Begonia – Begonia – Indoor plants – The plant of Begonia


Origin and classification

aiuole di begonie The begonias are part of the Begoniaceae family of more than a thousand species. These are herbaceous plants usually in most cases with persistent leaves. We can find in them very different sizes and bearing. It is difficult to give a general description and it is better to deal with each variety individually in order to better describe its characteristics and specific needs. The only thing common to all species is to have male and female flowers on the same plant.

From these, a capsule is developed containing a large quantity of very small seeds. We can generally divide them into three categories: those with roots tuberous the ones with rhizomatous roots and those with sorted roots .

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Cultivation techniques

Tuberous begonias prefer positions in the sun or partially shaded, but in any case protected from cold air currents. The ideal temperature for this plant is 18/20 degrees; during the winter the temperature must not fall below 5/7 degrees. The most suitable period for planting them is March-April. Initially, we suggest to place them in small pots, about 7/8 cm deep, and then, when the first shoots appear, to pass to medium pots of about 10-15 cm and, finally, to containers of 15/20 cm.

In order to get big flowers, it is necessary to reduce the plant to only one stem, with some lateral jets.

General cultivation tips

Climate requirements They don’t like the cold at all. There are more or less rustic ones, but almost all of them cannot stand temperatures below the 10°C. They are however, in general, delicate plants which can react badly even if only to a slightly colder current. This is why many of them are considered as indoor and greenhouse plants.

Exposure the ideal location is the sun or half shade. They are undergrowth plants and placing them under a tree or in an area where the light is shielded by the leaves can be a winning choice.

Irrigation they love a high ambient humidity, so during the summer season they must be irrigated regularly, without leaving stagnation (cause of rottenness). It is also important to create a habitat similar to that of rainforests, so they are welcome, especially on hot days, vaporization on the leaves. However, it must be ensured that the area is well ventilated because if the humidity is too stagnant it can cause cryptogamic problems.

Fertilization: from the vegetative regrowth it is advisable to administer a fortnightly liquid fertilizer with a high potassium content.


The faded branches of rhizomatous and collated root species must be cut in March before repotting. If the species are particularly luxuriant, it is important and recommended to quack often, to avoid that the branches become too long and thin.


must be fairly frequent but not excessive; between one watering and the other, in fact, the root surface must have time to dry. More frequent in summer, to be reduced to a minimum during the winter. In summer it is important to vaporize the leaves.


Use a liquid type, which should be administered from May to September every 15 days.


The rhizomatous and fasciculated roots begonias can be cultivated both in greenhouse and in apartment. These plants love illuminated positions but not direct sunlight; in summer they like the shade especially if the temperature is above 20 degrees. In winter, the temperature should be around 10-15 degrees Celsius. Usually they are planted in 15-20 cm pots.

Pests and diseases

The tubers and roots are often affected by the awl, which feeds on the roots and perforates the tubers, and the galligenous eel, which deprives the plant of nourishment. Frequent are also the attacks of the mites, which affect all species and preferring the younger plants and tender, damaging the buds, weakening and deforming the leaves.

Among the most common diseases we find the grey mould, which manifests itself with dark spots on the leaves and on the flowers and white and powdery spots on the stems, the black rottenness of the roots, which rots them, and finally the bacteriosis of the begonias, which causes the formation on the leaves of spots which gradually extend to the whole leaf, causing it to rot.

Various types of moulds and cryptogams They involve the appearance of stains of various colors. Usually, they are Botrytis cinerea or powdery mildew. In any case, it is a good idea to regulate the ambient and soil humidity and to ventilate the area as much as possible. If the problem is serious, it is good to resort to specific curative products. The affected parts and any moldy soil must be eliminated, and the plant must be treated with an anti-cryptogamic product.

Root rot It manifests itself in leaf yellowing and subsequent loss of vitality of the plant. We can try to save it by extracting it from the ground and after a careful cleaning of the tubers or rhizomes (and maybe a washing with specific products) put it in a new container with a new substrate. The treatment can be continued with irrigations added with the specific product.

