Begonias are beautiful plants known for their gorgeous blooms and hardy foliage. Begonias are perennial plants that are native to tropical and sub-tropical climates, and many people use them in their outdoor landscaping or garden bed. But can begonias be grown indoors as houseplants?
The begonia plant can be grown indoors as a potted plant, but there are some important things together before you bring these beautiful blooms into your home. Here’s what you need to know to have a hardy begonia indoors:
Types of Begonia
There are over 2,000 species of begonia, which are native to Africa, parts of Asia, and Central and South America.
One of the most important parts of growing begonias indoors is selecting the right variety of begonia. Let’s take a look at the different types of begonias and their preferred growing conditions.
Fibrous begonias, also known as fibrous rooted begonias, include some of the most popular types of begonias. They are known for their plentiful flowers, which are small and waxy in appearance.
Fibrous rooted begonia are known to be an annual flower outdoors, but also grow well as houseplants.
Rhizomatous begonias are known for their gorgeous and plentiful foliage. They are called rhizomatous because they grow from a rhizome, which is a stem that grows continuously down into the soil, while roots grow out from the sides.
Rhizomatous begonias can thrive as indoor potted plants.
Tuberous begonias are known for the large, colorful blooms. They are called tuberous begonias because they grow from a tuber, rather than a bulb or rhizome.
Tuberous begonias can be grown indoors, but they are more difficult than the rhizomatous or fibrous begonia, due to their high light and humidity needs. You will have to work harder to keep potted tuberous begonias happy!
Growing Begonias Indoors
With the right strategy, you can have great success growing begonias indoors. Here are some important things to consider:
Moisture, Light, and Temperature
Begonias thrive indoors with bright, indirect sunlight and lots of humidity. If your home has drier air, consider placing your potted begonia on a tray of small gravel and water to create more humidity.
When watering your begonia plants, you will want to make sure you are not getting the leaves wet. Wetting the leaves can lead to fungus and should be avoided if at all possible.
One of the risks that indoor begonias face is overwatering. Wait until your begonia plant is showing signs of dryness before watering. This will help you avoid the eventual root rot that comes with overwatering.
Potted begonia plants do best in soil that is nutrient-balanced and drains well. Because begonias indoors are prone to root rot, you will want to avoid planting them in soil that holds a lot of moisture. Choose a potting soil or potting mix that drains well and has a good amount of vermiculite or perlite.
When choosing a potting mix for your begonias, avoid those which are heavy in nitrogen. Too much nitrogen in the soil can cause a condition called nitrogen burn, which is bad for your begonia plant.
One of the benefits of growing begonias indoors is that they are naturally very pest resistant. You shouldn’t have to worry about thrips, mealy bugs, or other common houseplant pests bothering your potted begonia plants.
However, as we mentioned above, indoor begonias are susceptible to fungal growth, like powdery mildew. You can avoid this by watering only when needed, and making sure you don’t wet your plants’ leaves while watering.
Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks for having success with begonias as houseplants:
- Choose the right location – find somewhere warm (above 55 degrees Farenheit) with lots of indirect sunlight.
- Consider a terrarium – if you’re having issues with keeping the air moist enough for your begonia, consider transferring it over to a terrarium environment.
- Avoid overpotting – potted begonias will thrive in a smaller pot. Avoid the urge to use a pot that is too big for your plant.
- Fertilizer – a weak fertilizer can be a helpful supplement for your begonia flower. Try mixing a general fertilizer to 1/4 strength and using it on your begonia weekly.
If you are careful and intentional, begonias are the perfect container plants to grow indoors. Consider potted begonias as a great way to enjoy their beautiful leaves and bloom all year long.