Rex Begonias

This post, “Rex Begonias” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

My little white cat eats everything.  She eats plants.  All kinds of plants-real ones, silk ones, and even plastic ones.  So, consequently I do not have house plants.  I wish I could, but because of her, it is pointless to even try.

Since I do live in a mild climate, I grow many houseplants outside.  I’ll put them on the porch or under a tree to give them enough light but not too much.  One of my favorite plants to grow in a container is Rex Begonia.  I have no problem growing them outside under a large magnolia tree, even though we have such hot summers.  These begonias like high humidity, so maybe that is why they do well for me.  I do protect them if a freeze is predicted but for the most part they are out in all types of weather, even the mid thirties.

They are just starting to send out new, vibrant leaves.  I find they do get sort of raggedy by the end of the winter. It is normal for them to go into a sort of semi-dormancy in the wintertime.   I plan on repotting them in the next week or two in a well drained potting mix, and then I’ll give them a little fertilizer.

The first one I bought was Red Robin.  I put it in a shallow container with a red cyclamen and a small button fern.  I used this as a Valentine’s Day decoration a few years back.  It really looked nice.  The picture below shows Red Robin just starting to put out new leaves.  The whole plant seems to glow when light hits the leaves.

2008-213-r-begonia-red-robin-reduced-v2-013.jpg

After having success with this one, I soon was buying others.  I have tended to buy the celadon green ones that have purple in them.  They to just seem to glow in the sunlight.  This is one example, Corey Corwin, that is starting to show a new flush of growth.

2008-213-r-begonia-corey-corwin-reduced-v2-010.jpg

I think this might be the year I attempt to propagate some of these beauties.  I have been reading up on how to do this. I found out that besides the leaf cutting method, that some people have been successful with rooting a leaf in water (similar to African violets) and them potting up the leaf when the roots are about two inches long and then enclosing the pot in a plastic bag.  Both methods require high humidity either by misting or covering with a plastic bag.

Once the weather warms up a bit more, these begonias will be again be showing a stunning display.

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6 Comments

  1. Kylee said,

    February 18, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    I too have several Rex begonias and find them fascinating. I’ve never put them outside though. I might have to try that this summer! That Red Robin is gorgeous!

    Thanks, Kylee. I have never grown them inside. Besides the cat, there is never enough sun in the windows because of the house’s orientation to the sun and the large trees. When the others I have get bigger leaves, I will show those, too. Red Robin is truely beautiful.

  2. Nancy said,

    February 18, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Thanks for coming through with the name of the mystery plant. Pink Splash is a lovely name, and I think I’ll be able to remember it. Sigh. Me and plant names — we have a long history….mostly forgotten.

    I love those begonias. I’ve had a devil of a time with begonias. They start out well, but either it’s too humid or too hot, or something likes to eat them, because they die die die on me.

    I’m so glad I’ve had a chance to see your blog. You’re being added to my blogroll.

    I, too, sometimes have problems remembering plant names. I think it is because now I have so many. Thanks for adding me to your blogroll.

  3. Laurie Falcon said,

    June 10, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    I found your page by searching for “begonias, Louisiana”. I purchased a black velvet begonia at the nursery on Hwy 1077 in Madisonville. I’ve never had one of these before and wasn’t sure how well it would do when it gets hotter. Can it get any hotter?…yes it can! I think if Rex begonias do well here, than this one should be just fine.
    Your blog is a delight, I’m having a great time reading about your Southern garden. Thank you.

  4. Jan said,

    June 10, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Hi, Laurie, thanks for stopping by and the nice comment. Given shade, Rex begonias can take our heat. Mine are doing great though I have to water them almost daily now. I’m sure yours will continue to thrive. Just be careful, buying Rex begonia can be addictive.

  5. Kathryn said,

    January 20, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    i was givin a plant in my Plant Propagation class and it turned out to be a Rex Begonia it has holes on the top leaves and it it missing half its leaves it looks like something is eating on it what do you think it may be?? thanks

    • Jan said,

      January 20, 2010 at 6:39 pm

      Sounds like it might be caterpillars, Kathryn. I would check the soil esp. at night when so many caterpillars seem to feast. They can be camouflaged very well and sometimes hard to detect. You can always spray them with BT which will kill the chewing insects. Hope this helps.


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