Native to the subtropical and tropical climates, Wax Begonia belongs to a large genus that consists of over 2000 annual, woody and perennial shrub species.
The plants have fibrous roots easily differentiated with their bushy and compact rounded shape, bronze or dark green wax leaves, and flesh stems.
The Wax Begonia plant bears loose flower clusters that bloom through the summer months and into fall.
What is Wax Begonia Plant?
Originally from Brazil, Wax Begonia or the Begonia semperflorens are winter hardy that grows in the 10-11 zones. These however are annuals in many places. Also referred to as fibrous begonia, the plant is non-invasive with a succulent growth habit that branches from the base and possesses fibrous roots.
|Botanical Name||Begonia (Semperflorens Cultorum Group)|
|Common Name||Wax Begonia|
|Plant Type||Herbaceous perennial but planted as annual frequently|
|Plant Size & Spread||Spread 6-12 inches. Size 6-18 inch tall|
|Bloom Time||All through summer and into fall|
|Flower colour||White, red, pink, bicolors|
|Toxicity||Non-toxic to human beings but toxic to animals|
Wax Begonia Varieties
Almost all the Wax Begonia plants that you find today are the hybrid of their ancestor, B. cucullata earlier known as the B. semperflorens. The plant was bred extensively in the past. The physical characteristic of the plant is dependent on the breeder but the plants have hybridized to offer various heights and colors.
1. Super Olympia
This is a Wax Begonia plant variety that flowers white, red, and pink large blooms early.
This variant is great to grow in pots and produces white, red, or pink flowers.
3. Paint Splash Pink
This plant hybrid has green and showy foliage with some cream spots on it. The plant has unique-looking pale-colored pink flowers.
4. Victory series
The plant variety has leaves that are showy and large with bronze colors.
5. Cocktail series
This is a dwarf variety that grows 6 to 8 inches tall.
Things to Consider about Wax Begonia Plant
Growing Conditions for Wax Begonia plant
- When to Plant Wax Begonia?
Wax Begonia is easily propagated with seeds and is best planted in the summer or early fall months.
Most of the begonia plant varieties are subtropical or tropical plants and grow as perennials. It is ideal to transplant your Wax Begonia plant in the flower garden during late spring when there is no danger of frost.
- How Long Does Wax Begonia Take to Grow?
With an ideal temperature and environmental conditions, you can see your Wax Begonia plant start growing in 15 to 20 days.
- Select a place where your plant will enjoy afternoon shade especially if your area is prone to harsh sunlight.
- The soil should be well-drained and moist.
- There should be enough place to sow the seeds 8 inches apart. You can place the tubers placing them with their hollow side up at a distance of 1 inch apart in a shallow tray that contains some moist potting mix. The tray should be placed in a dark room giving enough water to let the potting mix stay moist.
- Take care to ensure that the water is not soggy. You will see the tuber start to sprout in 4 weeks after which it can be removed and placed in an area where it gets bright light.
Benefits of Growing Wax Begonia Plant in Your Garden
Here are some benefits of growing Wax Begonia in your garden.
- The plant is easy to care for.
- They have beautiful foliage and flowers which stand as a contrast to other plants in your garden.
- Wax Begonia is a valuable plant creating a focal point in the garden with very little maintenance.
- The plant species are popular with a plethora of varieties available today.
- Wax Begonia can be grown in varied landscapes and also in containers.
Are Wax Begonia plants Toxic?
Wax Begonia is generally not toxic but these do contain calcium oxalates which can cause mild or severe poisoning in animals. These toxins are usually present in the plant roots.
The common symptoms of Wax Begonia poisoning include salivation, vomiting, and kidney failure. Fatality is rare but is something that you need to be watchful about if you grow Wax Begonia in your garden and have pets at home.
How to Grow Wax Begonia Plant?
The Wax Begonia plant grows fast and fills the garden with its bright and attractive foliage and flowers. They are the focal point of any garden.
- Once you have chosen the landscape ensure that the spot is full sunlight to a shaded location. If the plant gets full sun then this could stress the plant during the summer months making them prone to diseases.
- When you place the plant in the hanging basket or on the flower bed then the only care that needs to be taken is to keep the soil moist, water the plants correctly, and deadhead the blooms. The soil should be moist but not wet.
- Using potting mix is recommended as it leaves out the guesswork. The Wax Begonia plant should be watered at the base avoiding the leaf spot and reducing the possibility of any fungal disease.
Wax Begonia Care Guide
Wax Begonia prefers bright and filtered sunlight. The bronze leaf variety tolerates the harsh sun much better than its green leaf variant. If you plant the Wax Begonia indoors then give them the maximum possible light. Keep them in the South-facing or East-West position for it to get the optimum amount of sunlight.
When planted outdoors, Wax Begonia will need at least 1 inch of water per week. It is best to apply a thick mulch layer that retains water between two watering. If kept indoors, water the plant when you see the soil dried up. ½ an inch of water is sufficient.
When the plant is established then it will need less water and stay between watering for long. Water the plant thoroughly and leave the pot to drain the excess water completely. The plant should not sit in water which will cause the root to root.
The plant grows well at a daily temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal night temperature should be in the mid-60s. However, the plant is capable of tolerating high temperatures if it is well protected from the harsh sun rays.
The plant can thrive in humidity when planted outdoors. The indoor plants however do not like high humidity as they develop mildew on their leaves.
Wax Begonia needs moist but well-drained soil with a soil pH of 5.5–6.5 which makes it slightly acidic. When potted indoors, the plant needs light, airy, and fast-draining soil.
Wax Begonia cannot withstand cold temperatures thus they need to be cared for in the winter months. Placing the potted plant indoors before the onset of winter is best for it to enjoy continuous growth. Acclimatizing the plant early reduces stress.
Place the plant in warm and bright light. Frost kills the Wax Begonia plant so keep it inside till the threat is over.
Pinching off any old blooms and keeping the plant free from old and brown leaves keeps the plant looking vibrant.
Wax Begonia cleans itself so deadheading may not be needed. The plant drops its faded flowers on its own. However, if you want the plant to produce more stems then deadheading is encouraged.
Garden plants need a liquid or granular fertilizer once every month. The indoor plants need fertilization weekly when given in a quarter strength and biweekly when given in half strength. At every fourth feeding make sure that you use a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus content.
Apply a 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer to enjoy a healthy plant with abundant bloom. The fertilizer should be poured into the base instead of spraying it on the plant directly. Else it could cause injury to the stems and leaves of some species.
The plant species propagates with leaf tip cuttings easily. The cutting should be without the bloom, at least two nodes, and should be buried in the moist soil potting mix. Leave it in a warm and shaded spot until you see new growth. The best time to take the cutting is in the spring season.
Pests & Diseases
The plant is susceptible to botrytis, mildew, and stem rot which are common where the air circulation is poor and the weather condition is humid.
The insects and pests that commonly attack this plant are thrips and mealybugs which are easily treated with insecticidal soap.
Wax Begonia is a popular bedding plant that creates a lush flower bed. They are durable and provide a sweeping color to your garden either in a single or double bloom. The plant species is a perfect addition to an indoor as well as an outdoor garden. It easily blends in all gardens and landscapes, and if properly planted and cared for then this plant species can let you appreciate its rich foliage all around your garden.