Types of Begonias: Discover The Diversity of Begonia Flowers

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Begonias, the beloved plants gracing gardens and homes for generations, are a true marvel of nature. And, with their beautiful blooms and unique leaves, begonias offer something for everyone, no matter your style or growing conditions. Luckily there are thousands of types of begonias, so you are sure to find one that suits your growing needs.

This article will talk about the different types of begonias. We will learn how they are grouped and what makes each type special.

So, grab a coffee (and maybe a cookie) and settle in. We have lots of information for you today that we know you will find helpful.

A close up image of a pinky red flowering begonia.
Table of Contents

    Types of Begonias – It Can Be A Bit Confusing

    Begonias are a type of plant that can be evergreen (meaning they keep their leaves all year) or deciduous (meaning they lose their leaves in the winter). They come in different shapes, like shrubs or small trees, and can be grown for just one season or many years.

    We can divide Begonias into seven groups based on growing conditions and habits. However, it is important to note that some begonia types can easily slide into multiple groups.

    For example, Angel Wing Begonias are both tuberous (a description of their root system), shrub-like (the habit they grow), and cane-like ( their flowers bloom on tall canes). The groupings are intended to describe the type of flowering plants and group them by their unique growing habits.

    1. Begonia Semperflorens 
    2.  Shrub Begonias
    3.  Cane Stemmed Begonias
    4.  Tuberous Begonias
    5.  Rex Begonia 
    6.  Rhizomatous Begonias 
    7.  Winter-Flowering Begonias 
    Different types and colors of begonias growing in orange pots.
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    #1 Begonia Semperflorens

    Semperflorens begonias are an extremely popular garden annual. The plants are usually compact, bushy, mounded, fibrous-rooted plants that feature fleshy stems, waxy dark green to bronze leaves, and loose groupings of single or double flowers in shades of white, pink, or red, and sometimes multi-colored.

    The plants require full sun to partial shade for the best blooms. It is also essential to plant begonia semperflorens in well-drained soil to prevent rotting. So try to avoid over-watering.

    In addition, these flowers are perfect for massing in beds and borders as an edger or in window boxes. They make exceptional window box flowers!

    • Tips: Pinch out growing tips to produce fuller and bushier plants to produce more blooms.
    • Unique Interest: Semperflorence begonias will tolerate rabbits, black walnut trees, and relatively dry soil.

    Learn More: Are you having a hard time with rabbits? Check out this article on keeping rabbits out of your garden, without hurting them!

    Semperflorens begonias in the garden.

    Here is a list of some of the most common types of semperflorens begonias, along with a brief description of each:

    Wax Begonia

    This type of semperflorens begonia is also known as the bedding begonia.

    It is a compact, bushy plant that produces bright, shiny green leaves and large groups of orange, red, white, or pink flowers—also known as wax begonias.

    Dragon Wings:

    Dragon wing begonias are hybrids known for their large, wing-shaped leaves and long, arching stems.

    The plant produces clusters of red, white, or pink flowers and is a popular choice for hanging baskets and container gardens.

    Olympia: 

    This type of begonia is a compact plant that produces groups of large, white flowers and dark green leaves. The deep contrast between flowers and leaves creates a vibrant display.

    Place Super Olympia begonias in flower beds, under deciduous trees, or in a moonlit garden where their bright white flowers will sparkle and shine.

    Bonfire: 

    The Bonfire begonia is a compact plant that produces orange flowers on dark stems and leaves.

    The flowers look lovely planted in containers, in partial shade gardens, under taller plants, or placed in a colorful garden bed.

    Metallica: 

    Metallica begonias are compact plants that produce groups of metallic silver or pink blooms with dark green leaves and stems.

    The flowers make lovely bedding plants and look great in pots of all sizes.

    #2 Shrub Begonias

    Shrub-like begonias have many stems and are bushy with bendable erect arched stems. Additionally, leaves may be hairy or fuzzy and grow up to 6 inches wide. 

    The plants produce single flowers in pink, cream, or white blooms.

    You can plant shrub begonias in full sun or partial shade in well-drained soil to prevent rotting. Overwatering can cause root rot.

    Also, you can propagate shrub begonias in spring by seed or stem cuttings.

    Pink color of Begonia grandis, the hardy begonia.

