Begonia is a wonderful houseplant, very popular and beautiful. More than two hundred years ago, the story of the modern room begonia familiar to us began. Now she is a decoration of garden plots, park areas, city lawns. This plant blooms almost at any time of the year, for which it is highly valued by flower growers and gardeners all over the world.
The birthplace of begonias is South America, West Africa, as well as Central and Southeast Asia. This flower grows in shady and humid tropics, less often in the subtropics. Near water bodies, any plant from the begonia family feels as good as possible.
The first to discover this beautiful flower in natural conditions was a botanist monk named Plumiere in the 17th century. He was invited to an expedition to Haiti led by Governor Begon. By the way, begonia received the name in his honor. Later, upon arriving home, Plumiere wrote about this plant in his work, where he documented all his botanical finds. There he described what this flower looks like, its bright and varied leaves and flowers.
This is one of the most numerous and multi-species plants on the planet, which subsequently expanded due to the breeding of more and more new varieties and hybrids. Nowadays, people are happy to breed and grow flowering and deciduous begonias.
Tuberous begonia is also very common. It is popular because it is considered the most unpretentious species that easily takes root, blooms, grows, and is easier to care for. Most likely, this is why so many new varieties of tuberous begonias have appeared, which amaze the imagination with their diversity and beauty.
Without a doubt, everyone will be able to find their own flower among this variety.
In nature, there are more than a thousand species of this plant, but people began to use only a little over a hundred of them. Currently, this number has increased many times due to the development of new varieties and hybrids. In general, there is still no single classification of begonias. Professionals use an approximate separation of begonias by the rhizome system (tuberous) and by appearance. These include shrubby begonias, flowering and decorative deciduous. And in each group of this plant there are annuals and perennials.
This type of begonia does not have a single stem, but the leaves grow separately from the root; there are no flowers at all, or they are very small. But there is a huge variety of leaves of different shapes and colors. You can find it for every taste - from standard green shades to extraordinary combinations of silver, yellow, burgundy, purple and even black. And all this is combined with the most bizarre shapes, textures and patterns. The most popular are the following types.
Begonia Bauer. A beautiful plant with spotted contrasting leaves, which is why people call it tiger. Shades of heart-shaped leaves range from light green to dark green and brown.
Begonia Rex. This hybrid is best known for hobbyists. The main distinguishing features are a thick stem with bristles, a powerful root, clearly asymmetrical leaves with serrated edges, most often small flowers or a complete absence of inflorescences. The royal begonias have many subspecies, which differ in the shape of the leaf. Among the most interesting are "Cleopatra" and "Fireworks".
The "Snail" variety is especially unusual; in another way, this begonia is called "the royal snail".
Begonia Metallica. The name of this plant comes from the metallic sheen on the large, serrated leaves. A feature of the color can be called purple veins and the inside of the leaf. With proper care, the bush can reach one meter in height. Also, this plant blooms with small, almost invisible inflorescences.
Begonia Mason. This begonia has its own charm, which is expressed in the leaves with a special soft rough texture and a Maltese cross pattern. His flowers are very light and very small.
Differs in densely growing and branched stems, they are geniculate, a bit like bamboo. The bush can reach two meters and has a large number of lateral branches. The leaves are very diverse in shape and color, the flowers are graceful and medium-sized. The root is large and whole. Under favorable conditions, bush begonia blooms all year round.
Other popular types of begonias.
Coral. This begonia has interesting tall and smooth stems, unusual bicolor leaves, green on top and red on the bottom, as well as small dense coral-colored flowers.
Fuchsia. A highly branching plant with glossy, rounded small leaves. Its inflorescences look like rare brushes of completely different shades of red.
The most interesting species of the begonia family from a decorative point of view, and it is the most popular among indoor flower lovers. As the name implies, it has a tuberous rhizome and rich flowering. Stems are juicy and dense, weakly branching. Tuberous begonias with a height of 10 to 40 centimeters are conventionally divided into smaller, medium and large.
The main shades of flowers are white, red, pink, and there are also two-tone varieties. Flower petals can be either smooth or double.
Separation of tuberous begonias into groups:
- small-flowered (multiflora);
- medium-flowered (maxim multiflora);
Fragrant begonia (odorata)
This variety series is distinguished by a special pleasant and delicate aroma, and also has especially beautiful lush corrugated flowers. Fragrant begonia is also distinguished by the color of the inflorescences:
- odorate "Red Glory" with a rich red color;
- odorata "White Angelica" has white flowers with a slight pink bloom;
- fragrant begonia "Sunrise" with a smell similar to the scent of an orange and a color overflow on the buds from delicate apricot to orange.
