Begonia varieties

Begonia-Eiatior – hybr

This is one of many Begonias grown for their ornamental flowers. It is a hybrid developed in England by crossing B. soco-trana and the cultivar B. tuberhybrida ‘Viscountess’. The rich clusters of pink to red, often double flowers are very attractive. The dense, compact and glossy foliage is also decorative. Although this is a hybrid offspring of a tuberous Begonia, it does not form tubers.

Cultivation is not difficult. It requires a light position, sheltered from direct sunlight. Use a compost with plenty of peat. It requires a temperature of 20°-22°C (68°-72°F) in the growing season; in winter do not allow the temperature to fall below 18°C (64° F). Water liberally and feed at one to two week intervals during the growing period. It is readily propagated by stem cuttings taken from April to May.

Begonia x tuberhybrida

This tuberous-rooted trailing Begonia was obtained by crossing tuberous Begonias with certain small-flowered species ‘Pendula’ or cultivars. It is very well suited for growing in hanging containers or a windowbox. The trailing stems bear relatively small leaves and numerous medium-sized flowers.

In February, put tubers that have been overwintered into sandy compost so that they are covered about three-quarters of the way up; keep the compost moist. They will soon make new growth and, when the plants are about 8-10 cm (3-4 in) high, transfer them to pots or windowboxes. They may be repotted a second time, if desired. If they are to be grown on the win-dowsill, do not put them outside until late May. A suitable growing medium is a mixture of two parts leaf mould and one part each of peat, compost, pine-leaf mould and sand. An ideal position is one in partial shade that is not exposed to a draught when the room is aired. In late September, lift the tubers and cut off the green top parts. Let the tubers dry. Remove any remaining compost and store them in peat in a dry, frost-free place for the winter.

Begonia masoniana

The Iron Cross Begonia was introduced into Europe from China in 1959. Its common name is derived from the shape of the markings on the leaves. It is one of the loveliest Begonias, grown not for its flowers, but for its ornamental foliage. It is a robust plant with a large tuber, reddish stems covered with white hairs, and large pointed leaves about as long as they are wide. The leaf blades look very attractive, coloured green with contrasting dark markings. They are very wrinkled and covered with numerous red hairs.

It does best in places where it gets light from two sides. Direct Sunlight damages the leaves, and too much shade causes them to become unattractively long and poorly coloured. It grows well in a loam and peat substrate, and cannot tolerate either very wet or very dry conditions. It requires fairly high temperatures; in winter, it should not fall below 20°C (68° F). Young plants require an even higher temperature. Feed every week or two weeks during the growing season, but only very occasionally in winter. Propagation of all foliage Begonias is simple. Because they have strong powers of regeneration, they can be propagated by leaf cuttings, by the rootstock or by stem cuttings. These make roots best in peat at a soil temperature of 25°C (77° F) and in a very humid atmosphere.

Begonia-Rex – hybr.

It is astonishing how variable the genus Begonia is and how many species it includes. It is estimated that there are some 1,000 species and as many as 10,000 cultivars. Despite their great diversity, they all have the same flower structure and asymmetrical leaves. Begonia rex has beautiful leaves and this makes it a popular house plant. They are long-stalked, roughly triangular with pointed tips and faintly heart-shaped bases. They may be up to 30 cm (12 inch) long, 12-20 cm (5-8 in) wide, and wavy and long-bristled on the margins. Their gorgeous colour is very striking. They are not green, but carmine-red with shades of brown to black, often with patches of silver.

This Begonia is often subject to attack by fungi, particularly in houses where it does not have enough warmth and is over-watered. Not only is the white coating on the leaves unattractive, but also the fungi cause the plant’s roots to die. Propagation is very easy by means of leaf cuttings which rapidly root in contact with the compost.

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