Begonia (Semperflorens Cultorum Group)

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 3 Professionals
Common Name: begonia
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Begoniaceae
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to frost
Bloom Description: White, pink, red, bicolor
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Dry Soil, Black Walnut

Culture

Tender perennial that is winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11. In St. Louis, it is grown as an annual. It is noted for its tolerance to hot and humid summers. It is easily grown in average to moderately fertile, moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers sun dappled part shade and a good mulch in hot summer climates such as St. Louis. Bronze-leaved varieties are more tolerant of full sun. Plants tolerate considerable shade, but are generally less floriferous therein. Plants are best with consistent moisture throughout the growing season, but tolerate periods of drought due to their thick and waxy leaves which help minimize water loss in hot weather. Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date, purchase starter plants or take cuttings from overwintered plants. Set plants out after last frost date. Space plants well (8” for dwarfs and 12” for taller ones) to promote good air circulation and to reduce potential fungal disease problems. Container plants may be cut back in fall and overwintered indoors a cool location with reduced watering. Propagation from seed can be difficult due to the small size of the seed, and seed should not be sown directly in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Wax begonia is an extremely popular garden annual. It is a compact, bushy, mounded, fibrous-rooted plant that features fleshy stems, waxy dark green to bronze leaves and loose clusters (cymes) of single or double flowers in shades of white, pink or red plus bicolor versions thereof. Flowers reliably bloom throughout the growing season (May to October). Dwarf varieties grow to 6-8” tall and taller varieties grow to 10-12” tall.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to bacterial leaf spot, powdery mildew, blight and stem/crown rots. Watch for mealybugs and thrips.

Garden Uses

Mass in beds or borders. Edgings. Containers and window boxes