Plant Families

Begonias

Begonias are popular, tropical houseplants with an extremely diverse offering of about 2,000 different varieties. With their many textures, colors and growth patterns, it's easy for any plant lover to fall for this genus. The most commonly kept begonias are native to Central and South America and Asia, and do best with consistent moisture, warmth, and sunlight. They adapt well to indoor spaces with routine care, and while some varieties, like the rex begonia, may need more love than others, their foliage is definitely worth the effort.

Cane begonias, such as the begonia coccinea and begonia 'Gryphon', are easy to grow and are distinguishable by their bamboo-like stems. Cane begonias tend to be on the hardier side, and with the right maintenance, some varieties can even can grow up to six feet tall.  Plus, they bloom clusters of waxy, shimmering flowers that come in a wide range of colors, most popularly shades of pink and red. Other common begonias, like the rex begonia, do not usually exceed 18 inches, making them easy to keep in the home. While these plants can flower, they're really prized for their unique foliage variations. There are already 500 existing varieties of rex begonia, and new cultivars are likely in the works. All to say, there is a lot to love about this plant family.

Cane begonia and rex begonia being held side by side for comparison.

GENERAL CARE

LIGHT 
Bright indirect light. Southern or western indirect sunlight exposure is ideal.

WATER
Water once a week or when soil is dry 2" deep.

FEEDING
Use diluted plant food once a month in the spring and summer. Stop feeding in the fall and winter since the plant goes dormant and will not need the extra nutrients.

TOXICITY
Toxic when ingested in large amounts. The most toxic parts of the begonia live below the soil, but it's always best to play it safe when it comes to our furry friends.

Care instructions are usually consistent for most begonias, but we always recommend researching your specific plant to make sure you get it right the first time. Search your plant in our Plantopedia for assistance.   

COMMON ISSUES

It's true that some begonias can be picky about their environment, but once you get the conditions in your home just right, the lush jungle vibes will make it the extra attention worth it. The most common issue folks run into with begonias is improper watering. They need to stay moist, but soil should never be soggy. To make sure you are giving your begonias the right amount of water, it's best to a pot with a drainage hole and choose a well-aerated, moisture retaining potting mix. Use enough water to saturate the soil, and never allow it to get more than 50% dry. Signs that point to under watering include drooping stems, brown edges, and crispy foliage, while overwatering will make itself known in blackening stems and leaf bases.

If foliage is crisping up but you know you have gotten watering and sunlight down, humidity may be the issue. Most begonias can adapt well to average household humidity, but they will grow best when kept in humidity levels of 50% or higher. lKeep your begonias near a humidifier or spritz them daily to give them a humidity boost. Learn other ways that you can boost humidity levels here

Jurassic rex begonia 'red kiss' closeup

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