Begonia, a garden classic with modern vibes

Classic begonia and modern begonia flowers

As happy indoors as it outdoors, begonia is a classical ornamental flower plant. Thanks to modern hybrids like perennial begonia, it sure packs a lot of surprises!

Semperflorens, or annual begonia, is the most famous in the category: abundant blooming from January to December (yup, year-round!) and excellent for growing in garden beds. Indoors, it also serves a more virtuous purpose: it cleanses air pollution from the air we breathe.

Begonia loves bright light, but doesn’t really appreciate direct sun, especially from March to October: its leaves will fall due to sunburn. Moderate watering is best, so that you might avoid stagnant water. On average, you should water about twice a week. Take note if you have toddlers and pets: begonias are toxic plants (roots especially). When you handle them, wear gloves.

Begonia, a large family

Classic begonia, whiteNative to South America and to the Caribbean, begonia comes in dozens of species and hybrids with flowers of every color and leafage that can be emerald green, purple red, and mottled combinations of both. Some begonia are truly flower begonias: they’ll bloom all year round. Others might be considered for their noteworthy year-round foliage, though they might only bloom in Spring and Summer.

For instance, you might want to try these few perennial begonia out:

  • the begonia maculata, which does great indoors,
  • Mrs Evans’ begonia (hardy down to 0°F or -18°C, whereas the regular begonia usually can’t take any colder than 23°F or -5°C).
  • Another stunning option is Begonia grandiflora: it boasts double flowers that are over two inches across (6 cm). Spectacular!

Did you know this about begonia?

Begonia is the national flower for North Korea. It’s their symbol for peace, justice and love. In India and in the Himalayas, this flower is connected to the solar plexus and root plexus chakras, two pillars of vital energy that can bring you peace and serenity in life.

Claire Lelong-Lehoang

Modern begonia composition

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY-SA 2.0: Carol VanHook, Amanda Slater
CC BY 2.0: The Roaming Picture Taker