How to care for a begonia

Updated February 21, 2017

Begonias are a genus of plants consisting of more than 1,000 species of plants and as many as 10,000 hybrid varieties. Some are cultivated for their colorful foliage, other for their blooms, some are valued for both. All species can be successfully grown as house plants, but some are also able to live outside. Fortunately for begonia growers, despite the genus' diversity, the care of all begonias is similar. Read on to learn more.

Give all begonias the bright sunlight of an eastern or southern window. For begonias grown for their foliage, such as rex begonias, the light should not be direct, but rather filtered with a transparent curtain or shaded by a tree outside the window. Flowering begonias, however, need several hours of direct sunlight each day.

Provide a stable temperature for begonias. Begonias are sensitive to rapid fluctuations in temperature and therefore must be kept away from drafts. As long as the temperature is constant and above 60 degrees Fahrenheit begonias can thrive.

Water begonias between once a week and once every two weeks. You must take care not to over water a begonia because too much water can cause the plants to rot. Monitor the dampness of the potting mix and when you can stick your finger into the potting mix and not feel any moisture, it's time to water.

Keep begonias in small pots. Begonias have small root systems and do not need repotting frequently. However, every spring pull the root ball out of the pot and check to see if the roots have completely wrapped around the bottom of the pot. If they have, upgrade the begonia plant to the next size pot.

Move flowering begonias outside during the spring, summer and fall months if you can create the right conditions for them. Flowering begonias enjoy a shady porch as long as the temperature does not fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Begonias growing outside do need more frequent watering, so take care to check the soil often.

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