Begonia: wax begonia
Height 15-23cm (6-9in)
Planting distance 20-25cm (8-10in)
Flowers early summer to mid autumn or first frost
Rich, moist, well-drained
Sunny or lightly shaded site
Wax begonia (Begonia semperflorens) and its varieties are grown as annuals for summer bedding and pot plants.
The plants, which generally reach 15-23cm (6-9in) high, are smothered with small white, pink, or redfrom early summer till early autumn. The foliage, too, is attractive: succulent and glossy, pale or dark green, purple or coppery-brown. Fill containers with them to cheer up a patio, window-box or hanging basket, or use them in formal bedding schemes. In autumn you can lift wax begonias and take them indoors as winter pot plants – flowering will continue if the room is well lit.
Begonia semperflorens is now re presented by an increasing number of varieties.
‘Cocktail’ has white, pink, rose, salmon, and red flowers with glossy deep bronze foliage.
‘Coco Mixed’ comes in mixed colours and has bronze foliage.
‘Danica Red’ has brick-red flowers and glossy bronze leaves.
‘Danica Scarlet’ has large scarlet-red flowers and bronze foliage.
‘Devon Gems’ has red, pink and white flowers with glossy brown, bronze or green leaves.
‘Frilly Dilly’ has scarlet and pink flowers with frilled petals. The foliage is green.
‘Lucifer’ has large, bright scarlet flowers and green leaves.
‘New Generation’ is a mixture of compact plants with shiny rose, salmon, pink, scarlet or white flowers; green or bronzy foliage.
‘Olympia’ is exceptionally large-flowered, with pink, white, red or bicoloured flowers.
‘Options’ has green or bronze foliage and pink, carmine or white flowers, often picoteed.
‘Organdy’ comes in a wide range of flower colours and has green and bronze foliage. The plants are very compact.
‘Pink Avalanche’ has delicate pink flowers and green foliage.
‘Stara’ has a branching or cascading habit, with bright green leaves and masses of white, pink or rose-red flowers.
‘Viva’ has pure white blooms and dark green leaves.
Sow seeds in trays of seed compost in late winter to early spring under glass at 16°C (61°F). Prick them out into boxes of potting compost when the first true leaf appears. Harden off and then plant out in beds or containers in late spring, setting them 20-25cm (8-10in) apart. The soil should be rich and moist but well-drained -and the site should be in sun or light shade.
Pests and diseases
shows as a white coating on leaves and stems.