February 26, 2014

Beautiful Begonias In The Greenhouse

Although there are thousands of species and varieties of begonias, they’re usually divided into groups based on the differing root structures of the plants.  Some are classified as tuberous, and others as fibrous.  But it’s the rhizomatous begonias that make stunning houseplants all year long because of the amazing colors, shapes, sizes, and textures of their foliage.  Leaves can be a half-inch across or measure more than a full foot.  They can be rounded, star-shaped, or look like bird wings.  Their texture can be smooth and glossy, or soft and fuzzy.  And although the foliage is often green and red, it can be splashed with silver, purple, and even pink.

These begonias are called rhizomatous because of their thick, fleshy stems, called rhizomes, which either spread out over the soil, or rise up in short gnarled trunks.  And new leaves can grow from every joint of the rhizome to form a solid canopy of foliage.  During the winter months, the plants will flower, but compared to the extravagant foliage, the blooms are modest.  Rhizomatous begonias are remarkably pest resistant, and thrive in warm temperatures, in bright, indirect sunlight.  And because the rhizomes store up quite a bit of moisture, the biggest mistake people make with these plants is over-watering.

By the way, a good source for begonias and many other tropical plants is Logee's.