The Begonia is one of the best known and most numerous plants in the Begonia family. This genus unites about 1,000 species of various plants that in natural conditions can be found in the mountains, and they prefer to grow at an altitude of 3-4 thousand meters above sea level, and they are also common in the humid tropical forests and subtropics. It is also found in the mountains of India, the Malay Archipelago, the Himalayas, Sri Lanka and western Africa. Begonias are thought to have originated in Africa and then made their way to America and Asia. Today more than 1/3 of all species of the plant grow in Africa.
In the 17th century a monk, Charles Plumier, found begonia and made a description of it. This happened during an expedition to the Antilles, the purpose of which was to collect plants. He discovered 6 different species of such a plant, which he named after M. Begonne, who was the governor of the island. Haiti, with whom the friar was a friend.
Today this plant is very popular and is cultivated both indoors and in the garden. The following will tell you about the indoor begonia and how: how to plant it correctly, how to take care of it, how to propagate it and a lot of other interesting and useful information.
Special features of begonia
Besides the approximately 1 thousand species existing in nature, there are still about 2 thousand hybrids of this plant. So there is no average description of this plant. In addition, such plants in different classifications are divided into ornamental-flowering and ornamental-leaved, deciduous and evergreen, perennials and annuals, climbing and tall, rhizomatous and tuberous.
Florists grow a huge variety of begonias at home, and they all need to be cared for in home cultivation in about the same way.
BEGONIA BLOOM - CULTIVATION
How to care for begonia at home
How to care for begonia
Begonia grown at home needs permanence. As such, it needs to choose 1 specific place in the room where the flower will stand all the time. This place should be well lit, but the plant should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Decorative flowering species especially light-loving, and therefore it is recommended to choose a window sill to the west or east orientation.
The plant feels best at 18 degrees in the air at any time of year. However, in summer it can also withstand a slight increase in temperature. As a tropical plant it needs high levels of humidity. However, it is not recommended to wet the leaves with a sprayer because brown spots will form on the surface. To increase the humidity (especially in winter, when the air is dried by heating devices), you need to turn the tray upside down and insert it into a larger tray, then a container with a flower is placed on top of it.
Around the inserted tray it is necessary to pour in expanded clay and soak it, while it is necessary to ensure that it is constantly moistened.
Begonia needs space, in connection with this when choosing a place for it on the windowsill, where other plants already stand, it is necessary to take this fact into account. Also this flower needs systematic ventilation, and it must be protected from draughts and excessively high or low air temperatures. If these conditions are not met, the flower will begin to wither and shed its leaves and flowers.
Pot and soil selection
Before planting the begonia, choose the most suitable pot for it.
For such a plant, it is recommended to choose a small size pot, which should be made of ceramic. So, the diameter of the container should exceed the size of the flower's root system by only 3-4 centimeters. If it is planted in a larger pot, the plant may suffer from overwatering of the soil, and also in this case it will flower somewhat later. Ready-made soil mixture for planting can be bought in a special store, but if you want, you can prepare it with your own hands. For this purpose, combine leaf soil, sand, top peat, sod soil (can be replaced by mulch) taken in a 2:1:1:1 ratio.
The acidity of the soil should be about pH 5.5 to 6.5.
The container intended for planting begonias is 1/3 filled with drainage material. Then a two to three centimeter layer of charcoal should be placed on it to prevent the development of rot.
After that, the flower itself should be placed in the container with the root ball and all the empty spaces should be filled with soil mixture. When the plant is planted, it should be watered. Planting begonia is recommended in the spring time from the second half of March, after the level of light and duration of daylight become suitable for its growth. If the plant is a tuber, it needs to be germinated beforehand. To do this, the tubers are placed on top of the substrate in a box (do not deepen), and removed to a normally lit, cool (16 to 18 degrees) place with a humidity level of 60 to 70 percent.
How to water correctly
If the begonia is grown in room conditions, it simply must be watered properly. Such a plant loves moisture, but it does not need frequent watering. It is much more important that the humidity is high enough, otherwise the tips of the leaf plates will start to dry out. However, in summer in the heat the begonia should be watered more abundantly, but stagnant liquid in the root system should be avoided. Watering should be done with water at room temperature, which should stand for at least 24 hours.
