Wax begonias (Begonia semperflorens) are fibrous root begonias that are the most popular perennial plants grown indoors and in flower beds. In summer, the bronze leaf begonia will produce many blooms, and the rest of the year it will bloom with single flowers. Bronze leaf begonias are available in many different varieties, and begonia blooms come in pink, white, bicolor and red. Bronze leaf begonias grow from 6 to 18 inches tall and have a spread of 6 to 12 inches. Growing begonias from seed is difficult due to their tiny size, and they can take two to three weeks to germinate. Once bronze leaf begonias are established, however, they require little care and will continue to produce beautiful blooms year-round.
Things You'll Need
- Bronze leaf begonia seedlings or cuttings
- General purpose fertilizer
- Liquid fertilizer
Pick an area of the garden that receives full sun to partial shade during the hottest part of the day. Begonias need rich, well-drained soil that can be neutral or slightly acidic. If grown indoors, place them in a sunny window.
Mix compost in the garden soil well before planting begonia seedlings. Plant seedlings outdoors when all threat of frost has passed. Space seedlings 12 inches apart in the flower bed. Plant the begonia seedlings in a hole deep and wide enough to cover the roots without damaging them. Lightly pat soil back into place.
Water soil until moist after planting, and allow the soil to dry between waterings. Keep soil moist when the begonias are in the growing season, then cut back watering when the plants are out of the growing season.
Fertilize indoor begonias once a month with a liquid fertilizer. Outdoor begonias need a general purpose fertilizer once a month.
Prune dead stems, flowers, leaves and long stems from bronze leaf begonias. This will allow the begonias to grow fuller and bushier.
Tips & Warnings
- Water begonias at the ground rather than letting the water fall on the plant and leaves.
- Bronze leaf begonias can be dug up from the garden and put into a pot for wintering indoors. Be sure to cut the plant back by one-third so it will continue to bloom all winter long.
- Transition outdoor begonias to the indoors by putting them in a sunny window. Gradually, move them away from the sunlight. Leaf drop is common during the adjustment, but it should only take a week or two for the begonias to adjust to lesser light and the dry air inside.
- Avoid watering bronze leaf begonias with salty water, as this will burn the begonia and damage the roots of the plant.
- Bring outdoor potted begonias indoors if there is a threat of frost. A light frost will kill begonia plants.
Begonias can develop several fungal diseases, bacterial leaf spot or a viral disease. Some are treatable if caught early.
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