Growing the wax begonia indoors is so familiar. They are commonly used as landscape bedding flowers or a container houseplant.
These flowers might be considered old-fashioned but it’s hardy blooming are as forgiving as they are versatile.
It’s actually hard to beat these sweet little flowers when you’re looking for space-filling in your garden or house.
Their attention-grabbing single or bi-colored flower make a unique combination.
In this article, I’ll explain everything about how to propagate and care for this indoor flowering plant.
So, let’s dive into it.
Quick Growing Guide
|Common Name||Wax begonias|
|Scientific Name||Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum|
|Life span||2 years|
|Mature Size||6-18 inche tall, 6-12 inches wide|
|Sun Exposure||full-sunlight |
|Soil Type||Compost soil and well-drained|
|Soil pH||5.5 to 6.0|
|Bloom Time||Early spring|
|Flower Color||Red, White, Yellow or Pink|
|Hardiness Zones||2 to 11|
|Native Area||North America |
How do wax begonia looks like
- This is a bright beautiful indoor houseplant.
- Its scientific name is “Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum” and has more than 1000 species.
- They have been popular since the Victorian era.
- Begonias need less care and are present in many shapes, colors, and sizes.
- They grow easily and can become the center of any garden. Begonias like both sun and shade.
- Most of its variety grows 6-18 inches big and spreads 6-12 inches.
- So, planting begonias in landscape beds or board containers is good.
- Begonias grow well in seasons like summer, spring, and fall.
- They have a border, edging, and their natural summer-long flowing seasons.
- Place wax begonia indoors on a sunny windowsill they can bloom forever.
- They bloom in groups of red, white, yellow, or pink flowers, and some varieties are pleasantly fragrant.
If you live in a cooler region of the country, plant begonias in the full sun
The varieties with bronze foliage tend to do better in full sun than those with green leaves.
In the south, they need to give some afternoon shade. wax begonias are a very attractive indoor houseplant. Especially if you’re living in a region where plants don’t grow easily.
- They cannot tolerate frost but it adapts well when brought inside the house for overwintering.
- But, if begonias are planted in a container with proper sun and shade it can live at least 4-5 years long.
- This plant species have a fibrous root system, pests resistant to brief droughts, and are rarely troubled by pests or disease.
Related post: Best annual plants to grow in the house
Where to grow them
Begonias thrive well in slightly moist, rich, well-drained based soil with light fertilization. They prefer room temperature and are not fussy about humidity.
Whereas, Coffee ground works well with compost. The soil gets mixed with different things to get better food for plants.
Needless to say, along with proper soil type they also need enough sunlight.
They tend to thrive compactly and bloom profusely with increased sunlight – as long as the sunlight isn’t extremely hot.
When you plant begonias outside in the full sun. Plant them besides a variety with bronze-colored leaves that get better indirect light.
This is because a plant with large green leaves favors a shadier spot.
Even sun-tolerant plants can burn in intense sunlight and might need mid-day protection.
As I earlier mentioned, begonias can bloom all winter inside the house with average light. Indoor on a windowsill is a good spot. There the plant gets protection from the hottest rays.
Remember: If you notice there aren’t enough flowers, then place the pot where it gets more sunlight.
Varieties you can easily grow
Today’s hybrids are not like old-fashioned wax begonias. The exciting part about this flowering plant is you can explore many series of cultivars.
Some popular cultivars are:
- Varsity Series
Its cultivars are not limited to their flower color and size. You can choose different shapes of foliage, both with solid and variegated leaves.
Remember: In the sun, bronze-colored foliage grows well. Whereas in the shade green foliage is a better choice.
Related post: How to grow and mow variegated Asiatic jasmine
How to grow wax begonia indoors
They have many species but modern hybrids have more colors and greater sun tolerance.
They usually grow well as an indoor or outdoor annual. In the warm climate, they grow as perennial.
How to propagate wax begonia
You can grow them from seeds. But it requires careful attention. You have to give proper water, sunlight, temperature and also need lots of patience.
Instead of growing from seed it’s better if you propagate from stem cutting.
Here what to do:
- Cut a medium-size stem that has several nodes but has no bloom from a mature plant.
- The stem should be cut half inches below the lowest node.
- Remove the lower leaves from the stem cutting. To redirect the plant’s energy to grow roots.
- Plant your stem cutting in the small water jar or a pot.
- Keep the container in a warm spot where it gets enough sunlight.
- Change the water when you notice it getting dirty. Plants release waste from roots when they make food.
- After 2 weeks the roots will grow a few inches. Don’t worry if it takes a little longer.