    Different Types of Shrub-Type Begonias:

    Hardy Begonia 

    The Hardy begonia is native to China and Japan. It produces large, dark green foliage and groups of pink or white flowers that bloom in the summer.

    Angel Wing Begonia 

    Angel wing begonias are shrubs that are native to Brazil. The plants produce large, wing-shaped leaves and red, pink, or white flower clusters.

    Winter Begonia 

    Winter Begonia is a shrub native to Southeast Asia. It produces large, glossy leaves often marked with silver, red, or pink and small clusters of pink or white flowers.

    #3 Cane Stemed Begonias

    Cane begonias are evergreen woody perennials often called “angel wings.” The plants have erect cane-like stems with flowers that boom on arching stems.

    Grow canned stemmed begonias in good light (partial sun), but not direct sun, in potting mix. It is best to stake tall plants to protect them from the wind.

    Propagating cane begonia plants can be done in spring from seeds or cuttings.

    • Tip: Pinch out growing tips to encourage branching.
    Dragon wing begonias with bright red flowers and glossy dark green leaves.

    Examples of Cane-Stemmed Begonias

    Angel Wing Begonia: 

    Angel wing begonias are shrub-like begonias that produce red, pink, or white flower clusters on tall canes. Therefore, you can classify angle wing begonias as shrub-like and cane-like.

    Silver Leaf Begonia: 

    Silver-leaf begonias produce tall, upright stems and large, silver-colored leaves.

    These plants produce clusters of pink, red, or white flowers that bloom in the summer.

    Dragon Wing Begonia: 

    Dragon wing begonias are hybrids with large, wing-shaped leaves and long, drooping stems.

    These plants produce pink, red, or white flower clusters and are popular for hanging baskets and container gardens.

    #4 Tuberous Begonias

    Tuberous begonias grow from underground storage structures called tubers. These plants are known for their beautiful and often vibrant colored flowers, which come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, including pink, red, orange, white, and yellow. Tuberous begonias are typically grown annually in most climates, although they may be grown as perennials in warmer areas.

    The leaves of tuberous begonias are large and heart-shaped, and can range in color from green to bronze or even deep purple. The flowers bloom on long stalks and are often doubled and ruffled. These types of begonias have a long blooming period, lasting from late spring to early fall.

    Tuberous begonias prefer partial shade and well-draining soil that is moist but not soggy. They are popular plants for containers, hanging baskets, or bedding plants in shaded garden areas.

    Also important to note – tuberous begonias require regular fertilization and deadheading to encourage continuous blooming throughout the growing season.

    Numerous bright flowers of tuberous begonias (Begonia tuberhybrida) in a garden.

    Examples Of Tuberous Begonias

    Non-Stop Begonia

    Non-stop begonias are hybrids that bloom throughout the growing season, and their brightly colored flowers bloom in shades of pink, red, orange, and yellow.

    Tophat Begonia

    Tophat begonia is a hybrid created by crossing tuberous begonias.

    These begonias are known for their compact growth habit and brightly colored flowers in shades of pink, red, orange, and yellow.

    Big Begonia

    Big Begonias are also hybrids created by crossing tuberous begonias.

    These plants have large, brightly colored flowers in shades of pink, red, orange, and yellow.

    #5 Rex Begonia

    Rex begonias, or Begonia rex-cultorum, are a flowering plant prized for its stunning foliage. These beautiful plants feature large, highly decorative leaves in various colors and patterns, including green, silver, red, and brown. The leaves are often slick and glossy and can be either smooth or slightly textured, depending on the variety.

    Rex begonias come in a variety of available leaf shapes and patterns. For instance, some plants have curly, spiraled leaves, while others have more symmetrical, circular leaves.

    Regarding care, rex begonias are reasonably easy to grow and well-suited for growing indoors. The plants prefer bright, indirect light and moist, well-drained soil. It’s also essential to protect them from drafts and to avoid over-watering, as this can lead to root rot.

    Wildly colored and spotted leaves of a rex type begonia.

    Types Of Rex Begonias

    Escargot Begonia :

    Escargot begonia has spiraled leaves marked with silver and green. They produce small clusters of pink or white flowers that bloom in mid-summer.

    Red Leopard Begonia :

    Red Leopard begonias have large, red leaves marked with silver and green.

