Growing Begonia semperflorens is easy once you know the important things to consider. It is a versatile flower that does not need much time and attention and is a good plant to start growing even for beginners.
A little bit of tender loving care would be enough for this plant to bloom and give never-ending blossoms. In this article, you will know some of the essential points to remember to successfully grow begonia semperflorens.
- What Is Begonia Semperflorens?
- Begonia Semperflorens Care
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Begonia Semperflorens?
Begonia semperflorens is the general term used to call a wide variety of flowering plants usually called wax begonias. It belongs to the large Begoniaceae family, with approximately 1500 different species from which 10,000 hybrids and cultivars are regularly grown by home-based and commercial gardeners.
Begonia Semperflorens Care
The much-needed begonia semperflorens care is not as daunting a task as others may seem to think. It is an annual plant in areas that has wintertime. With proper care and precaution, wax begonia plants could survive frost during winter, allowing the plant to live longer.
– Water Requirements
You need to remember that, yes, these ever-flowering annuals and/or perennials don’t need constant watering. Many plant enthusiasts recommend that its topsoil should be a little dry to the touch before watering. Thus, it is necessary to have good drainage of soil when planted in a garden and a well-draining potting mix when planted in containers.
Do not overwater, and don’t let the soil become soggy. Otherwise, different problems may occur. Nonetheless, it is key to remember also to just water at the base of the plant, not on its leaves, to avoid wax begonia leaf diseases.
– Light Requirements
The light requirements of wax begonias are easy to remember. These beautiful houseplants are sun-loving blossoms but not heat-resistant. Depending on its variety and location, let it enjoy the full sun.
However, when it becomes too hot, especially in tropical locations, then some shade would be beneficial. The bronze and brown-leafed wax begonia, like Begonia Rex, can tolerate more sunlight compared to the green-leafed ones, like Tuberous Begonia, which prefers the filtered shade of the sun.
When placed indoors the east and west location is ideal for these vibrant plants to flourish. One good sign that it is not getting enough sunlight as it should is when it doesn’t give flowers as much. Give it a little more sun, and flowers will bloom soon.
First and foremost, you must determine a suitable location, whether indoors or outdoors. As a sun-loving plant, begonias must be placed in well-lit areas. Morning and afternoon sunlight is ideal, but not the mid-day sun. Additionally, note that there is right humidity in the surrounding areas.
– Soil Requirements
Whether you plant your semperflorens begonias in the ground or in containers, a good soil mixture is a must. A good soil mixture that drains well is healthy and rich, promotes aeration in the roots, and moisture-retaining is what the wax begonia plant wants for it to grow well.
Wax begonias also need a slightly acidic soil pH. Keep in mind that placing mulch and peat around the plant would take care of the soil’s acidity.
– Temperature Requirements
All semperflorens begonias and other varieties of the family Begoniaceae could not tolerate extreme temperatures. These plants prefer a not-too-hot and definitely not-too-cold environment either. Although they are not fussy, temperatures between 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit would be ideal for this tantalizing plant.
If you live in a cold and breezy area, the best month for this beautiful plant is whenever there is no more frost coming on the air or on the ground. The months of April, May, and June would be great, as your begonia could enjoy a full bloom before the next winter season sets in.
– Humidity Requirements
Maintain the humidity at the 40 to 50 percent level to encourage the blooming of your begonias. Alternatively, your indoor pots of this flowering delight could enjoy the moisture of a tray with wet pebbles nearby. Also, make sure that there is good ventilation among your plants to prevent mold or fungus from growing.
– Fertilizer Requirements
It is very important to know that your begonia blossoms are not heavy feeders. Plant growers agree that just using composts and mulch would do wonders to your wax begonias. Nonetheless, you can feed it with a small amount of fertilizer.
A weekly or bi-weekly feeding could be done with a quarter-strength or half-strength general plant fertilizer. Other growers use the 10-10-10 or 8-8-8-8 combination when feeding, especially when the plant is in the growing and blooming stage. Do not overdo the feeding to avoid damage to the roots and the plant as well.
Pruning your wax begonia at least once a month could help maintain the shape and height that you prefer, making it more pleasing to the eyes. When planted outdoors, begonia semperflorens height could reach up to 1 to 1.5 feet. It tends to be leggy, especially the Angel Wings variety, so occasional trimming could help a lot.
You can prune it by gently pinching a new stem that grows wayward from the branch to encourage new growth in the stem.
Alternatively, with the use of a clean and sanitized knife or pruning shears, you can thin out the bushier part of the plant to maintain its form for the plant to conserve energy from growing and instead continue flowering.
Lastly, manually clean it. Remove dead flowers and stems after their blooming stage. Do not wait for it to self-clean, as waiting may encourage the plant to produce seeds instead of new growth and flowers.
There are several ways to successfully grow and propagate wax begonias. Gardeners, experts, and novices alike, often say those stem cuttings, seed propagation, and leaf propagation are the most common and easiest methods to propagate it.
Whatever your goal in propagating these beautiful flowering plants, you could always try the following methods. In doing so, ensure that the tools and equipment used are sanitized and free from contaminants.
– Through Stem Cuttings
Select the stem that has leaves but not flowers. Take three to five inches of cuttings from a stem, and plant the stem cuttings directly in a well-prepared, moist, and rich soil to ensure that the plant will live and grow. While it is a great idea to let the stem cuttings stand in water and grow roots, it is not always successful because of root rot.
Stem cutting propagation is best done during springtime. Additionally, stem cuttings benefit varieties that do not perfectly reproduce from seeds, such as the hybrid ones.
– Through Seeds
The seeds of begonia semperflorens are very tiny, so it is hard to see them individually using the naked eyes. However, the minuscule size is not a hindrance to propagating it successfully.
On a plastic tray with a rich mixture of soil, peat, sand, and a little layer of sphagnum moss, spread the dust-like seeds of the wax begonia and then cover them.
Ensure that the tray has good drainage so as not to flood the seeds with moisture. Additionally, you may keep in mind to make certain that the seeds will not be contaminated, the materials used must be sterilized.
You can leave the tray under the shade until leaves sprout. Afterward, it can be placed under the sun. When two mature leaves emerge, the saplings are now ready for transfer.
Even newbie gardeners could successfully grow wax begonias. The most preferred method would be propagation from stem or leaf cuttings and seeds. Just remember to use sterile equipment at all times.
– Through Leaf Cuttings
Another easy method to propagate additional stocks of wax begonias is through leaf cuttings. To do this, cut a mature and healthy leaf from the mother plant, and cut off its stalk.
Make sure to examine the underside of the leaf to confirm that the veins are plump and undamaged. Next, tatter the leaves by making cuts into them. About half an inch of cuts on the leaf and veins would be enough. It is from these cuts that baby begonias will sprout.
On a healthy soil mixture, place the cut begonia leaves. Ensure that the underside of the leaf and its veins touch the soil and are not disturbed by the wind or animals. Pin the leaves to the soil using push pins or t-pins.
However, avoid pinning the veins as this may cause the leaf to rot. You can also place stones on top of the leaves to weigh them down to the soil, thus preventing them from being moved.
Place your plant where there is good sunlight but not too much. Also, maintain the moisture of the soil and the humidity in the environment to hasten the growth of your new baby begonias, which could take as long as one and a half months or more. Just be patient, as your effort will be rewarded sooner than you think.
As baby leaves of the new begonia plants show, wait until they are three to four inches long and until two or more leaves have emerged. Then, it is ready for transfer either on a container or in garden beds. Now, you have lots of new wax begonia plants for planting as there would be several babies from the cuts made on a single leaf.
Despite its reputation of being a not-so-fussy plant, gardeners still look out for snags that may cause difficulty in growing this flowering foliage. When too much watering happens or there is poor drainage, your wax begonia may suffer root rot, which often leads to fungal diseases. They are vulnerable to fungus. Fungi like powdery mildew, botrytis, Pythium, and gray mold are the most common.
Thus, as you start growing your wax begonia, well-draining soil bedding is necessary. Also, observe correct spacing in planting your wax begonias to promote good circulation of air. Good air circulation has been proven to lessen the occurrence of diseases and pests among plants.
Avoiding overhead watering can also help reduce the chance of developing diseases, as it prevents the leaves from getting wet where pathogens could hide and wreak future havoc to the plants.
Wax begonias are susceptible to pests and insects, too. Thrips, mealybugs, and aphids are the common pests that suck the juices from the stems and leaves of the plant, leaving it with a distorted and unhealthy appearance. Meanwhile, caterpillars feed on the leaves, leaving them completely bare.
A lot of natural and organic pesticides can be used to eliminate these problems. Whenever needed, the use of fungicide on the affected areas could yield a positive outcome. It is important to keep in mind that, neem oil, in this case, is usually recommended as a pesticide among plants.
Frequently Asked Questions
– Is Wax Begonia an Annual or Perennial Plant?
It really depends on your location. For areas that are sunny and don’t experience winter or frost, wax begonias are grown as perennials. However, in areas that have winter, then it is traditionally an annual plant. You can always overwinter your favorite varieties for them to survive the cold season.
