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When the temperatures turn cold, consider growing begonias as houseplants this year.
There are more than 1,000 species worldwide of begonias (Begonia spp.), which bloom at different times of the year, depending on type.
A common bushy type is the wax begonia. These are often grown as annuals in summer, and can be brought into the house in fall. Wax begonias – such as this ‘Dragon Wing Red’ photographed in my house – grow best in a bright spot, where they receive some direct sunlight. Grow these in an east window, where the plant will receive morning sun.
As you can see, wax begonias have delicate flowers that come in a wide range of colors, which will cheer you up when the outside world looks a bit dreary.
Even without flowers, begonias are attractive houseplants. Available in variety of leaf sizes, shapes and textures, begonias are often grown for their interesting foliage.
Consider ‘Little Darling,’ which is a Rex-type of begonia. Featuring an interesting pattern on its foliage, this variety is one of the smallest of the Rex begonias and has little pink flowers.
Grow Rex begonias in bright indirect light, and keep away from direct sunlight. They can’t handle the same amount of light as wax begonias.
Don’t you love how ‘Little Darling’ has such attractive colors, even on the underside of the leaf?
Another one of my favorites is ‘Hatachoia’ – which is an angel-winged begonia with striped foliage. This interesting plant is a cane-type begonia, which are easy to grow like wax begonias. These begonias thrive in bright indirect light, and can handle more light than Rex begonias – but not as much as wax begonias.
‘Hatachoia’ also has interesting multi-color foliage, as you can see. In the above photo, I’ve turned over the leaf so you can see the red on the underside. When this begonia blooms, it has tiny pink flowers.
To keep your begonias thriving, keep the soil evenly moist, and avoid wetting leaves to prevent fungal diseases. Allow begonias to dry only slightly between watering. Some experts recommend you let your begonias sit on a shallow tray filled with pebbles and water. That way the plant gets humidity, but doesn’t sit in water.
Fertilize begonias with a balanced liquid fertilizer at half strength biweekly. Pinch the tips of branches to make plants bushier, but stop pinching them when they’re about to flower. Fortunately, these pretty houseplants rarely have a pest problem.