Watering is recommended only when the top layer of soil dries to a depth of one and a half centimeters. In winter, water less frequently and moderately and if you have tuberous species, do not water them at all at this time of year.
For the begonia to grow and develop properly, it must be fed in time. Fertilization of ornamental-flowering species should be started after the budding period. Fertilizing spend 1 time in 2 weeks and use a liquid complex fertilizer for flowering plants.
When the formation of ovaries, the plant will need fertilizer potassium and phosphorus (Wilt, Bud, Blossom). Only ever apply nitrogen-containing fertiliser to ornamental-foliage species, otherwise ornamental-foliage species may not bloom at all.
How to transplant
For the plant to develop properly, it should be systematically transplanted. Repotting is done at the beginning of the spring season, before the growing season begins. That the plant needs replanting is indicated by its roots beginning to show from the drainage holes.
The plant should be pulled out of the container and gently remove any remaining substrate from it. Then the roots should be dipped in a solution of manganese potassium, the color of which should be light pink. After that, the roots should be gently washed, removing the remains of soil, using well-drained water. Then the root system is inspected and any areas that have rottenness are removed. After the root system dries out, the plant should be planted in a larger container.
How to do this correctly is described above. After transplanting, the begonia should be placed in its usual place. The first time it will need frequent watering.
Young specimens are easy enough to transplant, and they normally respond to this procedure. However, mature specimens are more difficult to transplant because they have many brittle leaf plates.
Because of this, after the flower turns 3 years old, it is recommended to separate it into several parts.
Begonia in winter
The evergreen species have a weak dormancy period. Tuberous species need quite a long dormancy period. The peculiarities of care for begonia in winter, when the dormancy period is observed, directly depend on the species. Shrubby and decorative species at this time are placed in a place where the air temperature should be from 15 to 22 degrees and have high humidity (for this you can hang humidified rags on hot heating pipes or buy a humidifier).
From the middle of the autumn period the tuberous species of this plant begins preparing for the dormant period. Leaf plates of them wither and die off, so water such flowers need less. After the complete death of the above-ground part of the container with the plants should be moved to a darkened cool (10 to 15 degrees) place for the whole winter. It happens that the tuberous plants "do not want" to prepare for the dormancy period, in this case they must be forced to do it, otherwise the next year you will not see a lush flowering. So, watering must be drastically reduced and the part of the plant that is above the ground must be cut back.
Begonia.TIPS FOR GROWING BEGONIES. Begonias shrubbed and royal
Methods for propagating the indoor begonia
How to propagate
This plant can be propagated by seed or vegetative (stems, leaf cuttings, division of a shrub or tuber or rhizome). The vegetative method is the easiest and quickest.
Growing begonia from seed
Growing begonia from seed is easy and quick enough.
Sow them in the last days of February or first of March. Spread the small seeds on the surface of the substrate (do not embed them). Then the container should be moved to a well-lit, warm place, first covering it with foil or glass. Water the crops through the tray or with a sprayer. After the first seedlings appear, remove the cover for good.
Dropping is made after the plants formed 3 or 4 true leaf plates. After 8 weeks the young plants can be transplanted into individual pots. Such begonias can bloom in their first year, but often need additional light to do so.
The division of the rhizome is used for the propagation of deciduous species. This procedure is done in the springtime.
To do this, take the flower out of the soil and with a very sharp knife divide the rootstock into several parts, each division must have roots and at least 1 shoot or bud. The places of the cuts should be covered with crushed charcoal. The dividers should then be planted in individual containers.
The tuber of an adult plant can also be divided into several parts. Afterwards, wait until the cuttings have dried slightly and powder them with crushed charcoal.
The cuttings are then planted in individual containers.
Propagation of begonia by cuttings
The easiest of all vegetative propagation methods is cuttings. Only cuttings with 3 or 4 leaf blades should be taken from the bush. The cuttings should be treated with charcoal to prevent rotting. Then the cuttings should be planted in a mixture of leaf and peat soil and sand (1:1:1).
The container is placed in a well-lit warm place with no access to direct sunlight. Cuttings require moderate watering, so, moisten the soil only after the soil dries to a depth of 1 to 2 centimeters. Cuttings can be rooted by dipping them into a glass of water. The roots will grow back after about 4 weeks.
