Indoor begonia: varieties, planting and care

The begonia is prized for the diversity and beauty of its foliage and flowers. Its taste for subdued situations and heat makes it ideal for indoor cultivation, provided it is watered and fertilized regularly. There is complete detail on indoor begonia.

Presentation of the indoor begonia

The genus Begonia has more than 2000 species and hybrid varieties native to tropical and subtropical regions of almost all continents, mainly South America. Their original climate (hot and humid) explains their use as houseplants.

Begonias take on very different appearances in terms of their size (from 20 cm to 3 m), their habit (erect or creeping), the texture and color of the leaves, and their flowering. Their common points are asymmetrical and alternate leaves that develop from the stipules (appendages inserted at the base of the leaf petiole), flowers grouped in panicles comprising female flowers, male flowers, and winged ovaries.

groups of begonias

Begonias are classified into several groups according to their habit and their root system (the radicle is the embryo of the root).

Begonias with a fibrous stem: they include bushy begonias with woody stems marked with knots and wing-shaped leaves, begonias with fleshy stems and the aerial part (foliage and flowers) fluffy or glazed. Their foliage is evergreen and their flowering is generous, with generally single flowers.

Rhizomatous begonias: the foliage is born directly from a creeping and gnarled rhizome. Persistent and remarkable, it is very different depending on the variety. The flowers of these begonias are small and simple.

Tuberous begonias: their underground stems take the form of tubers. Their foliage is usually deciduous during their resting or dormant period. They are especially appreciated for their flowering.

All these begonias are frost-prone and require a minimum temperature of 13-14°C.

Varieties of indoor begonia

Begonia Rex

Indoor begonia
Begonia rex

A very popular rhizomatous begonia comprising a multitude of hybrids. Rounded in shape, it measures between 30 and 40 cm.

Its foliage is often embossed with large leaves of variable colors and silver, pink, bronze, and purple designs… The red undersides and red and pubescent petioles. During flowering small pink or white flowers appear.

Begonia Rex ‘Beleaf Evening Glow’

Indoor begonia: varieties, planting and care

A hybrid of Begonia Rex with remarkable leaves mixing pink, burgundy, dark green, and silver.

Begonia maculata or Tamaya begonia

Indoor begonia: varieties, planting and care
Begonia maculata

A very popular and easy-to-grow fibrous stump bamboo begonia. It can measure up to 1 m. Its stems lignify over time.

The foliage of this indoor begonia is smooth, dark green mottled with silver spots. Purple lapels. Has blooms of small pale pink flowers all year round, but especially in summer.

Begonia ‘Angel Silver Wings’

Indoor begonia: varieties, planting and care
silver wings begonia in a greenhouse

This begonia has a particularly silvery leaf. It comes alive with pretty pale pink flowers in August and adapts to any type of soil.

You can repot it between April and May. Prefer watering with water at room temperature and regularly clean the dry or damaged leaves.

Begonia ‘Royal Velvet’

The Royal Velor has green leaves with scarlet and even lilac hues. The veins of its leaves have a contrasting red hue and the edge of its leaves have serrated leaflets.

To maintain your Royal Velor, keep it in a cool substrate all year round and reduce watering in autumn and winter. It is important to place a saucer of wet clay balls, so as not to hold the root in the water.

Begonia ‘Mac Wings’

This begonia has evergreen and asymmetrical foliage. These leaves are green with white dots. The Mac Wings offers pink or white flowers.

To maintain your begonia, water it directly below the root. You can bring special indoor plant fertilizer every 15 days from April to August. Place a saucer of clay pebbles kept wet to avoid drowning your begonia.

Planting indoor begonia

Where to plant indoor begonias?

Exhibition of indoor begonia

Indoor begonias appreciate a bright position, but without direct sun. Large-flowered begonias require more light than those with conspicuous foliage.

Floor

Provide begonias with potting soil for indoor flowering plants.

Temperature

During the period of growth and flowering of the begonia, maintain a temperature between 18 and 23°C. For those observing a resting period (often after flowering), place in a cooler room, around 15-16°C.

When to plant the indoor begonia?

The repotting of the begonia is done in early spring when the roots have colonized the entire pot.

How to plant indoor begonias?

1. Use containers that are wider than they are deep and must have drainage holes.
2. Place a layer of clay pebbles in the bottom of the pot to improve drainage.
3. Handle the stumps with care, as the roots are brittle.
4. Choose a slightly larger pot and fill it with the substrate.
5. Water copiously to eliminate air pockets around the roots.

Indoor Begonia Care

Watering begonia indoors

Give water to begonia at room temperature. Keep it fresh all year.
If the environment is dry in summer or winter because of the heating, place on a saucer clay balls kept wet. Spray the foliage when it is very hot and dry, avoiding wetting the begonia flowers. Reduce watering during the rest period of some varieties.

Fertilization

Bring special indoor plant fertilizer (or flowering plants if the begonia is especially appreciated for its flowers) every 15 days from April to August. Cease all fertilization during the rest period of some begonias.

Indoor begonia pruning

Regularly clean dry or damaged leaves of indoor begonias. Drastically prune “bambusiform” begonias, such as the Tamaya begonia, if they become bulky or bald at the base.

Propagate indoor begonia

Fibrous stump begonias

In spring and summer cut non-flowering shoots. Place the smothered cutting in a pot filled with cuttings compost. A little rooting hormone promotes rooting, which takes 3 to 4 weeks to take place.

Rhizome begonias

The cutting is the same as the begonia with fibrous strain except that it is practiced from a piece of rhizome of 6 to 8 cm carrying a bud placed flat on the soil or with a leaf incised at the level of the main vein also placed flat on the soil. The begonia is repotted as soon as the first leaves appear (1 to 2 months later).
Tuberous begonias
Depending on the species, propagation is done by transplanting the bulbils located in the axils of the leaves before the leaves fall (B. grandis), by cutting the shoots in the spring (B. dregei), or by cuttings from ‘a piece of tuber with a bud also in spring (B. tuberhybrida).

Attacks and diseases of indoor begonia

Begonias are especially sensitive to excess humidity, which rots the base of stems, leaves, flowers, and buds. An atmosphere that is too humid favors botrytis which gives brown patches on the leaves.
Some symptoms should also alert you:
– The leaves turn yellow and soften: the begonia is watered too much.
– The begonia leaves are flabby, curl up and dry out: the atmosphere is too dry.
– The leaves remain small, and the plant does not flower: it is hungry. Repot it or add fertilizer.
– The edges of the leaves turn brown: too much direct sun.
– The leaves look leaden and have cobwebs on the underside: the presence of mites favored by a dry atmosphere.
– The stems elongate and are weak: the exposure is too dark.
– The leaves of evergreen varieties fall in winter: the begonia is cold.

Here is the detailed note on angel wing begonia.