Amazing Begonia Facts About These Evergreen Perennials For Garden Lovers | Kidadl


Amazing Begonia Facts About These Evergreen Perennials For Garden Lovers

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Typically a house plant, begonias are a primary feature of tropical and subtropical environments, but they are also found and cultivated in cooler environments during the summertime.

Begonias are flowering perennial plants belonging to the family of Begoniaceae. Perennial refers to plants that live for more than two years in well-drained soil.

Grown for a variety of reasons, whether for their flowers or for their asymmetrical and patterned foliage, begonias are small special plants that make their presence known. Begonia is also one of the largest genera among the flowering plant genus. In the floral dictionary, 'begonia' means 'be cautious'.

Belonging to the kingdom of Plantae, class of Rosids, order of Cucurbitales, the family of Begoniaceae, and the genus begonia, these flowering plants are close relatives of pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers. Nearly 1500 species of begonia are native to South Asia, Central and South America, and Africa. They are very popular among gardeners because there is not much care and effort required to cultivate and maintain these plants. They not only add beauty but also simplify the cultivation process. Begonias also vary greatly in terms of appearance, particularly pertaining to colors, sizes, native regions, and even their growth patterns. Read on to know more about these yellow, pink, or red-colored upright varieties that are as refreshing as the morning sun.

Begonia Classification

The name 'begonia' was coined in France by a botanist named Charles Plumier. It was later adopted by a Swedish botanist and taxonomist Carl Linnaeus in honor of the former governor of Saint-Domingue, a French colony which is now known as Haiti, Michel Begon.

Begonias can be classified into three major categories: tuberous begonias, wax begonias, and rhizomatous begonias.

Semperflorens are also called wax begonias. They are capable of producing flowers throughout the year and are used for creating flower beds. They are good at adapting to change (if brought indoors for example) and can grow for up to four years. Semperflorens are edible with a citrus-like taste. However, if consuming any type of begonia, it must be remembered that large quantities can be toxic due to the presence of toxic acids.

Tuberous begonias are also edible in nature and taste similar to semperflorens. However, they should be avoided by people who have certain diseases such as rheumatism, kidney stones, or gout. They are considered the most attractive of all begonia plants.

Depending on the begonia species, the plants and flowers can have smooth petals or double flowers and can even be bushy plants. These evergreen perennials are known for having attractive foliage. Mostly, they have green foliage, but in certain cases, it can be reddish-brown.

Begonia Colors

Some interesting begonia facts are related to their color. Begonias come in various colors, including white, red, pink, and yellow. The most attractive is considered to be the tuberous begonia. Tuberous begonias can have burgundy or green colored leaves and are usually double ruffled in their form.

Begonias are most commonly seen in shades of orange, pink, scarlet, yellow, and white. However, they do go through a period each year when old flowers and leaves wilt and die. Thereafter, new leaves and flowers bloom.

Another popular variety, the wax begonia, has a starkly different appearance to the tuberous begonias. These have rounded leaves which may be green or reddish-brown in color. The flowers on these are usually in deep red blooms, pink or white colors.

Yet another popular variety is the rex begonias. These have red or green foliage with the leaves curled or twisted. Begonia rex does very well in compact growth habitats.

Angel wing begonias are also very popular for their white, red, and pink flowers. They have very distinctive wing-shaped leaves which make them stand out from the rest. Angel wing begonias are a part of cane begonias, which are known primarily for their beautiful foliage and for being an upright variety.

Begonia coccinea is native to Brazil and is known for its scarlet flowers. Another popular variety, begonia grandis, is actually of Chinese origin, but widely grown in America.

Rhizomatous begonia is another distinctive begonia plant, known for its thick stems and for growing close to the soil in a horizontal manner.

The most popular types of begonias are tuberous begonias, wax begonias, and rhizomatous begonias.

Taking Care Of Begonia

Cultivation-related begonia facts are summarized here.

Taking care of begonia is quite easy. In fact, they have been called a gardener’s favorite plants. While they are easy to take care of, some basic requirements to ensure better bloom are as follows:

Majorly, all begonias belong to tropical and subtropical environments, as such, they and their hybrids require warm temperatures to grow and flourish. They are not easily (if at all) able to blossom or even survive in cooler temperatures.

They require a partially shaded environment and well-drained and fertile soil. The presence of good drainage is important for begonias to bloom well. They are shade-loving plants and too much sun can also prove harmful.

Their succulent leaves make them easy to maintain even during dry spells and seasons of extremely dry weather by retaining water and moisture.

They require high humidity, often going up to 40%.

Begonias can be grown by seed plantations, leaf cultivation, as well as stem cuttings cultivation.

Summers and humid climates act as the best growing season, but begonias cannot endure the full sun.

It is important to prune begonias, such as angel wing begonia, using cutting shears to remove leggy and tall stems.

Overwatering begonia can lead to stem rot and care must be taken to avoid getting infected by mealy bugs. They are also susceptible to spider mites, mildew, and whitefly.

As house plants in compact habitats, some varieties grow well in the presence of indirect bright light and even function as winter-flowering begonias.

Begonia Significance And What They Are Known For

Begonias are primarily known for being very low maintenance and having extremely colorful and showy flowers. Begonias are also known for growing both male and female flowers in the same plant that is shrub-like, and for having sepals instead of petals. This is because they are a monoecious plant and their flowers are known as 'imperfect' flowers.

Male begonia flowers are known for having several stamens, while female begonia flowers have one large inferior ovary and a couple of twisted stigmas. Begonias produce fruit in the form of a winged capsule and each capsule contains numerous little seeds. These seeds are so small that they resemble dust, but a small amount of these are capable of producing millions of seedlings.

Apart from their decorative purposes, historically, begonias were also used to polish swords as they gave them a nice shiny finish. Some people believe that a gift of begonias is said to mean 'be cautious'. Hence, they are used to warn people to be wary that something that may happen to or around them. How or where this meaning originates is not fully known but it is now a part of the 'floral dictionary'.

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

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