is by putting its pot or container on a tray filled with water and pebbles. Growing begonia in a terrarium is also a great option.
How to Care for Begonia
The basic rules in begonia care include watering and fertilizing. When it comes to caring for begonia, there are some important notes you need to know regarding the procedure.
Begonia doesn’t need regular watering. In fact, as suggested by many experts, you should only water the plant when it shows some signs of dryness, i.e. drooping leaves or arid soil. That way, you can avoid overwatering that may damage the entire plant.
When the time comes to water the plant, make sure you water it below the leaves. Such procedure is necessary since it can prevent the plant from having fungal disease.
Fertilizing begonia can feed the leaves and the flowers at the same time. Once a month, a balanced dose of liquid fertilizer is enough to care for indoor begonia.
Propagating begonias is usually done in spring. To propagate the plant, you need to remove any flowers and slice along the stem. Then, dip the tips of the stems in rooting powder before you place them in a new planting medium.
Some Problems with Begonia
Naturally, begonia is resistant to pests. However, you still need to be aware of some diseases caused by fungi and bacteria, especially powdery mildew. Fungal diseases among begonia can be prevented by maintaining the humidity, airflow, and drainage around the planting area.
Indoor begonia is particularly susceptible to mealy bugs. When they leave white traces on the foliages, you can clean them with a little amount of rubbing alcohol. Meanwhile, to protect outdoor-grown begonia from snails or slugs, you can put egg shells around the plant base.
That concludes some basic information about begonia flower as well as a few tips to grow and care for it. As mentioned earlier, one of the best qualities of begonia is its versatility. Once you’ve succeeded in growing this flower, you will be rewarded with showy, attractive blooms that brighten up your garden or interior.