The New Sunset Western Garden Book; Kathleen Norris Brenzel, ed. For tuberous begonias, which often have larger and more abundant leaves than their fibrous cousins, your goal is to preserve only the tubers (which reside underground in the root ball) so that they can regenerate the following spring. Therefore, the begonia will require more frequent watering. The plant contains soluble calcium oxalates, which are toxic to cats and dogs. Fit the pot to the plant. Powdery mildew is another common fungal problem that can affect Rex begonias, especially if the soil is kept too moist and the foliage gets wet. In addition, use plants with a slow to moderately slow rate of growth, as quick-growing types will rapidly overtake the begonia and crowd it out. You can also treat the problem with a homemade fungicide made up of 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1 small squirt of a non-degreasing dishwashing liquid (helps the product stick to the begonia) into one quart of water. In their native habitat, Rex begonias are understory plants in shady to partially shady areas of jungles and considered tropical and subtropical plants. The steps for transplanting Rex begonias from their nursery container into a more permanent one are relatively basic. I also share my experience of growing two of my favorite Begonia Rex cultivars. If you water early in the day, it gives the foliage time to dry before nightfall. Although a Franciscan monk in Brazil noted the first documented discovery of fibrous begonias in 1690, the Rex begonia’s discovery was almost by accident. Signs the Rex begonia isn’t getting enough humidity is burned, brown areas on the edges of the foliage. One look at the foliage and it’s easy to see why they are known as the “kings” of the begonia world. A rhizome is basically a thickened stem, and the leaves emerge from the rhizome. (Causes And Solutions), Alocasia Frydek Care - How To Grow Green Velvet Alocasia, 14 Stunning Closed Terrarium Plants You Will Love, Anthurium Not Flowering? Handle it as if you were holding a newborn baby, especially when removing it from its original container and placing in the new one. You can also use a slow-release, all-purpose formula applied every three months. When you take care of begonias, make sure that you only water them when they need to be watered. Pinching the tips on younger plants helps them grow fuller too. While temporary storage in the garage is fine for chilly nights, your begonias need a permanent indoor growing location for the winter. Indoor Temperature For Rex Begonia Houseplants. Fill the container about one-quarter full of potting mix and water to settle the soil. The leaves may have bold shapes or striking, often silver markings. Probably one of the most interesting looking plants due to their texture, hues, and shape, Begonias are named after a 17th-century French plant enthusiast called Michael Begon. Water container-grown begonias when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Keep the artificial light on for 12 to 14 hours each day. 7 Ways To Make It Bloom. You can maintain fibrous begonias, which often have waxy leaves and always have traditional root balls, for 2-3 years with proper indoor and outdoor care. If you use a saucer under the pot to catch the water, empty it after the container has fully drained. Place potted begonias in bright light. Although plants do produce attractive winter flowers in pink and white, the blooms are small and considered insignificant compared to their show-stopping foliage. Container-grown begonias (Begonia spp.) 1. They will stop growing when temperatures dip below 58°F (14.4°C). Choose a warm, humid, partly sunny indoor spot for your begonias. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. Fill the remainder of the container with the potting mix, carefully firming it up around the begonia and being sure not to plant any deeper than it was growing in its nursery pot. Excessive soil in a plant container can lead to soggy, stagnant soil that smothers your plant roots and kills your begonia. In 1856, in a shipment of orchids to England, someone noticed an exotic and mysterious plant with elaborate foliage growing at one of the orchid’s bases. Rex begonias require minimal pruning unless long, bare stems require cutting back, or you’d like to create a fuller plant. Rex begonias with good care are usually bothered by only a couple problems and keeping fallen leaf debris cleaned up, making sure it gets adequate circulation of air, and proper water goes a long way in prevention. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications. Many types have a silvery or metallic sheen over the leaves, adding even more interest. They have a clumping and rounded growth habit and their foliage grows tightly packed together giving the plant density. It’s best to discard the plant and start over with a healthy one. Although it’s doubtful you have a “jungle environment” in your own yard, those who live in frost-free locations can grow the begonia outdoors. One look at an online plant catalog, you’ll be sure to find a Rex, or maybe several that are a must have. From then to today, Rex begonias are still brightening indoor locations with their stunning displays of pattered foliage. When conditions are warm inside, Rex begonias are susceptible to a mealy bug infestation. Probably one of the biggest problems with growing Rex begonias indoors is making sure you create humid conditions for them. Remember, some types grow almost 24 inches wide. A bit later, additional varieties of Rex begonias were found growing in the Andes Mountains, including those with leaf colors of orange, yellow and red. Place a fluorescent light 6 to 12 inches from the top of your begonia plant. Consider that the soil in pots made from pottery or terracotta dries out faster than the soil in plastic pots. I’ve covered 10 great ways for increasing humidity in another article. Remove dropped leaves and flowers immediately to prevent disease. Begonias grown indoors are especially susceptible to root rot and overwatering. It’s easy to identify a problem with these sapsuckers, as they leave a cottony mass where stems connect. Turn the container weekly so all sides of the Rex begonia receive the same amount of light. Reapply every two weeks while the plant is actively growing. Expert Tip: Don’t use a potting soil, as it’s heavier than potting mixes, has a tendency to retain too much water and doesn’t have good aeration, leading to the Rex begonia possibly developing root rot. In addition, you can also spray the entire begonia with alcohol, being sure not to spray the soil. Follow the instructions provided with your houseplant fertilizer. As a low-light plant, begonias require less intensive artificial light than many other types of plants -- which grow with an artificial light as close as 3 inches from the top leaves. To control an outbreak, simply soak a cotton ball, cotton swab, or artist’s paintbrush in alcohol and dab the mealy bugs off the plant. Rex begonias perform best with indoor temperatures ranging between 60°F to 85°F (15.5°C to 29.4°C). Select a location out of the reach of children and your pets. Indoor begonia care requires a few minutes of attention each week. Although Rex begonias are sure to bring a bit of an exotic and tropical appeal to your indoor spaces, use caution where you decide to place them. Signs of a problem usually show at the base of the plant first where black, mushy lesions develop on the lower leaves and stems. Prevent the problem by following a correct watering schedule, not getting water on the leaves, and watering early in the day so the foliage has time to dry before nightfall. You can also use a general-purpose potting mix, if you cannot find a peat-based mixture. Once you’ve selected the desired Rex begonia, an appropriate pot and soil, comes the next bit of fun – planting. Thus, was the first documented discovery of Rex begonias. Transplant in a container that is one to two sizes larger than the container the Rex begonia is presently growing. The problem is most prevalent when nighttime conditions are cool, daytime conditions are warm, the soil is too moist and there’s moisture on the foliage. 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