Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


Flowers &
Indoor Plants

Fruits & Nuts



Special Topics



Cornell University

Begonia; Wax Begonia
Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum
(buh-go-nya sem-per-flor-enz - kull-tor-um)

Click on thumbnails for larger image.

What about it?

The Begonia is head of the Begoniaceae Family which has over a thousand species of mostly perennial, tropical plants. Begonias are named after M. Begon,(1638-1710), the Governor of French Canada and a patron of botany. The Wax Begonia is an annual with glossy, ovate leaves that are 24" long. The flowers have four rose-red to whitish petals.

What is it used for?

Because of its glossy green to reddish-brown foliage, the Begonia is considered a showy plant. It is a compact plant and does well as bedding, border, edging, or in containers or boxes. Potted Begonias can be taken indoors for the winter months.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

Begonias like moist, fertile, well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. (Use your compost in Begonia beds.) They prefer partial shade but will tolerate more sun if there is plenty of moisture in the soil. They should be spaced 6" apart.

What are its primary problems?

Begonia is susceptible to botrytis blight, so watch out for that gray mold. Also, bacterial spot and root rot could become a problem.

How do we propagate it?

Sow begonia seeds 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Begonia cuttings can be planted outside in the spring.

Previous Next

Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.