Begonia is a plant from tropical regions in Asia, Africa and South America. They are plants that have colorful and very showy flowers, which is why they are widely used in gardening. Approximately 1,500 species are known in the genus of begonias. In addition, the cultivation and care of begonia does not pose great difficulties.
If you like these plants, keep reading this article because in it we tell you what the cultivation and care of begonia consist of with this simple and practical guide. In addition, you will be able to know the different types of begonias.
Begonias and their types
Begonias are shade plants with very striking colors. In addition, their easy maintenance makes them one of the plants preferred by the general public. Despite this, due to their biological characteristics, it is necessary to follow an adequate care guide and pay attention to changes in the climate, because they bloom in early summer and end their cycle with the first frosts.
As we said, there are about 1,500 different species of begonia , but only 150 species are commonly used in gardening. These can be classified into 3 classes , according to their roots:
This class of begonias is characterized by having an underground stem that also acts as a reserve organ. Among the best known are begonias Rex , the Crispulas , the Masonianas , the hispid and variety imperialis .
These begonia specimens require an average temperature above 15ºC , indirect light and should be watered only if the surface layer of the Earth is dry.
The root of this type of begonias is a tuber similar to a potato. Among the most used are the Evasianas , Clarkei , Elatior , Tuberhybrida and Pearcei .
These varieties require temperatures of approximately 13ºC and 5ºC more during their flowering . During times of higher temperature, the tubers tend to lose their leaves, which grow back in autumn. In addition, it is important that they have good aeration, to avoid the development of fungi. Thus, in summer we will keep the tubers in a dry environment with a moderate temperature, sowing them at the end of this season. During winter, these varieties need a high amount of light, but never direct sunlight.
In these varieties, the secondary roots develop at the same rate as the main root. Among the most used are Begonia semperflorens , Incanas , Fuchsioides , Venosa or Maculata .
These varieties need a temperature above 10ºC . Only the variety Semperflorens (sugar flower) is able to withstand sun exposure. The remaining varieties should be kept in good light and only exposed to direct sunlight in fall and winter. Also, it is recommended to water potted begonias once a week in winter and summer, keep them with good humidity. Also, they need a constant flow of air.
The cultivation of begonias
With regard to cultivation, there are begonias that are planted from seeds and others that are planted from tubers. Begonias that are grown from seeds are usually smaller and need more care than those from tubers.
Begonias are indoor plants , since it is not recommended to expose them to direct sun, and they need temperatures of around 20ºC. The ideal location is next to a window or a place with good ventilation and where they receive indirect natural light . In addition, these plants need a certain degree of humidity, so it is necessary to water them properly. However, it is also possible to grow them outdoors , but under suitable conditions, such as placing them near large plants that provide shade.
The best time to grow them is spring, two to three weeks after winter ends, because at this time there are no more frosts and temperatures are usually warm. Regarding the substrate, they need approximately 2/3 of peat and 1/3 of potting mix without soil, since the peat provides the necessary acidity for the plant and facilitates drainage, and add a liquid fertilizer. If grown outdoors, they need peat or organic matter added to the soil.
Caring for begonias
Finally, we tell you how to take care of begonias in your home . Take note of these basic care tips.
The land on which the plant is grown must be cleaned of weeds or prevent them from developing by covering with mulch, but reducing watering, since the mulch retains moisture. Once a month, a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer should be applied, compost or peat used to improve yield.
When the flowers begin to wilt or turn brown, it is time to prune the begonias to encourage new flower development and redirect nutrients to these healthy parts. When the flowering season is over, it will be left without any bad flowers, so that the bulb accumulates the nutrients for the next season.
Outdoors you must be careful with pests in begonias , especially slugs and snails , one method to avoid them is to crush egg shells and spread them around the plant. In the interior, it will be necessary to avoid the mealybugs, beetles or spiders, spraying the plant with a little alcohol spray.