Reproducing begonias by leaf
Since most species have fairly large and dense leaf plates, you can propagate them by leaf cuttings.
Both the whole leaf plate and a part of it will do for propagation. If begonias are propagated as a whole leaf, you need to cut the main veins on its underside. Then, the leaf plate is laid with the cut side on the surface of moistened sand, which should be preheated. After that, it is fixed in this position. Watering is done through a tray.
After about 8 weeks the roots will emerge from the places which have been cut, and after a while the young plants will start to grow. The hardened young begonias should be removed and planted in a mixture of leafy earth, sand and peat (1:1:1).
Diseases and pests
Aphids, red spider mites and nematodes can settle on indoor begonias. Mites and aphids suck the sap out of the plant, causing it to lose its decorativeness and stunt its growth and development. Carbophos or Aktellik are used to control aphids, and 2 or 3 treatments with a 1-1.
5 week interval are necessary. And to control mites, such means as Derris, Decis or other insectoacaricides are used. If infested with nematodes, the plant will have to be discarded because it is impossible to get rid of them. Nematode infestation can be recognized by discolored leaf platings and by the encrustation of the root system.
Begonias are susceptible to diseases such as: grey rot, black root rot, Botrytis, true or false powdery mildew.
Fondazole, Quadris, Bordeaux liquid, Skor, or other agents of similar action will help to cure the plant. Also this plant is susceptible to infection and incurable viral or bacterial diseases, such as bacterial wilt, cucumber mosaic, tomato stain. The infected specimen should be destroyed.
It sometimes happens that the leaf plates begin to wither. The reason for this is that the air in the room is too warm and dry, and the watering is too sparse.
If this happens, water the begonia and place it in a cool place with the pot upside down on an upturned tray (more on this above).
Begonia turning yellow
It happens that rings or yellow spots form on the surface of the leaf plates - a sign of infestation with tomato blotch or cucumber mosaic. Infested specimens should be killed. If the leaves turn yellow and droop, it is because the plant is too cold and the soil has too much water. Wait until the substrate in the pot has dried out and then move it to a warm place.
Main types and varieties of begonias with photos
There is no single classification of begonias at the moment. However, in the special literature you can meet conditional versions of the division of species of this plant, for example: into ornamental-flowering and ornamental-leaved, also divided by the type of plant part that is under the ground, into tuberous, rhizomatous and with surface root system, there are those who divide these species into the following groups - bush-like, ornamental-leaved and tuberous. But nowadays, however, experts more and more often resort to the following classification:
- Bush-like with erect bamboo-like stems;
- with flexible and slender descending or creeping stems;
- with rhizomatous rather thick overlying or declining stems;
- species that are the ancestors of flowering hybrid begonias.
But for home floriculture the following classification is more convenient:
- decorative-flowering houseplants;
- decorative-flowering houseplants;
- decorative-flowering potted plants.
The following will be the names of the species of such plant which are most popular in home floriculture, with their descriptions as well as the common varieties.
Leaf (leafy) begonia
Begonia royal (Begonia rex)
Native to such flower is Eastern India. It is considered one of the most beautiful. Breeders have used this species to create many ornamental and deciduous varieties as well as hybrid forms. It has a thickened rhizome and its showy, large bare or slightly pubescent leaves are 20 centimeters wide and 30 centimeters long. Their heart-shaped shape is asymmetrical and they have irregularly serrated or wavy edges.
The leaves may be brown-bronze, crimson-brushed or violet-red in color; sometimes spots of silver or violet-red blotches may be seen on their surface. There are some hybrid forms with leaf plates practically black with crimson speckles on their surface. During flowering, pink florets appear with little ornamental value.
- CartagenaThe oval leaf plates, which are wrapped in a shell, are colored in dark green. The central part of the leafplate is dark brown, but as it ages it changes its color to plum.
The green part of the leafplate has spots of silver coloration that have a light pink glow.
- Silver GreenhartSilver leafplates are oblique-cordate in shape and also have a green and emerald border with small dots of silver coloration.
- Chocolith Cream - The leaf plate is spirally twisted and its central part is colored in a rich plum color. The rest of the leafplate is silvery with a pinkish cast.