The perfume flower

begonie Begonia is considered one of the fifty plants identified by scientists NASA for possible use in ships or aerospace projects.

Although it is not known in the plant world for its particular healing properties, the Begonia plant is ideal for perfuming environments and giving every space a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere.

Tuberous begonias

The peculiar characteristic of this species is the conformation of the roots, which are dark and irregular tubers. Usually they are rather compact plants but rich in foliage. The leaves are large, palmate and serrated. They have very brightly coloured flowers and there are cultivars with single, semi-double or double flowers of various sizes.


Coltura begonie All varieties need a complete winter rest during which the tuber must be kept in its pot in a dry place and protected from the cold until the vegetative recovery. The tubers must be planted outdoors or in pots at the end of May early June after they have been “strengthened” in a cold bed. For the cultivation in pot, it is advisable to follow the period of “vegetation”, described for the B. evansiana, in March-April. The pots can be kept outdoors or indoors.

After one month from the final planting in pots, it will be useful to administer liquid fertilizer every fifteen days for the entire duration of the vegetative cycle.

They are varieties, as we have said, of tropical origin, so almost all over Italy they need to be withdrawn. The tuber can be kept dry in the pot throughout the winter at temperatures no lower than 5 ° C. If they were in the ground, they should be extracted and left to dry in the air, so that no mold is created, and then withdrawn to a cool, dry place.


The fastest way to multiply the b. tuberose is to divide the tubers and cuttings.

The first is carried out by dividing a large tuber into small sections paying attention to the presence in each of at least one eye.

The cutting, always in spring, is obtained by taking basal stems with a portion of tuber and putting them to root in a very light compound with temperatures of about 20 ° C and high humidity environment.

Begonia evansiana

Begonia evansiana The species is native to the Asian continent. They are plants with a compact appearance and, therefore, they find ideal the cultivation in full earth, but also in pot.

It has large leaves coloured in medium green in the upper part and carmine on the lower one. It blooms in summer producing rather large pink flower racemes. They want a light soil based on peat or woodland soil and still acid. Before planting (usually in April or March at the latest in the hottest areas of our country), you have to wait for them to acclimatize. It is sufficient to put them in a box with light substrate and expose it to the sun so that the tubers feel the heat of the sun.

As soon as you see the first leaves you can put them permanently in the ground.

They can always be kept in the ground only in those areas of Italy where the temperatures never fall below 5 ° C. Elsewhere it is better to extract the tubers and let them dry in the air and then withdraw them in a cold greenhouse where they must never freeze.

Note: In recent years, nurserymen have managed to create some varieties that are much more resistant to the cold. They are also recommended for continental climates, so they can reach around -10°C. This is the begonia <font color=”#ffff00″>-==- proudly presents Evansiana and the begonia <font color=”#ffff00″>-==- proudly presents Evansiana var. Alba (the first bears pink flowers, the second white).

They reach 60 cm in height and are an excellent opportunity for shaded areas, both for the beautiful decorative leaves and for the flowers. An abundant winter mulching of straw and leaves is recommended.


They have long rhizomatous stems that widen horizontally and sometimes have a falling trend. They are more appreciated for their leaves (decorative for their shape and bright colours) than for their flowers, which are very difficult to obtain in domestic cultivation.


Coltivazione begonie They tend to be indoor or greenhouse plants. They want a bright environment, but not direct light and temperatures of at least 15°C (but the ideal is from 18 to 23). During the vegetative period, they need regular irrigations and fertilizations with products for green plants. In winter, the treatments can be almost totally suspended. They should be kept in pots that are always rather small for the size of the plant.


They easily multiply by rhizome division or by leaf cutting.

