How to Grow, Propagate and Care for Wax Begonias
Wax Begonias are fibrous rooted, mound forming, tender perennial plants
that are most often grown as annual bedding plants.
Dwarf varieties of Wax Begonia grow from 6"-8" tall. Tall varieties grow from 10"-12" tall.
They have succulent stems and waxy, deep green to dark mahogany colored foliage, and they produce loose clusters of single or double, white, pink or red flowers from May until October.
Wax Begonias can be grown in the garden, in planters, or as a house plant, if their cultural requirements are met.
Growing Requirements for Wax Begonia Plants
Wax Begonias are only hardy in USDA zones 9-11, elsewhere they are grown as annual plants or indoors.
They should be planted in rich, well-drained garden soil that has been prepared by adding
generous amounts of compost or other organic matter to help retain moisture.
Depending on the variety, they can be grown in full sun to shade,
but most cultivars will grow very well in partial shade.
Bronze leaved varieties are more tolerant of full sun.
Other types have been developed that thrive in full shade as well.
Wax Begonias will tolerate short periods of drought, but for the best results
you should water regularly and thoroughly, keeping the soil evenly moist.
Container grown plants can be cut back in the fall and overwintered indoors in a cool location.
Always be sure to check for insects and pests before bringing your plants back indoors!
Growing Wax Begonias as House Plants
With proper care, your Wax Begonia will live and bloom for 4-5 years when grown as a house plant.
Indoors, Wax Begonias grow best in bright indirect sunlight coming from a south, east or west window.
Fluorescent grow lights are also an excellent alternative to natural light for these plants.
They should be planted in a porous, slightly acidic planting mix that contains some peat moss and leaf mold.
African Violet potting mixes work well for Begonias.
Allow the soil to dry before watering, then water thoroughly. Overwatering can lead to root rot!
Always use room temperature water when watering house plants.
Feed actively growing plants monthly with a good, all-purpose fertilizer.
Wax Begonia plants thrive with daytime temperatures of 70°-75° and 60°-65° at night.
Begonias enjoy a humid environment and appreciate periodic mistings.
Provide additional humidity by setting the plants on shallow trays filled with moistened pebbles,
especially during the winter months.
Pinch back leggy growth to maintain a compact form and induce branching.
Propagating Wax Begonia Plants and Growing then from Seed
Wax Begonias are very easy to propagate with 3"-4" tip cuttings taken from a mature plant and struck 2" deep in rooting medium, after removing the lower leaves.
Place the cuttings where they will receive light sun or bright light and keep the rooting medium moist while the roots are developing.
Begonia has extremely small seeds that require light for germination,
so DO NOT COVER them!
Start seeds indoors 12 weeks before your last killing frost date.
Maintain a temperature of 70°-75° within the growing medium until germination, which takes 15-20 days.
Set plants in the garden after last frost date, spacing dwarf varieties 8" apart and tall varieties at 12".
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