Are begonias better in sun or shade?

December, 2023
Darren Spalding

Many of the new varieties bloom non-stop and some do well in full sun or partial shade. And in the boliviensis group of begonias, there are even more choices, including warm yellows, reds, oranges, whites and pinks. And in the begonia boliviensis group, there are even more choices, including warm yellows, reds, oranges, whites and pinks. The metallic-leaved begonia belongs to the Begoniaceae (begonias) family.

They are characterized by their fleshy stems and are grown primarily for their showy flowers or colorful leaves. The genus contains more than 2,000 different plant species. In colder climates, some species are grown outdoors in summer for their showy flowers, which have sepals but no petals. This group of heat-loving plants was originally found in the forest understory of tropical and subtropical forests.

Now that you've learned how to grow begonias each year, you can take advantage of this cheerful plant in the summer landscape.

Do begonias come back every year?

After overwintering your begonias indoors, you may be eager to bring them back outside in the spring. While some may consider begonias common, there's a reason they're seen so often: they're easy, inexpensive, hardy and work wonderfully in a wide variety of situations. On the other hand, there are other species of begonias, such as some of the tuberous-rooted ones, that can overwinter successfully with proper protection. Once established, begonias are surprisingly drought tolerant, but be sure to keep new transplants well watered for the first month or so.

These begonias will also produce new tubers during the growing season that will then drop to the ground in the fall. On the other hand, if the begonia tubers overwintered, you should wait to repot them in your garden until the soil has warmed up to 60° F. As a veteran of the hottest areas, a begonia will survive, but it will look ghostly with bleached leaves and a tired appearance when it gets too hot outside. If you can't get the whole pot in, you can lift the begonia tubers and store them as described in the "Tips for Overwintering Begonias" section.

Is it an indoor or outdoor begonia?

According to the American Begonia Society, there are seven different types of begonias, divided primarily based on their species and growth habit. Tuberous begonias (on the right) are popular with outdoor gardeners because of the wonderful display of flowers they make during the summer that last for months on end. While wax begonias and tuberous begonias are common landscape plants in Iowa, the rest are more commonly grown as houseplants. Rieger begonias prefer slightly cooler growing temperatures than other types; therefore, you often see more of these begonias in garden centers and flower shops in late winter.

Begonias can be grown as houseplants or you can overwinter the tubers, depending on the type you have. Another impressive thing that makes begonias easy to care for is that they don't tend to have many problems with houseplant pests. In most cases, problems with begonias are due to a watering problem, either too much or too little, and often it is the former.

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