- Ivning Glow - The leafplates are medium-sized, and their central part is colored a deep crimson.
Brownish-green veins diverge from the center along part of the crimson-colored leaf. The leaves have a crimson edge.
- Hallelujah - has large leaves that spiral at the petioles. They are colored light purple with a silvery cast. The central part and edge of the leaves are cherry colored, and there is a rather broad band of deep green between them, on the surface of which is a great number of silvery small spots.
Besides those varieties mentioned above, florists also grow others. For example, the following varieties and hybrid forms are very popular: Pearl de Paris, Regal Minuet, Silver Corkscrew, Black Fang, Novembre Frost, Lillian, Red Tango, Titica, Benitochiba, Dewdrop, Charm, etc.
Begonia tiger (Begonia bowerae), or Bower's begonia, or maple-leaf begonia
Native to this plant is Mexico. The bush is not tall (not more than 25 centimeters), has creeping shoots and leaf plates of pale green color with brown or black spots on the edge. On the underside of the leaves is pubescence.
Unremarkable pale pink flowers are part of loose descending inflorescences. This species is not often seen in the wild. Thanks to specialists a great number of very beautiful varieties have come into existence.
The most popular are:
- Tiger - creeping shoots may be no more than 10 centimeters high. There is a bronze pattern on the surface of the velvety leaves, with a band of brown coloration running along the veins.
There are spots on the surface of the light red petioles.
- Cleopatra - There are light colored hairs on the surface of these leaflets, and they are able to change their color when the light changes. The underside of the leaves is maroon or red in color.
This begonia is a semi-shrub and is native to the tropical forests of Brazil. In the home, the plant can grow up to 100 centimeters in height.
It has bamboo-like, erect and glabrous shoots. The oblong ovate-shaped leaf plates have a serrated edge. They can be up to 20 centimeters long and 7 centimeters wide. On the surface of the dark green front side of the leaves are small spots of silver color, while the underside is pale green. The peduncles are coral in color.
They bear florets that are part of the tassel-shaped inflorescences. Popular varieties:
- Lucerne - The large green leaf plates have a serrated edge, their front side has spots of silver color and the underside has a red color.
- President Carnot - The shield-like leaf plates are dissected at the base and their edge is weakly serrated. The leaflets are up to 30 centimeters long and 15 centimeters wide. They are colored green and have whitish spots on the surface.
- Gustav in Knaak - The sprawling bush can reach a height of about 30 centimeters. The green leaf plates have a red border. The carmine florets are about 3 centimeters in diameter and are part of the inflorescences.
- Carmen - The medium sized bush has brown leaf plates with anthocyanin.
There are also many rose-colored florets.
- Ambra - bush does not exceed 15 centimeters in height, the leaf plates are brown, and the diameter of the pink florets is no more than 3 centimeters.
- Bicola - bush reaches 14 centimeters in height. The leaves are green and the white flowers have a light pink border.
- Orania - A small bush that is about 16 centimeters high.
The green leaf plates have a red border. The florets are reddish-orange.
- Schwabenland - The tall, abundantly flowering bush has many small, deep red florets.
- Renaissance - The tall bush has macerated florets, the red petals of which are corrugated.
- Louise - the florets are colored pale cream and have a light pink cast.
- Piccora - on a low bush there are deep pink flowers that are macerated.
- Rose - The mahogany flowers are a dark pink color.
- Gale - The spreading bush has hanging long (about 30 centimeters) stems with pointed green leaf plates with a serrated edge at the top. The light pink semi-maxillary flowers can reach 3 centimeters in diameter.
- Christie - The sprawling bush consists of rather fragile hanging stems that do not exceed 40 centimeters in length. The diameter of the terry flowers is 4 centimeters and they are colored white.
- Roxana - The small bush consists of hanging stems that do not exceed 40 centimeters in length. The four-centimeter-diameter, macerated florets are colored orange.
- Kati - The sprawling bush consists of comparatively brittle stems, which are about 30 centimeters long. The yellow semi-maxillary flowers are 3.5 centimeters in diameter.
- Arlequin - The sprawling bush is up to 25 centimeters tall, the leaf plates are green, and the large (12 centimeter diameter), swollen flowers are colored yellow and have red edges.
