There are a huge number of varieties and types of begonias. Some bloom magnificently, others enchant with their painted leaves. We can safely say that begonias are plants for all occasions. Some species and varieties are well adapted to outdoor conditions. There are begonias that are traditionally grown in rooms. And many plants are versatile: they are suitable for both the garden and the home. How to grow begonias indoors, read this article.
Begonia. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com sara
Botanical description of the plant and its species
Among begonias, there are annual and perennial grasses, shrubs (occasionally climbing) or shrubs with a creeping or tuberous thickened rhizome, sometimes with a tuber. Leaves are usually asymmetrical, often beautifully colored (especially in cultivated species). Flowers are irregular, unisexual, monoecious. Tepals are unequal, brightly colored; the fruit is a box.
Genus begonia (Begonia) – the largest and most famous in the family of begonias, numbering over 1000 species. Begonias are widespread in tropical humid forests, as well as in the mountains at an altitude of 3000-4000 m above sea level, less often in dry habitats of tropical and subtropical regions.
Most of the species of begonias are in South America, the range of which in the north reaches Mexico. In Asia, begonias grow in the Eastern Himalayas, the mountainous regions of India, South India, the Malay Archipelago and the island of Sri Lanka. In Africa, begonias gravitate towards its wettest western part.
The data from the studies have shown that there are relationships between species inhabiting Africa and America. There is even an opinion that it was Africa that was the continent from which begonias spread to Asia and America in the distant past. In terms of the number of growing species of begonias, Africa ranks third in the world.
Requirements for growing begonias
soil: 2-3 parts of leafy land, 1 part each of sand, peat and humus.
Lighting: bright, but not in direct sunlight.
Watering: Abundant in summer, moderate in winter or after flowering.
Additional fertilizing: from spring to autumn in 1-2 weeks with liquid fertilizers.
Trimming: after flowering, the stems are cut.
Transfer: in the spring.
Reproduction: leafy cuttings root easily or tubers.
Begonias are quite unpretentious, disease-resistant plants, but for good development and a beautiful appearance, they need proper care. First of all, this concerns air humidity. All begonias require high humidity. To ensure the desired moisture content, the pot is recommended to be placed in wet peat or on a tray with water, but so that the pot is not in water. To do this, pebbles are poured onto a tray or the pot is placed on an inverted saucer.
It is advisable to spray the air around the begonias, but at the same time make sure that drops do not fall on flowers and leaves. Moderation is the main requirement of such a flower as begonia. Caring for it implies a moderate temperature – preferably about +20 degrees in summer, not lower than +15 in winter; bright diffused light, but not direct sunlight.
In winter, begonias in the morning and in the evening can be exposed in a sunlit place for several hours. The exception is ever-flowering begonia. It tolerates well both shade and bright sunlight. Watering should also be moderate. The soil should be moist, but not wet. From spring to autumn, during the period of growth and flowering, it is necessary to water as the earthen coma dries, and in winter, reduce watering.
During the growing season, it is advisable to feed the plant at least twice with full mineral fertilizers. To extend the flowering period of begonias (especially tuberous ones), it is necessary to remove female flowers at the very beginning of their development. (Female flowers are not double, with a 3-lobed seed capsule under the sepals). To improve the formation of tubers in tuberous begonias, new buds must be cut in September so that the plant does not waste energy on flowering.
Reproduction of begonias
All begonias reproduce well by stem or leaf cuttings, by dividing the bush. Tuberous begonias propagate by tubers or seeds. The propagation of begonias with tubers is carried out as follows: in the fall, the tubers are taken out of the ground, the stems are cut, cleaned from the ground and stored in sand or in peat so that the tubers do not dry out, at a temperature of + 8-10 ° C.
Begonia tubers are planted in pots from February to May, depending on when they want to get a flowering plant. For germination, they are planted in small pots with sandy soil, into which the tubers are deepened only half. Water the begonias very sparingly. Germination is slow (up to several weeks). Roots appear first and only then shoots. As soon as the shoots appear, sprinkle the tubers with earth and rearrange them on a light warm windowsill.
Seed propagation of begonias is quite troublesome. The best sowing time is from December to March. Sow in bowls with leafy soil, a mixture of such soil with peat and sand, or directly into peat. The seeds of begonias are very small, so they do not need to be buried, but only slightly pressed down. Seedlings appear in two weeks. They must be dived 2-3 times.
The grown begonias are planted with a clod of earth in small pots. In July-August, such plants bloom, and by winter they manage to form tubers. Leafy begonias are easily propagated by leaf cuttings or by dividing the bush when transplanting.
For a leaf cutting, take a leaf at the base of the plant. The length of the cutting of begonia is desirable at least 5 cm. Rooting will go better if phytohormones are used. The stalk is buried so that the leaf does not touch the soil.
The soil is moistened and crushed around the cutting. Stem cuttings of begonias are rooted in the same way as leaf cuttings, but the stem cuttings should be at least 7 cm in length. Cuttings should be planted as soon as possible in the ground, without allowing the cut to dry out. The best time for cuttings is spring, early summer.
Diseases and pests of begonia
With errors in care, begonia can shed leaves and buds. The reason for this is most likely a lack of moisture in the soil and air humidity around the plant. In this case, the tips of the leaves first turn brown and, if not watering, begin to fall off.
The pale color of the leaves indicates insufficient lighting. With excessive humidity, especially at low temperatures, begonia can be affected by gray mold. At the same time, light mold appears on the leaves, which is caused by a fungus. The affected parts of the plant must be removed, and the remaining part must be treated with a fungicide. Powdery mildew also belongs to fungal diseases. With this disease, the leaves are covered with a white coating.
The spread of powdery mildew on begonias is facilitated by dry air, sharp temperature fluctuations and drafts. The affected plant is pollinated with ground sulfur or sprayed with colloidal sulfur diluted in water. A solution of 1% concentration. It is necessary to process the plant outdoors. The air temperature should be at least +25 degrees. You can treat the plant with a fungicide.
The most common pests that settle on begonias are spider mites (red spiders) and aphids (very small insects). Both mites and aphids live on the back of the leaf and feed on its juices. The mite is destroyed by spraying and washing the underside of the leaves with a mild soapy solution of tobacco or a soapy solution of Dalmatian chamomile.
You can treat the plant with preparations containing pyrethrum or an insecticide. The mite spreads quickly in dry air at high temperatures. Aphids are also destroyed by drugs with pyrethrum. The treatment must be repeated until the destruction of the pests.
The most interesting thing is that begonia is one of the few plants that can delight us with their flowering even in winter.