The technique is very particular and specific almost only of begonias: it is necessary to make incisions along the veins of the leaves. They must then be laid on a light compound that must be kept constantly moist and at a temperature of about 25 °C. New seedlings will start from the incisions and can be transferred into individual jars.

Some rhizomatous begonias: masoniana, cleopatra, boweri, manicata, x erythrophylla

Begonia cleopatra We will particularly explore Begonia rex as it is the most widely known and widespread.

It is native to the Himalayas and over time many cultivars have been developed (in particular belonging to the Cultorum group), appreciable for the great variety of shapes and colours of the leaves.

He wants light exposure, but away from direct sunlight. The crucial thing is to control the irrigation. The soil should never be too wet for the risk of causing rottenness. During the growing season, it is usually best to water one flight a week and let the substrate dry well between each flight. Liquid fertilizer can be given weekly. As the growth slows down, the water supply should also be reduced.

The pots must have a good drainage and the ideal composition for the substratum is formed by a 1/3 of garden earth, 1/3 of compost and 1/3 of peat.

It is also important to maintain high ambient humidity, especially during the winter if the area is heated. Ideally, the plant should be placed on a saucer filled with water and expanded clay beads (but without the roots coming into contact with the liquid). The ideal temperature ranges from 13 to 20°.


They are usually small begonias but with very developed roots.

There are many varieties of them and they may have prostrate, drooping, but also shrubby posture. The best known are: B.albo-picta, B.coccinea, B.corallina, B.fuchsioides, B.haageana, B.metallica.

However, the one that is most commonly found is the begonia semperflorens, the begonietta that is commonly used in flowerbeds or pots. In reality, it is a hybrid between cuculled and schmidt begonia. It is treated as an annual, since in most of our country it cannot survive the winter. In the far south we can even keep them for a second year. They prefer a slightly acidic and well drained soil. The ideal exposure is the half-shade.

They also bear the full sun, but it can happen that the leaves dry up on the edges. The ideal temperature goes from 13 to 20°C.

Irrigation must be very controlled because the most common problem is root rot, which is the cause of most failures. Fertilisation should be weekly.

Begonia rex

Begonia rex Begonia rex is a begonia that belongs to the group of rhizomatous begonias and is most probably the best known and most acquired variety of this species. Its origins are Indian and it is a plant that in our latitudes is mainly cultivated in apartments. Much appreciated for its variegated leaves with white and red shades, the begonia rex flowers in summer, in the months between June and September, and produces small white flowers inconspicuous compared to the beautiful leaves.

The leaves are also very appreciated for their rough and wrinkled appearance.

The begonia rex does not reach large dimensions and has a height almost always between 20 and 40 centimeters.

If you decide to grow this plant in your apartment you should ensure it a bright environment but without direct light. The begonia rex is a plant that lives well, however, even in environments of semi-shade. Although it is a plant that suffers in the winter months of intense cold, the begonia rex during the summer can be easily outdoors, as long as it is not exposed to direct sunlight.

As for the watering of this plant, it is a plant that has normal needs but that suffers from water stagnation.

So don’t exaggerate with the water and make sure that the ground always dries between one watering and the next. In winter, the amount of water should of course be reduced but without a standard: in this period the best method is to touch the ground to understand when it is dry before proceeding with a new watering.

The cultivation soil of Begonia rex must be of good texture and drained, a soil with intermediate characteristics in short, even if this plant is not demanding in terms of soil.

Begonia elatior

Begonia elatior One of the most widespread, most cultivated and most appreciated varieties of begonia in the ornamental field is undoubtedly the Begonia elatior. It is an easy plant to find in nurseries almost all year round, with flowers available in many different colors ranging from pink, red, orange, white to yellow.

The begonia elatior is a begoniacea grown mainly as a houseplant, which however can be exposed to the open air during the mild climate months. Small in size and never exceeding 20 cm in diameter, and forming small compact bushes, the begonie elatior are plants that look good in bright environments with diffused light and temperatures above 18 ° C, but possibly not too high.