Rex Begonia: How to Grow and Care [Guide]

Rex begonia is a colorful foliage plant. It belongs to a semi-tropical region and is usually grown as a houseplant or outdoor container plant. 

The plant grows perennial in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Rex begonia is a frost-tender that grows as an annual plant in North America. This is an ornamental plant used to decorate houses for beautiful corners.

In this post, we will learn everything about rex begonia, how to grow and care for this beauty.

Rex begonia care

Rex begonia

Rex begonia is a bright, multi-color foliage plant. They are found in hundreds of colors all are different in shapes, sizes, and colors that make them a perfect houseplant. You can choose your favorite variety according to your wants.

Rex begonia is grown for its unique foliage that is different in texture and patterns. They can be grown indoors as well as outdoors in the container. 

This tropical plant does not spread much and looks classic in optimal size. In fact, people treat them as succulent and grow multiple varieties in their homes. 

There are so many varieties and cultivars that you can make a collection of them. Fortunately, rex begonias spread happiness with low care. Anyone can grow them easily by providing basic needs similar to wax begonia.

Where to plant

Plant wax begonia in a large container filled with quality soil. 

Rex begonia grows from shallow and knobby rhizomes. They do best in large shallow pots, where there is enough space to spread. 

You can propagate them from stem cutting or by nursery small plants. Mostly, people propagate from small plants and sometimes from rhizomes.  

How to propagate

You can grow any variety of rex begonia easily. Growing rex begonia from stem cutting is a slow process. 

It literally takes many weeks to have a bunch of foliage in the pot space. However, it is fascinating to grow such a robust plant with a single cutting. 

Propagating from cutting is not only an option. You can propagate them directly from small nursery plants and get a bright, established plant in a couple of weeks. It’s totally on you how you enjoy gardening. 

Below I have given all the possible methods to grow rex begonia. You can follow a method with your comfort.

From stem cuttings

Flowers

Growing an elegant plant-like rex begonia feels really good. You not only grow them but nourish them each day. 

You can propagate rex begonia from stem cutting in water as well as soil. 

However, if you start in water after root growth, you have to transplant it into the soil. As there are many varieties of rex begonias available and people enjoy collecting them. You can try different propagation techniques.

From leaves

Growing from leaves is a bit tricky, not recommended to a beginner. However, if you have propagated some rex begonia varieties, try this method to have propagation fun.

To propagate from leaves, you have to 

  • Cut a large leaf from a mature rex begonia.
  • Make sure the leaf has bold veins and can easily be cut.
  • Take a medium-size pot with good drainage and potting mix soil. 
  • It takes weeks or sometimes months to produce a small fresh tip. Quality soil will give you confidence that your plant will definitely grow.
  • Paste the leaf in the soil with some stones on it.
  • Take a shape knife and cut the middle of each vein.
  • Press the cut vein against the soil and spread some rooting hormone there.
  • Keep the soil moist, but not too wet.
  • After 2-3 weeks seedlings pop from the cut part of the leaves.
  • Do not disturb it, let it grow. After a few months leaves start growing.

Propagate from water

You can also propagate rex begonia from water. Take a long stem cutting from a mature rex begonia plant with single foliage.

  • Take a transparent bottle half-filled with water. Stand the stem into the bottle, keep foliage above water or top of the bottle.
  • The cutting should be partially underwater, do not let the whole cutting underwater.
  • Put the bottle where it gets indirect light near the window stand. If you place the bottle in direct sun the bottle’s water gets warm and rex begonia does not enjoy warm temperature.
  • Remember, you have to replace the water every 3-4 days or at least once a week. This is because over time the oxygen level of water decreases and carbon dioxide increases. 
  • Putting in freshwater again will give a good oxygen supply to the plant.
  • If you do not replace the water in 8-10 days, mosquitoes may start breeding in water which is very dangerous. 
  • After 2-3 weeks roots start growing from the bottom tip of the cutting. (The growth of roots depends upon the season and condition you provide)
  • It might take a few more days but eventually, it will grow, so be patient.

Once your cutting’s root grows 1-2 inches long, you can transplant it to a pot or container. Rex begonia can grow in water only for a certain size, one to two leaves at most.  To have a bunch of leaves you have to transplant cuttings in the soil.

From soil

You can plant stem cutting directly in the soil or after a few inches of root growth in water.

In the soil, you won’t be able to watch their root growth but will know when new leaves pop.

Here is what to do:

  • Take a medium-size pot with adequate drainage holes to ensure good water circulation.
  • Fill the pot with potting mix soil. 
  • Plant a cutting taken from parent rex begonia. (the should have a long stem and no or a leaf)
  • Place the pot where it gets indirect light. Because the cutting does not have roots yet or may be tender. Low-intensity light will give them time to adjust and will grow gradually.
  • Water the pot every 2-3 days to keep the soil moist. Do not overwater otherwise they will not thrive.

Rex begonia care

Begonia rex

Light

Rex begonia thrives in bright, indirect light. Because they do not produce heavy bloomers, they can tolerate less light. 

It also thrives in fluorescent light indoors. Place them near the windowsill or area where they receive indirect sunlight. Planting in intense or direct sunlight might fade its foliage color.

Soil

Rex begonia thrives in airy, light, well-drained soil. If you are growing in the pot, make sure it has an adequate drainage hole in the bottom to ensure a quick flow of water. In the garden, plants where water does not get stuck or blocked for a longer time. 

Water

Rex begonia needs regular watering to ensure continuous growth. Water only when the upper layer of the soil looks dry. 

If the plant soil is moist do not water it. By this, your plant does not get overwatered. Overwatering plants can cause fungal diseases that destroy their beauty.

Also, always water directly in the base of the plant. Do not wet their stem or foliage. Many people make this mistake, wet parts increase the danger of powdery mildew. if your plant gets affected by the fungal disease; Read our guide How to get rid of powdery mildew.

Fertilizer 

Rex begonia does not need fertilization once they get established. 

You can feed them liquid fertilizer in the growing season once a month. Do not feed them too much, one cap of liquid fertilizer is enough. 

You can also use organic matter like tea bags and banana peel. Sow them every year in early spring in the soil.

Temperature and humidity 

Rex begonia thrives well in moderate temperature about 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and moderately high humidity around 50 percent. They do not like frost, even some rex begonia go dormant during winter.

Prune

Rex begonia is grown for its beautiful foliage. Its flowers are usually snipped off to redirect energy to growing more leaves. Deadhead wilt or dry leaves of the plant.

These leaves look dead, but they keep sucking the plant’s energy. Deadheading dry flowers or leaves will encourage growth and make your plant neat.

FAQ

Why is my Rex begonia wilting?

Underwatering and overwatering often cause wilting in rex begonia. If the soil remains dry or stays wet for a longer time it increases the chances of wilt.  To avoid this, water the plant only when its soil looks dry. Inadequate watering also causes drooping of leaves, sometimes they even die.

Do Rex begonia plants dormant?

Some rex begonias go dormant in the winter. To dormant them, bring the pot inside the house at moderate temperature, away from the threat of frost. In a dormant period, they do not grow and remain constant.

Is Rex begonia poisonous to cats?

Rex begonias are toxic to pets like dogs and cats when ingested. It can cause vomiting and serious health issues. Do not plant them, if you have pets in the home, or keep them away. If your pet accidentally eats its foliage, take it to a doctor quickly.

Did I Miss Anything?

Now I’d like to hear from you: which tip from today’s post are you going to try first?

Or maybe, I didn’t mention your favorite plant growing tip. Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now. Before going if you want to grow beautiful flowers in your garden? Then click on these articles also.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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