Begonia × benariensis BIG SERIES

BIG RED WITH BRONZE LEAF
Common Name: begonia
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Begoniaceae
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to frost
Bloom Description: Red to rose
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful

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 (12-15”) to promote good air circulation and to reduce potential fungal disease problems. Container plants may be cut back in fall and overwintered indoors in a cool location with reduced watering. Propagation from seed can be difficult due to the small size of the seed. Seed should not be sown directly in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Begonia × benariensis is a hybrid wax begonia. It is an extremely popular begonia grown in St. Louis as an annual. It is a compact, bushy, mounded, fibrous-rooted tender perennial that features fleshy stems, tough 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). The BIG SERIES (angel wing begonia x fibrous begonia F1 hybrids) is a recent seed-grown introduction from Benery Seed. Plants are noted for their early bloom, large flowers, and vigorous habit. Plants are currently available in three different forms: 'Red With Bronze Leaf' (red flowers with bronze leaves), 'Red With Green Leaf' (red flowers with green leaves) and 'Rose With Bronze Leaf' (rose flowers with bronze leaves). Plants typically grow from 14-20" tall. Flowers (2 1/2" diameter) appear in clusters from May to frost.

Genus name honors Michael Begon (1638-1710), Governor of French Canada.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to bacterial leaf spot, powdery mildew, blight and stem/crown rots. Watch for mealybugs and thrips. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants

Garden Uses

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