- Gold Dress - The semi-sprawling bush is about 25 centimeters tall. The leaf plates are pale green. The dense-braided rose flowers are rather large (diameter 20 centimeters) and yellow in color.
- Duck Red - The spreading shrub reaches no more than 16 centimeters in height.
The leaves are a deep green color, and the peony-shaped, swollen florets are colored dark red. The flowers are about 10 centimeters in diameter, and the petals are quite wide.
- Camelia flora - A small bush is about 25 centimeters high. The leaf plates are green. The large (about 12 centimeters in diameter) camellia flowers are colored pink, and their petals, which have whitish edges, are tortuously arranged.
- Crispa marginata - bush is about 15 centimeters high. The folded leaf plates are green in color and have thin purple ropes. The large (about 12 centimeters in diameter) wide-oval flowers are colored white and have a rich red border. The side petals are wavy and strongly corrugated.
- Ami Jean Bard - The bush is no more than 12 centimeters tall.
The green leaflets are small in size. The inflorescence consists of 5 small (about 3 centimeters in diameter) macroflowers that have an orange color.
- Dayana Vignard - The small bush is about 20 centimeters high. The leaves are pale green. The large (about 20 centimeters in diameter) dense-bodied flowers are white and have wavy folded petals.
- Marmorata - Height of a semi-branched bush about 20 centimeters. The mahre large (diameter about 12 centimeters) flowers are colored scarlet and have whitish streaks on their surface.
- Fairflamme - bush height does not exceed 20 centimeters. The leaf plates are green and the veins are crimson. The small (about 3 centimeters in diameter) semi-flowers have a pinkish-orange color.
Begonia carolineifolia (Begonia carolineifolia)
This begonia is among the oldest domestic flowers. Its birthplace is Mexico. The creeping shoot is about 4 centimeters thick. Large palmately dissected leaf plates are placed on petioles of greenish-yellow color. Leaves do not exceed 35 centimeters in length and have distinct veining.
The pinkish-green florets are part of loose inflorescences shaped like a brush. Flowering begins in February.
In addition to these species the following ones are popular with florists: striped, metallic, Bovera, yellow, shiny, Mason's, borscht-leaved, white-pointed, red-leaved, Limming's, imperial, etc.
The compact, bush-like shrub does not exceed 60 centimeters in height. When young, the stems are erect, but over time they become ampelike or semi-ampelike.
The rounded leaf blades are slightly pubescent along the edge and are up to 6 centimeters long. They can be dark or pale green in color, or with a reddish cast. The small (about 25 mm in diameter) florets are terry-shaped or plain and may be pink, white or red. They are part of inflorescences, which are short-lived. The opened flowers enjoy their beauty for a short time and soon fade, but they are quickly replaced by new ones.
With proper care, good light and regular feeding, this begonia can bloom during the winter as well. Popular varieties:
And more florists prefer to grow such varieties of this species as: Bella, Rosanova, Linda, Otello, Teicher, Leila, Lucifer, Scarlett, Albert Martin, Ball Red, Kate Teicher, etc.
Begonia elatior (Begonia x elatior)
This hybrid form is considered the most spectacular and has the most abundant blooms. Among home begonias, this plant is a favorite.
The height of the bush does not exceed 40 centimeters. Shoots are thick, fleshy, the shape of the alternately arranged leaf plates is heart-shaped. Leaflets are about 8 centimeters long, with a ragged edge. The front side of the leaflets is shiny and deep green, while the underside is matte and light green. The florets are part of the inflorescences and have long peduncles.
Also popular among florists are varieties such as: Kyoto, Goldfinger, Azotus, Berlin, Charlach, Cleo, Annebel, Bellona, etc.
Begonia ampelina (Begonia x tuberhybrida pendula)
Often this species is grown as a garden flower or decorated on balconies and patios. This kind of flower has drooping stems that descend in cascades and have a large number of flowers on them. To grow such plants are used baskets, cachepots or pots. Flowers can be thickly flushed, terry, semi-flushed and simple, and they are colored in red, yellow, white, pink, orange, and various combinations of these color shades.
The florets can be large, medium or small. Popular varieties: