Non stop begonia is a widely popular, almost classic floral decoration for window sills, hanging baskets, garden beds, and pots.
This reliable flowering plant of succulent thickened leaves from the family Begoniaceae originates from the subtropical and tropical regions of central and South America, Africa, and Asia.
They were discovered at the end of the 17th century by a French monarch Charles Plumier, in the rainforest of Brazil, searching for medicinal plants and named after French governor Michael Begon.
What Is Non Stop Begonia
Non stop begonia is a low herbaceous shrubby perennial that grows up to 20 inches tall and the same width. It has decorative, smooth, glossy dark to medium green foliage of irregularly lanceolate shape up to 3 inches long.
It grows on fleshy, brittle, and watery stalks. Still, the main attraction is its large, striking and graceful rose-like flowers, which come in a wide spectrum of colors. They appear incessantly from late spring to autumn, so it was given the name non-stop begonia.
Non Stop Begonia Care
Always popular among flower lovers, Nonstop Begonia is a reliable bloomer. This floral classic for shady places is easy to grow and a good choice for beginners.
Begonias require nutritious well-drained soil with a slightly acidic to neutral reaction. You can plant it in a mixture made of standard soil for a potted plant that you will enrich with compost. As it does not like heavy and compacted soils, add perlite or vermiculite to the mixture, which will improve drainage and permeability.
Watering non stop begonia may seem complicated at first, but it will become easier once you get used to it. This plant likes soil moisture but does not like soaked soil. Water it as soon as you notice that the surface of the substrate has dried.
Depending on the location, soil permeability, and temperature, you usually need to water it two to three times a week. In the summer months, when the temperatures are high and the soil dries faster, begonias sometimes need to be watered every other day. It is always better to use smaller amounts and water more frequently since it will reduce the risk of overwatering, which can cause the plant tubers to rot.
After each watering, pour out any water that may accumulate in the tray to prevent prolonged wetting of the substrate at the bottom of the pot since sometimes the surface of the substrate can be dry even though it is soaked with water at the bottom.
Regardless of the species, all begonias are sensitive to low temperatures. Non-stop begonias also do not tolerate temperatures below 45 F. The first signs of undercooling are wilting and leaf fall. If you keep the begonia outside in the summer months, bring it into the house in a sheltered area as soon as the night temperature drops to 50 F.
The upper maximum for this plant is 85 F. This plant grows poorly and does not bloom profusely at high temperatures. Ideal conditions mean a temperature in the range of 65 to 75 F.
If you water your non stop begonia properly, the water that evaporates in its pots is usually enough to create an acceptable level of humidity in its immediate surroundings. Yet, if the air is exceedingly dry, you can occasionally mist the leaves to freshen the plant and give it extra moisture.
However, do not do this too often as begonias are prone to fungal infections, so constant wetting of the leaves often leads to powdery mildew, mold development.
Do not spray the leaves late in the afternoon or evening, as this does more harm than good. At night, the humidity level naturally increases, so additional humidification only favors the development of the diseases.
Non stop begonia is a typical shade plant. However, this is not to say that the plant thrives in a dimly lit area or deep shade. It means that Non-stop begonia does not tolerate direct sunlight.
In the house, on the terrace, or in the garden, you can place it in a position where it will get a lot of morning or afternoon sun but be in the shade when the sun is at its zenith.
If you grow it indoors, it needs at least 10 hours of lighting to bloom. Therefore, it is an ideal plant for the window sill of the east or west window.
If you keep it next to southern windows, the window must be shaded, or the plant must be at least 3 or 5 feet away from it. It can grow on northern windows too, but will not get enough light for abundant flowering.
Non stop begonias that grow without enough light will lose their compact shape, the stems will begin to elongate, the flower will be smaller, and the whole plant will look messy and leggy.
On the other hand, its delicate green leaves burn quickly in the midday sun. All in all, if you want a plant that attracts the eye, provide it with a place where it will get a lot of pleasant filtered light.
If the begonia grows in fertile and loose soil in the garden, it does not need additional fertilization. When it comes to those that grow in pots, the added feeding is always an integral part of care. You can choose between slow-release granular fertilizers that you mix into the substrate when planting your non stop begonia or water-soluble ones that you add when watering.
Granular fertilizers or those in the sticks are often much more practical because the nutrients are gradually released while decomposing in the soil. You could mix them into the substrate at the beginning of the season.
Depending on the concentration, its intake is sufficient to meet the plant’s needs until the end of the season. Additionally, using these fertilizers minimize the risk of over-fertilization, as long as you adhere to the amount and ratio stated on their packaging.
If you opt for liquid fertilizer, then look for one intended for flowering houseplants because it has an increased content of phosphorus which stimulates the development of buds and flowers. Apply it twice a month, from spring to autumn.
As begonias are sensitive to chemicals and high concentrations of nutrients can damage the root, it is best to dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended ratio. Be sure to water the plant before applying the fertilizer, as fertilizer added to dry soil can burn the root.
Potting and Repotting
The rounded root of the begonia, called tuber, has a depression on one side, where a tooth-like growth appears. When planting, you would direct that side upwards towards the opening of the pot. Turn the lower belly side towards the bottom of the container. For planting, take a smaller pot about one inch larger than the diameter of the tuber.
Begonia grows better if you do not give the root too much space. It might mean more frequent watering because the substrate dries faster, but it is an excellent prevention of excess moisture and root.
Do not plant too deep, as the plants will take more time to come to the surface. However, shallowly planted begonia can become unstable when they branch out, and large, heavy flowers appear.
Repotting Adult Begonias
Once you get a plant already in bloom, it usually doesn’t need to be transplanted until the end of the season. It is better not to disturb the plant because the change of environment will cause stress due to which its buds and flowers may fall.
If you decide to keep the plant during the winter, do not transplant it until next spring. Replace the container in which it grows with a slightly larger one filled with fresh nutrients and well-draining substrate.
Non Stop Begonia Winter Care
Begonia nonstop is often grown as an annual balcony plant and, like all other seasonal flowers, suffers from the arrival of autumn. However, this is a perennial plant, and it is possible to keep it over the winter to grow and bloom again next season.
In autumn, the delicate leaves of the begonia will perish at low temperatures, and the aboveground part will disappear completely. If you grow non stop begonia in the garden, before the soil freezes, take the tuberous root out of the ground.
Then you have to these next:
- Clean the tuber from the dirt and leave it somewhere in the shade for a few days to dry.
- Place the dried tubers in a box filled with dry sawdust or wrap them in a cloth.
- Keep them in a basement or other darkened area where the temperature in winter does not drop significantly below freezing.
- In mid-February, plant them in pots that you will place on a window sill in the living room or other room that is heated. The light and warmth will awaken the begonia from the winter sleep, and as early as the beginning of March, you can expect new stems to start emerging from the substrate.
Overwinter in the Heated Room
If you want the plant to keep the leaves during the winter, then bring it into the house in the first half of September to have enough time to adapt to new conditions before winter.
Place the plant in a very bright spot and water regularly until the end of October. After that, stop feeding and water less often, once a week, because the plant enters the semi-dormant phase. During the winter, the plant will probably shed all last year’s leaves.
Keep your plant in a heated room, removing damaged or wilted leaves as needed. In the spring, transfer to new potting soil and start watering and fertilizing regularly again. When the danger of late spring frosts passes, you can take the plant outside.
Begonias are widely available plants at a very reasonable price, so most growers prefer to purchase new plants rather than propagate existing ones. If you still want to try to reproduce your non stop begonia, we suggest the following:
In the spring, the shoots sprout from the tubers, and if there are few of them, you can cut one or two and start the new plants.
- Wait for them to grow at least 4 to 5 inches in height, and then separate them from the tubers as close as possible to the point where they appear.
- Insert the shoot into the prepared container with a mixture of substrate and sand or perlite.
- Place in a shaded warm spot and water regularly.
In the next four to five weeks, the shoot will develop a root and grow as an individual plant.
You can grow non stop begonias from quality seeds.
- Non-begonia seeds are thin, like dust, so mix them with sand to apply them more evenly.
- Spread the seeds on the surface of the prepared and moist substrate. You do not have to cover the seed with the soil since it needs light to germinate.
- Cover the dish with a plastic lid and place it in a bright and warm place. You can also put it under artificial lighting because the extra light and heat will speed up the germination process.
- The seedlings will appear in 14 to 21 days, and when they grow enough that you can handle them, transplant them into individual 4-inch pots.
- When the danger of the last frost passes, you can take the young potted plants outside or plant them in the garden.
Pests and Problems
When growing non-stop begonias, pay attention to these two most common problems:
It is a fungal disease that is unfortunately common in begonias. You will recognize it by the white blotches on the leaves. It is caused by excessive watering, poor airflow between the leaves as well as excessive misting.
Diseased leaves should be cut off immediately, and the spread of the disease is most effectively controlled by using fungicides. Apply it to the plant several times, prune or thin out the stems as needed to improve airflow, and water the plant along the base to avoid unnecessary foliage wetting.
Aphids are tiny white or green insects that feed on plant sap. They appear on leaves, buds, flowers, and even on stems. They have accelerated reproduction, and if you do nothing, the plant will quickly be overwhelmed by this parasite.
Therefore, inspect your begonia periodically, especially if you keep it outside in the summer. At the first signs of infection, separate the plant and treat it with insecticides intended to control pests on ornamental houseplants. You can also use a solution of neem oil which is a natural insecticide.
In short, here is what it takes to grow a non stop begonia, the irresistible queen of balcony and window sill flowers.
- Whether you plant it in a pot or the garden bed, provide it with loose, nutritious soil with good drainage. Water it often because it does not like a dry environment, but avoid wetting the leaves since it is prone to fungal diseases.
- .For abundant flowering, the plant needs many diffused light and regular feeding with flowering plant fertilizer.
- Non-stop begonia is not resistant to low temperatures, so it cannot overwinter outdoors. Therefore, at the end of the season, dig out the tuber of the ground, clean and dry it and store it in a cool, darkened room. Bring the potted plant into the house in mid-September and water it occasionally until spring, when it will start to grow and bloom intensively again.
- You can propagate it by sowing seeds in the spring or by separating the shoots from the tubers.
- If you establish the proper irrigation system, you will avoid overwatering, which often results in the appearance of powdery mildew on the leaves. Also, periodically inspect the leaves, as plants that stay outside often attack aphids. Against them, use an insecticide or neem oil solution.
All in all, you don’t have to be an experienced flower grower to decorate your garden or balcony with this eye-catching beauty.
Even if it’s the very first plant you grow, all you need to do is follow the tips and instructions given in this article, and the result will come by itself! After all, with stunning flowers, manageable size, and decorative leaves, the ease of cultivation makes non-stop begonia one of the most popular flowering plants worldwide.
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