Elatior begonia (Begonia x hiemalis) is a hybrid begonia with an upright growth habit and big single bloom or double blooms. Elatior begonia is available in a variety of colours from soft pink to bold yellow, orange or red. Elatior begonias, available in floral shops and garden centres year-round, are tender plants usually grown indoors in a pot or hanging basket.
Elatior begonia does best planted in a lightweight, well-drained soilless potting mixture and a planting container with a drainage hole. A potting mixture formulated for African violets is also suitable. Plant the begonia with the crown of the plant even with or slightly above the surface of the potting mixture, as begonias planted too deeply may suffer stem rot. The crown is the point where the stem joins the roots.
Sunlight and Temperature
Place elatior begonia in bright light, as blooming decreases in low light conditions. Avoid direct sunlight, which is too intense. A location near a window with a southern, eastern or western exposure works well, while a northern window may not provide enough light. Elatior begonia thrives in a range of normal room temperatures between 15.6 and 23.9 degrees Celsius, with nighttime temperatures slightly cooler but not below 12.8 degrees C.
Water elatior begonia as needed to keep the potting mixture consistently moist but never soggy, allowing the top of the soil to dry slightly between each watering. Never let the potting mixture become completely dry, and never allow the pot to stand in water, as wet soil rots the roots. Reduce watering gradually as the days shorten in autumn, and water sparingly during the winter months, providing just enough water to keep the soil barely damp.
Feed elatior begonia every other week, using a liquid fertiliser for blooming plants or African violets. While you should apply fertiliser according to label directions, elatior begonia benefits from a light fertiliser solution diluted to half strength. Withhold fertiliser during the winter months or any time the plant doesn't display active growth.
Pinch the tips of shoots to produce full, bushy growth. Repeat until the plant reaches the desired level of fullness, but avoid pinching tips that are in bloom. Elatior begonia does well when moved to a semi-shady spot outdoors during the summer months. Bring elatior begonia indoors before the first frost in autumn, as begonia isn't cold-tolerant.
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