Botanical name: Begonia semperflorens
Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens) is a small leafy bush which blooms almost the year round. It is easy to grow and easily adapts to indoor growing conditions.
Wax Begonia hybrids have a wide range of flower types in red, white, orange and pink. Newer hybrids are regularly developed which are more compact and have bigger blooms.
Wax Begonia grows to about 6-12 in. high and is the easiest to grow of the flowering Begonias. The hybrids have round waxy leaves about 2 in. across, ranging from greenish-yellow to deepest red.
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.
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Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens) thrives in bright, indirect light with some direct sunshine, average warmth, humid conditions and moderately moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with fortnightly feeding during the growing season.
Begonia semperflorens needs repotting only when it has become extremely pot-bound as it grows best when slightly root-bound.
Pruning is required to keep it neat, to reduce pest and disease infestations and to rejuvenate growth. Read on for a detailed account on the best growing conditions and how to provide them.
Wax Begonia grows best in bright light with a few hours of morning or evening sunlight but away from hot direct sunshine to avoid scorching the leaves.
Occasionally turn the pot to ensure that the plant is getting light on all sides for uniform growth.
Begonia semperflorens can also grow under a grow light where the natural lighting is not sufficient.
Water Wax Begonia during the growing season but allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to keep the soil moist.
Reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Avoid soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.
Confirm that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
Avoid wetting the leaves as it may lead to the rotting of the plant or water from the bottom instead.
The best temperature for growing Wax Begonia indoors is an average warmth with a minimum of 140C. Keep it away from cold draughts to prevent sudden drop in temperature.
Wax Begonia prefers a humid environment for optimum growth. To elevate humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
Regularly clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Do not mist the plant as wetting the leaves may lead to fungal diseases.
Feed Wax Begonia with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing period for lush growth.
To promote flowering, apply a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer weekly when buds begin to form.
Do not feed the plant during the cold season as growth is reduced at this time, therefore, the plant doesnot need it.
Repot Wax Begonia at the beginning of the growing period only if the plant has become root-bound or is too large for the pot as the plant blooms more when root-bound.
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 and eventual death of the plant.
Do not repot a flowering plant as the shock of repotting will cut short the flowering period.
The best soil for Wax Begonia 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. Purchase quality Potting Mix for Wax Begonia online from Etsy.
Pruning Wax Begonia is easy. Remove the dead flowers, yellow and dead leaves to keep the plant neat and minimize pest and disease infestations.
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.
Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem cuttings or from seeds. The seeds can be germinated but they take months to grow.
The easiest way to propagate Wax Begonia is by rooting stem cuttings. We have herein below outlined, the propagation from stem cuttings.
Take a 3-4 in. stem cutting from a healthy Wax Begonia plant from low down the plant as cuttings from low down the plant root more easily.
Strip off the lower leaves and insert the cuttings in moist, free-draining potting mix and place the set up in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight.
Cover the set up with a clear plastic bag to create a greenhouse effect to hasten rooting.
Maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges. Once rooting has taken place, gradually remove the clear plastic to acclimatize the new plant.
Allow the new Wax Begonia to be well established before transplanting after which you can begin routine care.
Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens) growing problems include yellow leaves, pests, brown leaf tips, leaf drop, rotting, pests and diseasea among others. Continue reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.
There are two possible causes of flower bud drop in Wax Begonia. One possible cause of flower bud drop is dry air (too low humidity).
To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Do not mist the leaves to avoid fungal diseases infestations.
The second possible cause of flower bud drop in Begonia semperflorens is underwatering. Maintain the soil moist at all times and never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.
Yellow leaves in Wax Begonia are due to two reasons. One cause of yellow leaves is too little light.
Move the Begonia semperflorens to a brighter spot as it grows best in bright light with some morning or evening sunlight or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not sufficient.
The second cause of yellow leaves in Wax Begonia is too little or too much water which may result in soggy soil.
Maintain the soil moist at all times but not soggy and never allow the soil to dry out completely.
There are three possible causes of leaf drop in Wax Begonia. One possible cause of leaf drop is too little light.
Move the plant to a brighter spot where is will receive bright light with some direct sunlight or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not sufficient.
The second possible cause of leaf drop in Begonia semperflorens is too much heat due to exposure to hot drafts.
The best temperature for growing is Wax Begonia is average room, therefore, keep it away from hot drafts like hot air vents, hot surfaces and others.
The third possible cause of leaf drop in Wax Begonia 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 in Wax Begonia are due to dry air which result in too low air humidity.
To increase the air humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray and do not mist the leaves to avoid fungal diseases infestations. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
Pale rotting leaves in Wax Begonia are due to too wet soil (soggy soil) which is brought about by poor soil drainage.
Keep the soil moist but not soggy during the growing season. Cut down on during the cold period to keep the soil only slightly moist.
Make sure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy (overwet).
White powdery spots in Wax Begonia is an indication of powdery mildew which is enhanced by over damp conditions, low temperatures and poor air circulation.
Isolate the affected plant, cut off diseased leaves and treat appropriately. Avoid damp conditions and low temperatures and improve air circulation.
Brown blotches which turn grey and moldy in Wax Begonia is an indication of botrytis bisease which is promoted by overwet conditions coupled with poor ventilation.
Isolate the affected plant, cut off diseased parts and treat appropriately. Avoid low light and over damp conditions and improve air circulation.
There are three possible reasons for plant collapse or death in Wax Begonia. One possible reason for plant collapse is stem-rot disease which is promoted by soggy soil.
The second possible reason for plant collapse in Begonia semperflorens is Nematodes (Root Knot Eelworm) which are characterized by swollen bumps on roots.
The third possible reason for plant collapse in Wax Begonia is Vine Weevil which is characterized by tunnels in the rhizomes.
All parts of Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens) and especially the roots are considered toxic to pets as outlined by ASPCA. If ingested they may cause burning in the mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains.
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