It can be recognized by its dense, hanging inflorescences with large, rich, fringed flowers. Varieties also differ in color:
- Illumination White begonia with white flowers;
- "Illumination Epicote" with yellow-red flowers;
- begonia “Non-stop epricot”, which, without ceasing, blooms with lush apricot-colored inflorescences;
- Champagne illumination with delicate champagne-colored flowers.
Fringed begonia (fimbriata)
The inflorescences of this variety are very similar to lush carnations, they are with the same double edges. The name of these begonias also immediately indicates the color:
- salmon begonia;
- orange begonia;
- fringed begonia red.
Begonia "Gloire de Lorrain" differs in that it is winter flowering. The flowers of this hybrid are classic - medium-sized, smooth, most often pink in color. Rounded, neat leaves of the plant form a dense, chic spreading bush.
Also noteworthy are varieties such as Camellia, with flowers as large as roses. Beautiful multi-colored inflorescences of the Samba begonia. And the begonias "Crispa marginata" or "Pikoti" will interest lovers of two-color combinations in the inflorescence.
Ampelous begonia (pendula)
This group of begonias is especially popular, since these flowers can be used to decorate verandas, lanterns, flowerpots. Ampel begonia can look in a variety of ways: flowers from simple shapes to curly and double, from small to large lush inflorescences, stems slender and tall.
By the way, long stems are a special feature. This variety is most commonly used for vertical gardening. Even the name of these begonias comes from the German name for hanging flower vases "ampel".
Therefore, ampelous begonia looks great in hanging pots or flowerpots, the height of which allows its leaves to hang freely and beautifully.
In addition to the basic classification, begonias can be classified by variety series, when flowers are grouped according to some of the same characteristics. The most common variety series of ampelous begonias.
- "Splendid Ballerina" with a double yellow inflorescence.
- "Splendid Alfira" with deep pink flowers.
- Bellekonia with varieties such as Hot Orange, Apricot Blush, Snow, Rose, Chardonnay, etc. The whole series is distinguished by large double flowers.
Begonia flowering or decorative flowering
It is easier to subdivide a view into groups.
Ever-flowering (ever-flowering, evergreen) begonia. This group of begonias blooms throughout the summer season. Pleases with bright colors of warm shades. Leaves are silvery-green or brick-colored. There are also more unusual options, for example, absolutely ginger begonia of the "Cocktail" variety. Also popular are the varieties "Baby Wing" with bronze-green leaves, and "Ambassador" with an interesting red border on green leaves.
"Elatior" or "Riger" . An evergreen plant that blooms at any time of the year. The stem is thick and juicy, reddish in color. A very effective hybrid, its beautiful flowers, when fully expanded, resemble roses. This is due to the great love of flower growers.
Decorative castor-leaved begonia
It is a beautiful and powerful hybrid created by crossing flowering and deciduous begonias. The adult castor-leaved begonia has 5–7 lobes of large juicy asymmetric leaves with jagged edges. This begonia is considered one of the largest. The flower arrow is single and naked with pale pink flowers. It can reach one meter or more. This flower is very good in flowerpots and pots.
Begonia "Chocolate rose"
A new species that blooms profusely throughout the summer season, right up to the very frosts. Resistant to any weather changes, so it grows well outdoors. Such a begonia looks "with taste" - brick-brown leaves in combination with pink medium-sized flowers.
Conditions of detention
One of the main conditions is not to move the begonia from place to place and to avoid a sharp change in temperature. It is advisable to immediately choose a place suitable for her with a constant and desired degree of illumination and temperature.
Indoor begonia loves fairly strong lighting, but it is advisable to avoid direct sunlight. This is one of the prerequisites for the normal development of this plant.
If begonia is under the scorching rays of the sun, burn spots will appear on its leaves. This can severely weaken the plant and lead to dehydration and even death. If it is not possible to rearrange the flower pot, then you can cover the flower with a screen, curtain or curtain.
If you provide the flower with 14-hour daylight hours (there will be enough even light from a 60 W bulb), then it will bloom continuously throughout the winter.
Temperature and humidity
Temperature regime and air humidity - + 21-23 degrees Celsius in summer and + 15-18 in winter, with a constant air humidity of 60% . Begonias do not tolerate temperature changes well - if the "jump" is higher than from +13 to +22, then the plant can either shed its leaves or even die.
When a plant has buds, you need to treat it with even more trepidation and raise the room temperature to +20. After the begonia has faded, it will be possible to return to the standard + 17-18 degrees Celsius.