- When the roots are about a few inches long, plant it in a medium pot with potting mix soil.
- After the plant grows 5-6 inches tall, plant it outdoors in the well-drained, damp soil.
- You can also grow begonias in the pot indoors with proper care.
Their leaves are thick and waxy which minimize evaporation.
Even though the plants like regular moisture, they are mildly drought-tolerant (if the climate isn’t extremely hot).
How often should you water?
The best advice is don’t water them until you see the top inches of soil dry out.
- Don’t overwater the plant. Overwatering them causes root rot which damages the roots and prevents extracting water and nutrition from the soil.
- Never let your plant stand in soggy soil. You can identify the plant root rot when the foliage gets leggy or brown.
- In this case, you have to toss your plant out from the soil.
- Carefully remove as many soils you can from the roots.
- Let the plant dry out for a couple of hours in the sunlight. Then replant it in the soil.
- A young plant needs more attention than well established so you must water thoroughly and let the excess drain completely.
- Keep the soil moist. Always water at the base of the plant to avoid leaf spots and the possibility of fungal diseases.
Plants potted in containers often need more water than plants planted in the ground.
This is because:
A potted or hanging basket gets dry out more quickly. Water them once or twice a week to grow properly.
Wax begonia care tips
As I earlier mentioned, this flowering plant doesn’t need much care to bloom. However, to keep the bloom look vibrant:
- You should pinch off old blooms and keep the plant free from brown old leaves.
- To increase flowers deadhead or cut stem if you want to compact plants.
- Give them more sunlight if they are not blooming well.
- To minimize fungal disease ensure your plant has proper air circulation.
- Plant begonias 8 weeks before spring for easy blooms.
Hummingbirds love bright colored flowers. Having begonias planted in your house or garden can attract them.
When to add fertilizers
By providing fertilizer you can boost your plant’s growth but
- Don’t overfeed them, it can harm the plant.
- Fertilizer provides important nutrition that is missing from the soil.
- You should only use half or even quarter dilution of fertilizers in each plant.
- Many gardeners fertilize plants once in early spring and then monthly in the growing period.
Organic matter is safe and promotes a healthy soil environment but synthetic fertilizers are also effective. Foliage feeding, cause spotting in the fresh leaves of the plant.
Overwinter, when they stop blooming.
- Cut the plant back in early spring and grow them with fertilizer in the presence of strong sunlight.
- Also, flush the soil regularly as it cleans soil from excess fertilizer salts and other chemicals in the soil.
- It’s a good practice to wash the soil thoroughly every month or during the growing months.
- Use a 10-10-10 fertilizer and water the plant before and after applying fertilizer.
- Keep eyes on, for mealybugs, and get rid of them by dipping cotton swabs in rubbing alcohol and applying the alcohol to the bugs.
How to prune
Another best thing about wax begonia is they don’t need Deadheads. The plant shed old blossoms itself without any slow down in the growth.
Routine grooming to remove dead or damaged foliage isn’t necessary.
The plant responds nicely when trim. However, pinching the growing tip enhances the bush of the plant. Cutting down the leggy plant let them regrow in a compact form.
Pest and disease
Fortunately, pests aren’t a problem for them as their thick leaves somehow resist them pests. However, it doesn’t mean they are immune.
- Mostly Mealybugs, whitefly, aphids, thrips, and spider mites attack them that cause leaves to discolor and deformity.
- You can use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to get rid of these problems.
- If you plant them outside, snails and slugs are also a danger for them.
- Deers don’t eat this plant, it’s deer resistant.
Is wax begonia toxic to pets
The plant contains calcium oxalates that cause vomiting, and in large quantities can cause kidney failure.
- The roots are the most poisonous part of the plant.
- They are mildly poisonous for pets and horses when eaten.
- They aren’t problematic for humans, may cause skin irritation to sensitive people but the plant isn’t considered poisonous.
- In fact, their flowers are edible and used in tasty salads, and other food dishes.
Do wax begonias like sun or shade?
They grow well in full sun as well as in shade. But for the best result, you should keep your potted plant in a place where it gets early morning sunlight and mid-afternoon shade.
This is because:
In the early morning, the sunlight is not strong and gives a freshness to the bloom whereas in the mid afternoon the sunlight and heat is way more stronger that may damage the bloom.
So I recommend you to place potted begonias in a spot where they get early morning light and mid-afternoon shade.
Do wax begonias come back every year?
Yes, this is a hardy plant that blooms every spring. In the frost or winter, their growth gets minimal.
You can easily grow beautiful and vibrant wax begonia indoors. They have bright shades that make your house looks wonderful.
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