Begonias have been trusted for years as an easy-care annual. While these plants originate in Central and South America, the United States began to realize the benefits of begonias as long ago as the 1700 and 1800’s.
Since then, many varieties of begonias have been developed that are suitable for growing zones in the United States. It’s likely you saw these gorgeous plants before: perhaps in a flower bed in a wooded area or even popular tourist areas, such as Washington D.C.’s national mall.
At our greenhouse, many of our begonia varieties have been found to have many benefits to growers. Today, we’ll discuss a few of the big reasons that these plants are a favorite for landscape growing, container gardening and hanging baskets.
Begonias are vigorous blooming, easy-care plants. Due to their origin of a tropical, humid climate they are typically grown as an annual, although in some climates and conditions they can also be grown as a perennial.
When grown as an annual outside, they grow best in growing zones 9-11. Not sure what growing zone you are in? Use this helpful tool to find your growing zone.
Grown inside, begonias can also make great houseplants. Some varieties of begonias will perform better than others when grown as houseplants.
Begonias vary greatly in size and even appearance between different varieties. Some will mature with small clusters of dark green leaves and mini pink flowers while others, such as the Dragon Wing Begonia series, can grow up to 3 feet tall, with green, angel-winged shaped leaves growing as long as 5 inches.
So what’s the appeal to begonias? Since begonias are a favorite at Homestead Gardens, we put together a list of a few things plant growers tend to love about begonias.
Read on for 5 benefits of begonias.
1. Begonias are easy care plants
First, begonias are a great easy-care plant. There’s a reason they can be grown inside as a houseplant, under your shade tree, or in full sunlight outside (depending on the variety). Relatively speaking, begonias are not picky plants.
One of the reasons begonias are a great, easy-care plant is that they are very forgiving when neglected with watering. Of course, this depends a lot on whether the plants are in full sunlight all day or in the shade. Just like any other plant, they’ll need plenty of water, but they can hold up better without this water when planted in a shady spot.
To determine if your begonias need watering, simply check if the top inch of soil they are planted in is dry (they could use some water) or moist (they’re likely fine without water).
If your begonias are planted in hanging baskets, you can also lift the basket from underneath to feel the weight of the basket. A hanging plant that needs to be watered will feel noticeably lightweight.
Sun & shade requirements
Another reason begonias are easy-care is due to the fact that they can handle both the heat of the day or be content with a shady location on your property. Again, the shade and light requirements will differ depending on the variety of begonias, but typically they are fine with either full sun exposure or mostly shade when planted in the landscape.
If you are growing the begonias in your house you’ll still want to make sure the plants are next to a window or in an area where they can get at least some natural light exposure.
2. Begonia plants have beautiful flowers & foliage
Begonia plants’ varying leaf sizes, shapes, colors along with differences in blooms, colors and size make them look great as a stand alone or contrast well with other plants.
While a begonias’ flower will look different depending on the variety, typically flowers are made up of mini pedals fanning out from the center of the flower. Some kinds of begonias have large clusters of these pedals, and other types grow small petals.
Many people enjoy the exotic look of the begonias’ foliage. The plants’ leaves can look like anything from an angel wing to small circles with variegated edges.
3. Begonias are a great value plant
Begonias are the perfect plant for value-focused plant buyers. Their large, bushy size combined with their easy care creates for a plant that can be a focal point in your garden with less effort than other plants.
Begonia plant sizes
Not only are they easy-care (less risk of killing them off), but just even a few plants can be very attractive.
This is why begonias are often considered “fillers” when planted in pots or hanging baskets — they tend to fill up the space given to them in containers.
Prices will vary by greenhouse, but in some cases begonias are more affordable since they can be grown from seed. In other words, there isn’t a patent on most varieties that would require greenhouses having to purchase plugs, which is a far more expensive route.
Begonias’ growing season
When given enough space and cared for properly, begonias also will bloom and grow for an entire growing season. This ensures they will provide beauty for your home for an entire season (or into the winter, if growing houseplants).
4. Begonias are growing in popularity & variety
Begonia plants are becoming more and more popular and the variety of begonia plants available is astounding. This means when you are shopping for your plants you’ll have plenty of picking choices.
Some types of begonias are more popular for certain uses. For example, tuberous and rhizomatous begonia plants can grow great as houseplants, but other kinds grow better outside with more natural light.
Popular begonia varieties
Homestead Gardens offers a few popular begonia plants that perform well in Lancaster County.
Our most popular varieties are:
- Dragon Wing (Angel Wing) Begonias
- BIG Begonias
5. Begonias are great for all types of growing
Begonias are great for growing in many types of containers and landscapes.
Growing begonias in landscape
Most begonias grown outside will perform best with a mix of sun and shade. Partial sun exposure can mean morning or evening sun, or even sunlight that filters through a tree.
If planted in an area with very little sun, the plant may not flower as much for you.
Begonias can look good when planted by themselves or with other plants. They tend to grow into a mound/bush, and can especially be stunning with a mix of colors planted close to each other.
Growing begonias in hanging baskets
Hanging baskets are a great option for planting your begonias. A smaller hanging basket (10” or 11” basket circumference) can be filled out with just a few Dragon Wing begonias.
Or you can combine the begonias with vines in larger hanging baskets to create a gorgeous display.
For more information, check out our guide to growing begonias in a hanging basket.
Begonias can be grown in shade-loving or sun-loving hanging basket. For more plants to grow along your begonias in a hanging basket, you can check out these lists we put together:
Growing begonias in pots & containers
Finally begonias will grow great in pots or other types of containers. Locations like porches, doorside, or patios can be perfect for pots with begonias in them.
Overall, begonias are beautiful flowering plants that hold great value for their easy care, vast varieties and beautiful flowers.
Begonias also grow great with other flowers, like New Guinea impatiens, and many other annuals.