Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Begonia




There are over 1000 species of Begonia. This one had no id.

These grow only in tropical temperatures, preferring 60′-85′ but do quite well through Houston summers. It will not likely survive the winter outside. You can pot it up and bring it inside or cut off a leaf, put the stem in a small pot of dirt and start a new plant to put outside next spring. Treat it just as you would an African Violet cutting that you are rooting.

This one thrived through the fall and held its own despite a slight frost and a few nights into the 30s and 40sright through December. In January it gave up.

Begonias are very prone to bacteria and fungal infections. Unless it is a prize plant the best option is to get rid of the plant. You might find a leaf that is not infected and begin a new plant that way, but the best choice is to get rid of the plant.

An interesting fact about begonias is that they always have asymmetrical leaves.  Take a closer look next time you see one.

Despite all this begonias remain a very popular summer annual in Houston.

Begonias are named after their discoverer, Michel Begon. Most of our begonias began as natives in South America, in the mountains. The tuberous begonias, most often used in gardens, are favorites of North Korea’s fearless leader and great tracts of land are given over to growing them there.

Begonias first reached Europe in the mid-1800s and quickly became popular there as they still are today.

Things to watch for:

-grey mold: first appears as brown spots on leaves, and progresses to a mold like texture during cool, wet weather. This is a fungus, treat with fungicide.

– powdery mildew:  White, powdery substance appears on leaves.  Use a fungicide. Powdery mildew only grows between 42’F and 70F so it should cure itself in the summer and winter.

-leaf spot: brown leaf spots appear on leaves, leaves may yellow.  Occurs during warm, humid weather. This is a fungus, treat with a fungicide.

-bacterial leaf spot: blisters appear on leaves, may have a slimy substance in blisters.  Remove diseased parts of plant and treat with a copper based disinfectant

– root rot: – repot and quit watering so much.

– mealy bugs: wash them off or treat with orange oil.

– cold – this plant died back to the ground in the winter. A begonia appeared in its place in the spring but not the same begonia. One begonia is often grown on another root stalk.

More information:
Brad’s Begonia World
American Begonia Society