Wax begonia is a hardy perennial that thrives in growing zone 10 and 11 that grows anywhere from 6-24 inches tall. There are more than 1000 species of begonias. They come in many shapes, sizes, and colors and are easy to grow both outdoors and indoors. Wax begonia is popular since the Victorian age and is still popular today. Its waxy flowers vary in several colors like red, white, yellow, and pink that are related to pumpkins and melons and have a citrus flavor, which is edible. There are variations in the foliage as well.
How to grow Wax begonia
- To grow begonia, you need light, well-drained soil.
- Place the plant in a sunny location as it grows well in full sun. However, if you live in tropical areas, then some shade is required to save your plant from the hot afternoon sun.
- The required temperature for this plant is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature that is up to 75 degrees will help encourage blooming. It does not do well in cold or freezing temperatures.
- It loves to grow in a relatively humid environment, so keep the humidity above 50 percent. If it is not possible, you can manage a small humidifier for indoor plants.
- Watering should be in a proper way.
- You should feed the plant monthly with a weak fertilizer. Do not feed the plant with hard fertilizer; this might harm your plant.
- Begonia plant grows in a container as well. It can live at least four to five years in a container.
- Stem cuttings and seeds of a mature plant can propagate wax begonia as well.
- The best way to propagate is to take a stem cutting from the plant. During spring, you should take the cutting, and it should be about three to four inches in length.
- Place the cutting about two inches into the moist soil. Keep the air around the plants humid while the cutting forms the roots. For this, you can cover the leaves with a plastic bag.
- To propagate from the seedlings, you should plant the seeds about 12 weeks before the first frost of the year. The seeds need a lot of light to grow, so do not cover them at all as well as they will grow best between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You will see the growth in about 15 to 20 days.
How to care Wax begonia
- The very first task you can do to care your plant is to prune them. But do not prune when your plant is growing. You can trim the leaves and the branches that grow in a curve or overgrow.
- Several problems might affect your plant; one of the most common issues is root rot.
- Begonia plant requires a lot of humidity and moisture to grow. But when the humidity sets in the soil, it can cause root rot, which can damage your plant.
- Also when the leaves are wet, the fungus forms on the leaves that look like powdery mildew. It can be easily be corrected by adjusting the moisture level and watering the plant from below the leaves.
- Although pests are not a common issue for this begonia plant, there are a few to keep at bay.
- Likewise, spots on the leaves and spider mites, whiteflies, aphids, and scales are the ones that can cause discoloration and deformities in the leaves.
Advantages and uses of Wax begonia
- Wax begonia has multiple purposes like aesthetic uses, beauty uses, and medical benefits.
Under aesthetic applications, it can be used as borders and mass in beds.
- Under medicinal purposes, this plant helps in air purification and improve air quality by removing benzene and other chemicals from the environment. It is because it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen in the air.
- Wax begonia plant not only gives refreshment but also offers a pleasant look for your home and garden.
- Likewise, the leaves, fruits, flowers, stems, seeds, and roots have their own different applications. In some cases, a part of it is edible while another may be toxic. You need a proper study of the plant before consuming it.
- Another uses of begonias are for mass plantings, bedding plant, container, edging, mixed border, and tropical as well.
Possible side effects
- This plant is susceptible to diseases that develop when they dry out, so avoid soggy soil.
- It is toxic to pets because tubers of the plant are most topic and ingestion can result in significant oral irritation, leading to drooling, vomiting, and difficulty in swallowing.