That's why beginners in this business can fall in love with begonia, so it is for its rapid and grateful growth. From the first planting to the first flowering, no more than three months will pass. It is necessary to plant and transplant a flower in the spring, in winter it is better to leave begonia alone. It is important to know that begonias really need an annual transplant, and it is best to do this in early spring in order to have time before May. If you linger, then the flower will be much slower and worse to acclimatize in a new place.
In a professional store, begonias can be purchased either as seeds or as an already germinated seedling or tuber. After buying a seedling, a sprouted tuber or bulb, the begonia can already be safely planted in its new pot. Planting or transplanting begonias at home is a simple process - you only need a suitable pot and soil.
The pot should be chosen under the rhizome of the plant. The roots of begonias, depending on the species, can be branched, in the form of tubers or horizontal rhizomes with small lateral processes and pubescence. Such roots are located more at the surface, therefore, a wider capacity is required. Accordingly, the diameter must be greater than the height. It is important to consider that when transplanting, the pot should grow 2-3 centimeters larger every year. Any material.
In shape, it is desirable that the pot be round, although this is not so important. It is more important that there is a drainage hole in the pot.
Ready-made soil suitable for begonia can be purchased at any specialized store. The main parameters of the soil that begonias require:
- must be saturated with trace elements, nutrients;
- loose and breathable;
- has a low to medium acidity.
If the soil was bought in a special store, then it is not necessary to process it in any way before planting flowers. If the land is of unknown origin, it is advisable to decontaminate it in one of the following ways:
- soak the ground with boiling water;
- “Bake” in the microwave for up to 6 minutes;
- hold the soil until completely frozen in the freezer and leave it in this form for three hours;
- bake in the oven.
To plant or transplant begonia, you must follow these steps.
- Prepare a container with soil, put drainage on the bottom of the pot (expanded clay, pebbles, stones or even styrofoam), pour the soil halfway on top, tamp it a little.
- Pre-clean the tuber or rhizome of dry or spoiled elements and adhering soil, if any. Treat the root with a special disinfectant, for example, a weak solution of potassium permanganate or fungicide, where you need to hold it for 20-30 minutes.
- We plant it in a pot shallowly into the ground, in a previously prepared hole and lightly sprinkle it with earth, if it is a tuber. Or, in a half-filled pot, carefully set the rhizome of the plant and add the remaining half, making sure that the soil lays down tightly, without air voids. After that, carefully spill the soil along the edge of the container with water with dissolved "Fitosporin" or thoroughly settled water. Then we put the pot with the watered flower in a warm and bright place.
Begonia is propagated by seeds, cuttings, leaves and division of the rhizome or tuber. It is not recommended for beginners to start growing begonias from seeds - this is the most difficult option. The easiest and fastest way is propagation by cuttings and leaves.
Propagation by cuttings. To do this, cut off a small stalk - about 6 cm - with 3-4 leaves and planted in a glass of water. You can add Kornevin agent to the water. After about 3 weeks, roots should appear. After that, the stalk with roots is planted in prepared loose soil. The pot doesn't have to be big. The plant should be placed in a well-lit place, but not in direct sunlight. Water sparingly to avoid flooding the plant. As the begonias grow, transplant, preferably in the spring, into a larger pot.
Reproduction by a sheet . This method is similar to propagation by cutting, but instead of cutting a leaf is cut off. A small leaf can be planted whole, and a large one is cut into several parts along the main vein. The procedure is the same as for the handle.
But another way is possible: this is when the sheet is placed on the wrong side on moistened, pre-calcined sand, fixed in this position and periodically moistened until roots appear.
- Reproduction by dividing the tuber. This type of reproduction of begonias is not recommended for beginners, since success is not always guaranteed, and the whole plant can be ruined. For this, all the begonia with the rhizome is dug out. The root must be divided into several parts with a sharp knife so that roots and buds remain in each part. Slices must be sprinkled with crushed charcoal (activated) charcoal and allowed to dry. Then plant the prepared pieces in a pot with soil.
Water sparingly as the soil dries.
Reproduction by seeds . This method is recommended if you need to grow a special kind of begonia. Sowing of seeds usually begins in early spring (late February - early March). Varietal seeds are carefully scattered on the surface of the damp earth in a container, covered with a film on top to create a greenhouse effect, and the container is placed in a warm, lit place. It is also currently practiced to sprinkle the seeds with snow, which, when melted, gently presses the seeds to the soil.
The film is removed after emergence. Watering must be strictly in the pan or gently sprayed from a spray bottle, since the sprouts are very tender and can stick to the ground when watering.
After the appearance of 3-4 leaves, the seedlings are dived and planted in separate small cups, which are then transplanted into larger pots as they grow.
How to care?