– How Do I Overwinter Begonia Semperflorens?
Extra care and attention must be given to your lovely wax begonia during winter, for this sturdy plant cannot tolerate frost, especially in the northern areas where winter is harsh.
As soon as autumn is over, varieties like Tuberous begonia must be dug-up for storage. Make sure that the begonia clumps are free of dirt and diseases. Keep your storage area cool, clean, and dry before placing or arranging the plants.
Begonias in containers could just be placed indoors in a corner that is dry, dark, and cool. Do not water it, and just let it go dry. Plants are prone to stress when they are overwintered.
Thus, it is better to prepare them beforehand. This is also known as acclimatization. Once inside, place it near a window with full light, slowly reducing the light exposure until it is stored in a dark and dry space. Once the sun shines again, you can introduce light and water gradually, until such time that the plant could adapt.
– What Are the Different Varieties of Begonia Semperflorens?
With beautiful flowers in loose clusters that come in different colors whether, in singles or doubles atop leaf axils of brown or red colors that bloom unceasingly (as long as there’s no frost), it’s no wonder that the wax begonia has been bred to have a number of varieties.
Knowing its different types and varieties could help you in growing beautiful begonias. For the fibrous types, characterized by tiny-haired roots that spread out as they grow, the most common ones are the Angel Wings or cane begonias, the Whopper Begonias, and Wax Begonias.
Meanwhile, for Rex Begonias, a very popular variety, Begonia Metallica belongs to the rhizomatous types. These begonias have attractive foliage, and placing it in a shady place would encourage its flowers to bloom.
The tuberous types are known for their big and colorful flowers that bloom from mid-summer until fall. These include the Bolivian Begonias and Solenia Dusty Rose Begonia, among other begonia semperflorens varieties.
– What Are the Best Ways To Use Begonia Semperflorens?
Why propagate these lovely flowering plants? Because you can plant them wherever you want, and they surely have a lot of uses.
On the ground, the wax begonia is good for edging. To emphasize the beauty of your landscaping, why not use begonia semperflorens at the edges? Planting all together in the same color and variety would be as awesome as planting different variants alternately.
You can also simply use it as bedding. With its gorgeous flowers, you could never go wrong with solely planting this blossom in your garden. Last but not least is planting it in a pot for your patio or as your indoor houseplants or in some containers for your windows. Name it, and you’ll never be disappointed.
– What Is the Common Name of Begonia Semperflorens?
Where did this gorgeous plant come from? Begonias originated from the lush tropical rainforests of Brazil. The name begonia is in honor of the man who first propagated and collected these lovely plants, a French Canadian governor and amateur botanist named Michel Bégon (1638–1710).
Meanwhile, the word semperflorens means “ever flowering or ever-blooming,” and true to its name, with proper care and nutrition, this plant will give you endless flowers all year round.
This plant is commonly called wax begonia or wax-leaf begonia because of its shiny and waxy leaves. Meanwhile, its other names are based on their variety, for example, Begonia Calcutta and Begonia Rex, among others.
Begonia semperflorens cultorum or wax begonias, in general, are normally classified according to their hybrid group names. Instead of naming them according to their species, these hybridized plant groups are identified as tuberous, rhizomatous, or fibrous-rooted begonias.
One must note, however, that the term fibrous, tuberous, and rhizomatous do not only refer to the roots but to the stem structures as well.
Fibrous begonias are known for their leaves that are smooth to the touch and also for having plentiful flowers that easily fill a garden. The rhizomatous types have beautiful large foliage, whereas the tuberous ones have spectacular large flowers.
Until today, this large family of flowers is still being extensively experimented on, which could yield additional cultivars in the future. Such varieties are characteristically better than the existing ones.
Having your own garden or pot of lovely begonia semperflorens to grow is quite a rewarding task. Lush and blooming begonias are easily achieved when you have in mind the essential things, such as:
- Begonia semperflorens plants grow and bloom best in a sunny to partly-shady location.
- Good soil drainage, aeration, and moisture retention are a necessity to maintain its health, while adequate temperature and humidity levels are significant to avoid problems.
- Begonia semperflorens could be propagated through stems, leaf cuttings, and seeds.
- Although not a heavy feeder, fertilizer application once a month could help in the plant’s growth.
- Like any other plant, expect to have some problems like pests and diseases while growing begonias.
With there still ongoing hybridization of wax begonias, we can expect to have more cultivars in the future. These new varieties may have more beautiful flowers and greater pest or disease resistance, making wax begonias one of the most sought-after flowers.
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