    The plants produce small clusters of pink or white flowers that bloom in the summer.

    Picasso Begonia :

    Picasso begonias have large, variegated leaves marked with silver, red, and green. They produce small clusters of flowers.

    #6 Rhizomatous Begonias 

    Rhizomatous begonias are a group of plants that belong to the Begoniaceae family. They are a popular type of ornamental plant due to their beautiful, often colorful foliage and flowers. Rhizomatous begonias get their name from how they grow, producing horizontal stems called rhizomes that grow just below the soil surface. These rhizomes can send out roots and shoots, allowing the plant to spread and form clumps over time.

    The leaves of rhizomatous begonias are typically large and come in various shapes and colors, including green, silver, red, and bronze. Some have distinctive patterns or markings, such as stripes, dots, or spirals. The flowers of rhizomatous begonias are typically small and can come in a range of colors, including pink, white, red, orange, and yellow.

    Rhizomatous begonias prefer bright, indirect light and moist, well-draining soil. They can live for many years with proper care and continue producing beautiful foliage and flowers.

    Begonia maculata in a ceramic pot on the windowsill. The leaves are dark green with bright white spots.

    Types of Rhizomatous Begonias

    Tiger Kitten

    Tiger Kitten begonia is a hybrid with visually striking variegated foliage. The leaves combine green, silver, and burgundy, with some leaves having more of one color than others. The white flowers, which bloom on tall stalks, are small, star-shaped, and pop against the contrast of the dark leaves.

    Sophie Cecile

    The leaves of Sophie Cecile are large, velvety, and dark green with red undersides. The teardrop-shaped leaves can grow up to 8 inches long. The plant produces small pink flower clusters that bloom in the late summer and fall. Sophie Cecile begonias are an excellent choice for containers or as a border plant in a shaded garden.

    Marmaduke

    Marmaduke begonia (what a great name!) is a hybrid variety producing eye-catching bronze-colored foliage with a metallic sheen. The leaves are teardrop-shaped and have a wavy edge.

    Polka Dot

    Polka dot begonias (Begonia maculata) are a type of begonia plant with polka-dotted leaves. The leaves of the polka dot begonia are usually olive green with silvery-white spots.

    #7 Winter-Flowering Begonias

    These hardy begonias are evergreen, low-growing, compact perennials with thin stems. Their flowers appear in late fall until spring.

    This is where it gets confusing, because many winter flowering begonias can also be classified as tuberous.

    The plants come in various shapes, colors, and flowers with bright green or bronze 2-inch long leaves.

    Providing indirect sun or partial shade with consistently moist (not wet) soil is best to get the most out of your winter flowering begonias.

    Cut old stems to 4 inches after flowering. You can propagate Winter flowering begonias in the spring from stem cuttings or seeds.

    Many multi-colored flowers of Elatior begonia.

    Types of Winter Flowering Begonias:

    Lorraine Begonias:

    Lorraine begonias are a hybrid cross between tuberous and fibrous begonias with large, fleshy leaves and brightly colored blooms. These begonias produce large, showy flowers in shades of pink, red, orange, and yellow, and are popular for container gardens due to their compact growth habit. Lorraine begonias prefer partial shade and well-draining soil. These lovely flowering plants make stunning houseplants.

    Christmas Begonias:

    Christmas begonias are fibrous (Begonia semperflorens) that produce blooms throughout the growing season. These plants have small, bright flowers in shades of red, pink, and white. Christmas begonias prefer bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. They are also relatively easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for new gardeners.

    Elaitor Begonias:

    Elaitor begonias are cane begonias (Begonia spp.) with tall, upright stems and large, glossy leaves. These plants produce pink, red, or white flower groups and make beautiful house plants. Elaitor begonias prefer bright, indirect light and consistently moist and well-draining soil. They are relatively easy to grow plants but can attract pests.

    Reiger Begonias

    Reiger begonias have large, glossy leaves and shrubby growth habits. The leaves of the Reiger begonia are dark green and have a slightly wavy edge, giving them a slightly textured appearance.

    In addition, the leaves are usually ovate and can grow up to 6 inches long. Reiger begonias produce groups of small, delicate flowers in various colors, including pink, red, orange, and white. The flowers create a stunning display when the plant is in full bloom.

    Closeup of pink begonia flowers growing in the garden.

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