Growing indoor begonias is not difficult, but still requires some attention. Caring for a plant at home consists in choosing the right place, and this place should be constant, since begonia does not like to move from place to place. The lighting should be adequate, but not in direct sunlight.
Drafts and sudden temperature changes should also be excluded. The average temperature in the room is desirable within +18 degrees. Below +15 degrees is already fatal for begonias. Tropical plants require high air humidity, therefore, in the heated winter time, additional humidification of the air in the room is required. But at the same time, it is undesirable to spray begonias, since water droplets on the leaves cause stains.
Watering the begonia is desirable with settled or filtered water at room temperature. Watering frequency depends on the season, temperature and humidity in the room. In summer, watering can be done daily in hot weather; in high humidity, it is better to water less often, every other day or two.
In general, this plant prefers moist air more than frequent watering. In winter, you can limit yourself to watering once a week. And tuberous begonias generally need rest in winter.
How to choose the right fertilizer for begonias? For decorative leafy species, a higher nitrogen content is required in feeding, since nitrogen is involved in the formation of green mass. And for flowering species, nitrogen is required only before budding begins. When flowering, fertilizers containing potassium and phosphorus are used. You can use a complex fertilizer, but additionally feed with such special means as "Ovary", "Bud".
Pruning begonias is necessary to give a neat appearance, for the prevention and treatment of various diseases, as well as to stimulate flowering. Pruning also rejuvenates and revitalizes the plant. To beautifully decorate an indoor flower, you need to remove all faded buds, dried ovaries and inflorescences, shoots directed into the bush. Also, for the development of side shoots, you need to cut off the top. Pinching the top can stimulate flowering.
Pruning a plant is required if it is sick, or the flower is overpowered by insect pests. In such cases, after pruning, the begonia must be treated with fungicides.
All trimming manipulations must be carried out with a sharp tool, which must be pre-treated with an antiseptic.
Diseases and pests
Like any plant, begonias can also develop pests, or the plant can get sick. This happens when the plant is not properly cared for, if the soil has been incorrectly selected or has been infected.
In order to understand how to solve the problem that has arisen, you need to more accurately define the problem, because there are a lot of options. Solutions also range from the simplest (move the pot where there is more light) to the most dramatic, such as removing part of the rhizome. Therefore, each situation should be approached individually.
Here are some of the possible conditions, symptoms, and treatment options.
- Powdery mildew is a disease in which a bacterial whitish coating appears on the leaves. Usually, tobacco infusion is used for the treatment and prevention of this disease, as well as a solution of laundry soap. You can also use Bordeaux liquid or purchase a special agent - a fungicide, for example, Fitosporin.
- Gray rot (or botrytis) attacks the roots and leaves. It is determined by wet gray spots on the leaves. This is a disease of over-watering. To prevent decay and death of the flower, it is necessary to urgently adjust the watering or, at an advanced stage, transplant the begonia into another soil.
- Bacterial wilting or vascular bacteriosis affects the leaves. They dry first at the edges and then completely. If you do not treat it with an antibacterial drug in time, the plant dies.
In all these cases, it is necessary to remove and destroy diseased leaves and stems, and spray the whole plant with antibacterial drugs.
Insect pests can also cause significant damage to the plant. The most common pests of indoor flowers, including begonias, are false scutes, spider mites, or the most voracious and rapidly multiplying aphids and thrips. And if you do not take urgent measures to destroy them, you can lose your favorite flower.
These pests colonize the leaves and stems, suck the juices from the plant, which leads to its death. From folk remedies for the destruction of these insects, infusion of tobacco, garlic, solutions of tar or laundry soap can be recommended. And also insecticides like "Aktar", "Decis" and others are especially effective .
Separately, it is worth noting such a nuisance as root knot nematode. This is a type of roundworms - pests of the root system of a flower. When affected by these pests, begonia stops growing and withers. The plant can be saved if mechanical and heat treatment is urgently carried out. To do this, the begonia is dug up, the damaged areas of the rhizome are removed, the root is first dipped in hot water (50–55 degrees), then washed in cold water and planted in clean ground.
And for prevention, you can use drugs "Fitoverm", "Aktofit" and other similar means.
Is it poisonous or not?
The poisonousness of begonia is overgrown with a lot of myths. In fact, there are both moderately poisonous begonias (for example, ever-flowering or tuberous), and absolutely safe. For example, in the homeland of a flower, the local population uses a certain type of begonia for food, as a vegetable plant, in the form of a seasoning.
In the ever-flowering begonia, the leaves contain oxalic acid, which can cause burns. Or, for example, if ingested, begonia tubers can cause poisoning and severe diarrhea. For safety, it is enough to wear gloves when working with tubers.
For the types and features of begonia care, see the next video.