Begonias are some of the most beautiful, visually interesting plants you can grow indoors. However, they can be a bit picky about light and water, though not overly delicate, making them a great intermediate-level plant project. Here’s what you need to know.
There is virtually no end to begonia variety. With over 1,000 species and many more varieties and hybrids, begonias come in countless colors, sizes, and shapes. There are four main types: fibrous, tuberous, canes, and rhizomatous.
Begonias are particularly susceptible to root rot, so it can also be a good idea to add a layer pebbles or broken shards of old terracotta pots to the bottom for extra drainage. Repot begonias in a pot once size larger only when the pot becomes rootbound.
Striking the right balance with watering is the biggest challenge when growing begonias. Ideally, the soil should be slightly damp at all times, but not too wet because begonias are very sensitive to overwatering and can easily develop root rot. Test the soil with your finger before watering—the top inch should feel dry (approximately up to your first knuckle). If you are unsure if you should water, it is actually best to err on the side of caution and wait until the leaves begin to droop slightly, an indication that the plant is drying out. Water the soil directly, keeping the leaves dry.
Begonias also require high humidity to thrive, a challenge when growing them indoors. Rex begonias are fussier about humidity than other types. You might like to keep your begonia in the bathroom or kitchen where there’s likely to be more moisture in the air.
Begonias are fun and easy to propagate. Snip off a cutting and keep it in a jar of water until roots form before transferring it to a pot.
Begonias are toxic to pets, according to the ASPCA, though the most toxic portions of the plant are the underground tubers and roots.
Do you have a favorite Begonia? Or plant tips to share? Leave a comment!