Flowers always make people better and happier and; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul”. Begonias are one flower species that come to mind.
Begonias are a type of flowering plant that belong to the family Begoniaceae.
People love to cultivate begonias because of their brightly coloured flowers and decorative leaves.
One commonly asked question by those new to gardening is “Do Begonias need full sun?”.
Cultivation of these plants doesn’t require too much effort, which additionally increases their popularity among gardeners.
Begonias are flamboyant perennials that are used in bedding, pot and hanging basket displays.
They have a reputation for being a little old fashioned, but there are new varieties which are very different to the delicate plants that were originally used in garden arrangements.
Some have masses of durable, ornate flowers in neon shades that are great for pots and hanging baskets, while others are grown for their spectacular, captivating foliage.
All begonias do best out of direct sun, so they are a welcome addition to a shady veranda.
Popular Types of Begonias and their description:
Begonias,like other flowers,have many breeds. The most popular ones are described below:
Wax begonias have fleshy stems, shiny, rounded, green or reddish-brown leaves and grow in a heap pattern. They bloom with one to half inch single or double flowers in shades of red,pink, or white.
Wax begonias are typically grown as annuals, reaching 6 to 12 inches tall and wide. These are the begonias that need full sun to grow well.
Tuberous begonias come in two forms:either upright or creeping ,and have green or burgundy leaves. Their single, double or ruffled flowers bloom in shades of pink, yellow, orange, red, or white.
They also have a larger growth habit than wax begonias, growing 12 to 18 inches tall as houseplants and up to 3 feet or more in outdoor containers.
Angel Wing Begonias
Angel wing begonias are named for the shape of their leaves.The dark green leaves have specks or streaks on them.
The underside of the leaves is usually deep red.Go for medium light to encourage more spots.
The largest class, rhizomatous begonias are distinguished by relatively thick stems, or rhizomes, that grow horizontally near the soil surface and sprout new roots and leaves.
They also have some of the most interesting leaves and stems and are often grown as houseplants. Sizes vary from just a few inches to large plants up to 3 feet tall and wide.
Rieger begonias are a cross between wax begonias and tuberous begonias. They really are the best of both worlds.
Riegers have the fleshy leaves of wax begonias, and the large rosettes of flowers that tuberous begonias have.Originally they were considered a winter blooming flower.
They required shorter, cooler nights in order to bloom. However, the new introductions bloom all summer long.
Dragon Wing Begonias
Dragon wing begonias are often confused with the Angel wing begonia.
A useful tip in differentiating these two types are,Angel Wing begonia has spots or a frosted pattern on the leaves whereas the leaves of Dragon Wing do not have any variation.
Another reason for the Dragon’s popularity is its high tolerance for heat and humidity. These begonias need full sun.
Less widely known, but quite lovely, is the hardy begonia (Begonia grandis). It is a perennial species that will survive freezing winters.
This begonia has bright green heart-shaped leaves and dangling clusters of delicately fragrant pink or white flowers.
In the proper growing conditions, hardy begonia will thrive with minimal gardening effort. Plant it in partial or full shade where it will not receive any direct sunlight.
Other Begonias worthy of mention are:
Polka dot begonia
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Are Begonias Better in Sun or Shade?
The debate of full sun or shade is so important because excessive sun or shade can seriously damage plants.
Most begonias do not require very much full sun. Constant full sun, especially in hotter climates, is often bad for these alluring flowers.
Its good to understand that generally,most begonias do better in shade. Only two species can really tolerate sun and these will be explained later.
How Much Sun Do Begonias Need?
Ideally,four hours of sun daily is sufficient for begonias, although they will tolerate up to six.The best time to provide full sun for your begonias is in the morning when the heat and the strength of the sun are not as intense.
Select a location receiving more direct morning or evening sunlight than afternoon sun.
Indirect sunlight is usually adequate for begonias to grow and flourish.
Sun-loving begonias are:
Wax begonia and Dragon wing begonia
Shade-loving begonias are:
Solenia Dusty Rose Begonia
Solenia Light Pink
Ballet Rex Begonia and so many more.
Which Begonias Tolerate Full Sun?
Resilient begonias like shade but will tolerate sunlight,unlike others.There are only two varieties of begonia flowers that need full sun.
Wax begonias and Dragon wing begonias should have up to 8 hours of full sun for the best results.
Wax begonia varieties with bronze colored foliage are the best for full-sun conditions. Wax begonia can tolerate more than 60°F.
Moving your dragon wing plant outdoors for the summer will give it more blooming power. Dragon wing begonia can tolerate a minimum of 55°F(13°C).
How Often Should Begonias Be Watered?
Like every other plant,Begonias need water to survive.However, Begonias will not perform well in oversaturated soil.
Their tuberous root systems are highly susceptible to rot when unable to dry out after rainfall or hand watering.
It is recommened that your begonias should be watered once every 2 to 4 days.
You should water in the early morning.
This allows time for the soil to dry slowly through the rest of the day.
For potted plants, use soil mixed with plenty of vermiculite or perlite to allow it to drain excess water. Both vermiculite and perlite are minerals which absorb water.
Vermiculite,though, has higher water-holding capacity.
WIth the knowledge of which begonias need full sun,you can now go about making sure that they are as healthy as possible.
So how do you keep begonias growing and blooming strong all summer long? It all comes down to taking care of four key elements :
1.Providing good soil that drains well
2.Selecting a suitable location(shade,partial shade or full sun)
3.Providing adequate water
4.Supplying plenty of nutrients for blooms and flowers.
If those four needs are met, your begonias are almost certain to flourish!