How to Grow and Care for Begonia Rex Indoors


Begonia rex, Painted-leaf Begonia

Botanical name: Begonia rex
Family: Begoniaceae
Common names: Painted-leaf Begonia, Fancy Leaf Begonia

Description

Begonia Rex commonly called Painted-leaf Begonia or Fancy Leaf Begonia is an easy to grow Begonia which is grown for its foliage display where the large, lop-sided, spectacular leaves occur in various hues.

Fancy Leaf Begonia has a clumping growth habit with the foliage tightly packed together. The leaves arise from rhizomes and may be ruffled, puckered, spotted, streaked, waxy, smooth and so on.

The colors are also very diverse; they may be mixes of greens, silver, white, reds, pinks, yellow, purple, orange, maroon and so on.

Size

Painted-leaf Begonia grows to a height of 1-2 ft and about the same width. It bears large lop-sided leaves about 6-12 in. long and 4-5 in. wide with a hairy leaf stalk.

Origin

The original Begonia Rex originated from India but the species has been replaced by numerous hybrids like Merry Christmas, Silver Queen, Yuletide, Her Majesty among many others.

In their natural habitat Begonias grow as understory plants in moist shady to partially shady conditions in the tropical and subtropical regions in South and Central America, Africa and southern Asia.

Where to Buy

Beautiful and healthy Begonia Rex are available online at Etsy. Buy the spectacular Begonia Rex (Fancy Leaf Begonia) from Etsy.

Begonia rex, Painted-leaf Begonia

Photo Credit: Ecuagenera

Begonia Rex Care Indoors

Begonia Rex grows best in bright, indirect light with some direct sunshine and moderately moist soil. It requires an average warmth and humid conditions inorder to thrive.

The best soil for Painted-leaf Begonia should be free-draining and rich in organic matter. Read on for a detailed account on the best growing conditions for Begonia Rex.

Light Requirements

Begonia Rex grows best in bright light with a few hours of morning or evening sunshine. It can also grow under a grow light where the natural lighting is not adequate.

Keep the Fancy Leaf Begonia away from hot direct sunshine to avoid scorching the leaves.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the Painted-leaf Begonia gets light on all sides for uniform growth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Begonia Rex

For optimum growth of Begonia Rex, keep the soil moist during the growing season but allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

Avoid soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant. Also, avoid wetting the leaves as it may lead to the rotting of the plant.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature

The best temperature for growing Begonia Rex indoors is an average warmth with a minimum of 160C.

Keep Painted-leaf Begonia away from cold draughts to prevent sudden drop in the temperature. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Begonia Rex requires a humid environment for optimum growth. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Check these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Begonia Rex with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing period.

Do not feed during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Begonia Rex every year during the growing season only if it has become pot-bound. The leaves of a pot-bound plant will lose their color.

Use a pot one size larger and one that has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.

You can divide a large Painted-leaf Begonia into several sections and pot each seperately.

Soil

The best soil for Begonia Rex should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for the plant. Purchase quality Potting Mix for Fancy Leaf Begonia from Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning Begonia Rex involves pinching of the growing tips to encourage a compact growth.

Cut back the bare stems at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth. The foliage emanating from the pruning can be used to propagate new plants. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Propagation

Begonia Rex can be propagated from stem cuttings or by plant division at the beginning of the growing season. The stem cuttings root easily, therefore, there is no need for a rooting hormone.

How to propagate Begonia Rex from stem cuttings

Take 4-6 in. long stem cutting from a healthy Begonia Rex. Ensure it bears at least one leaf node. Strip off the lower leaves.

Insert the cuttings in moist, free-draining potting mix and place the set up in a warm, shaded place.

Maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges. Allow the new Painted-leaf Begonia to be well established before transplanting after which you can begin routine care.

How to propagate Begonia Rex by plant division

Divide a large Begonia Rex plant into sections during repotting time while ensuring each section has some roots.

Pot each section into individual pots in moist, free-draining potting mix and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist through out until the new plant is well established.

Allow the new Painted-leaf Begonia to be well established before transplanting it after which routine care can begin.

Begonia rex, Painted-leaf Begonia

Photo Credit: Ball Seed

Begonia Rex Problems Indoors

Begonia Rex problems indoors are caused by cultural faults and they include; yellow leaves, pests, brown leaf tips, leaf drop among others. Continue reading for the remedies and solutions.

Yellow leaves

Yellow leaves in Begonia Rex are due to two possible reasons. One possible cause of yellow leaves is too little light.

Move the Painted-leaf Begonia to a brighter spot as it prefers bright light with some morning or evening sunlight. It can also grow under a grow light.

The second possible cause of yellow leaves in Fancy Leaf Begonia is too little or too much water.

Maintain the soil moist at all times but not soggy and never allow the soil to dry out completely. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Leaf drop

There are three possible causes of leaf drop in Begonia Rex. The first possible cause of leaf drop is too little light.

Move the plant to a brighter spot as it grows best in bright light with some morning or evening sunlight. It can also grow under a grow light.

The second possible cause of leaf drop in Painted-leaf Begonia is too much heat. The best temperature for Begonia Rex is an average room temperature, that is, a temperature that is comfortable for you is good for the plant.

The third possible cause of leaf drop in Begonia Rex is too much water in the soil (soggy soil). Ensure the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Brown leaf tips

If the air humidity is too low, Begonia Rex will respond with brown leaf tips.

Raise humidity by seting the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Do not mist the leaves to avoid fungal diseases infestations. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Pale, rotting leaves

The reason for pale, rotting leaves in Begonia Rex is soggy soil. Maintain the soil moist but not soggy. Ensure the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

White powdery spots

White powdery spots is an indication of Powdery Mildew in Begonia Rex.

Isolate the affected plant, cut off the diseased leaves and treat it appropriately for Powdery Mildew. Avoid damp conditions and low temperatures and improve air circulation.

Brown blotches which turn grey and moldy

Brown blotches which turn grey and moldy is an indication of Botrytis Disease in Begonia Rex.

Isolate the affected Painted-leaf Begonia, cut off diseased parts and treat it appropriately. Avoid low light and over damp conditions and improve air circulation.

Plant collapse or death

There are three possible causes of plant collapse in Begonia Rex. One possible cause of plant collapse is Stem rot disease caused by soggy soil.

The second possible cause of plant collapse in Painted-leaf Begonia is Nematodes (Root Knot Eelworm) which are characterized by swollen bumps on roots.

The third possible cause of plant collapse in Fancy Leaf Begonia is Vine Weevil which is characterized by tunnels in the rhizomes.

Pests

The common pests in Begonia Rex are Aphids and Spider Mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the disease.

Is Begonia Rex toxic?

Begonia Rex is toxic to humans and pets. If the foliage is ingested it can cause burning in the mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

The roots are highly toxic if ingested. If handled with bare hands, the sap may cause contact dermatitis. Therefore, always wear gloves when handling Painted-leaf Begonia.

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