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How to Care For Begonias

June 14, 2022


To Your Garden!

Begonias add bright color and a tropical look to patios, entrances, and porches with their showy, often ruffled, flowers and lush foliage. Ideal for containers, hanging baskets, and window boxes, these easy-care plants grow best in the shade or partial shade, though some varieties may tolerate some sun. Begonias can also be planted in flower beds and borders. Their blooms are a welcome sign of summer–and they continue flowering until frost in the fall.

 As a bonus, these versatile plants are deer resistant, so you can plant them in areas that have had problems with nibblers during the summer months.

Amstel Blitz Hiemalis Begonia

Sun or Shade

Begonias are tender annuals, and need to be planted after the frost has ended in the Spring. They love warmer temperatures and can be damaged when it dips below 50’F.

Plant both annual and perennial begonia types in partial shade, with moist, well-drained soil high in organic content. They need bright light to flower, but too much direct sunlight may scorch the leaves. Ideally, choose a site with morning sun and afternoon shade or dappled sunlight beneath an open tree canopy. Bronze leaf wax begonias offer the best sun tolerance, while greenleaf plants need more protection.


Begonias thrive in soil that is neither dry nor saturated. Your goal is to find a moisture level and watering schedule that is just right. A good rule of thumb is to water every two to four days.
When it’s hot and dry you’ll need to water more often than when the air cools down and the soil holds more moisture. Begonia plants in full sun will also require more water than plants in shady locations. And since container plants tend to dry out faster than those in the ground, you’ll want to keep an extra close eye on begonias in planters and window boxes

Super Olympia Rose Begonia
Rex Begonia Red Kiss


Begonias prefer a balanced fertilizer, meaning that the fertilizer is neutral rather than acidic or basic. Work a slow-release granular fertilizer into the ground where you plan to plant your begonias.

Read and follow the label’s directions for the amount to use.

Repeat the fertilizer application in three months by gently working it in the soil around the plants.

Use a water-soluble fertilizer for blooming plants once a week if you do not use a granular fertilizer.


Remove dead flowers and leaves frequently. Doing this will ensure that the healthy parts of the plant are free to keep growing.

Cut back your begonias. Cut back bedding or fibrous begonias to 3″(7.6 cm) every 4 months in mild climates where there is no frost to renew the plants. This will ensure that they continue to grow and remain healthy.Bring in bedding begonias that were growing outside to grow inside for the winter. Dig them before the first frost and pot them. Cut the plants back to about 3″ to start new growth. See indoor care above.

Funky Orange Begonia


Tuberous begonias are grown from round, fleshy tubers. They have big, showy flowers in bright shades of pink, yellow, orange, red, and white, throughout summer and into autumn. They make excellent pot and hanging basket plants, as some of the trail. As they won’t survive in cold weather, the tubers are often planted as annuals each year, or dug up and stored indoors for the winter.

Fibrous-rooted begonias, as their name suggests, have a typical root ball of thin, fibrous roots. They include the dwarf bedding types, known as wax begonias (Begonia semperflorens), and tend to have smaller leaves and flowers. They can be grown in containers and window boxes or as bedding at the front of a shady border. They are usually treated as annuals and discarded at the end of the season.

Hardy begonias can be left in the ground in winter in sheltered, warm locations.

Foliage begonias are grown for their spectacular leaves, which come in a range of shapes, colors, and patterns. They include the cane types (with upright stems that have different segments, like a bamboo cane, also known as angel wing begonias thanks to their beautiful leaves). They are popular as house plants but are increasingly grown outside in summer, where they will bring a jungle, exotic look to a patio or shady border. The Rex begonia (Begonia rex) has the showiest leaves of all, while Begonia luxurians, the palm-leaf begonia, looks like a palm tree and can reach 3m tall.

2022 MVG Varieties