Wax begonias offer the beauty of succulent foliage paired with long-lasting flowers. This common bedding plant graces many gardens with beautiful flowers that last from late spring to fall. Wax begonias serve as annuals in the landscape that die off with the first exposure to frost in the fall. Begonias come in a variety of colors to enhance your garden beds with interesting foliage.
Wax begonias feature thick leaves of medium green with 1-inch-diameter round flowers. The plant takes its name from the succulent shiny leaves that serve as a water storage reservoir. Flower colors include white, pink and red as well as some variegated cultivars. Wax begonias grow in a mounded shape to a height of 12 to 18 inches and produce consistent blooms from May to September.
Sunlight and Location Requirements
Wax begonias prefer a partial shade environment that features dappled or filtered shade. Some cultivars of the wax begonia can tolerate full sun, so carefully check plant labels before choosing a final location. Plants won't produce a high volume of flowers in full shade. Place wax begonia in locations featuring well-drained soil. Plants cannot tolerate pooled water or soggy soils.
Growing Wax Begonias
Growing wax begonia from seed requires getting a head start long before seeding of typical bedding plants. Sow seeds lightly on the surface of new potting medium four to six months before planned movement to outdoor gardens. Plant seedlings or mature begonias in the garden after the soil temperatures warm and frost danger passes in the spring. Begonias require rich, organic soil and produce riotous blooms with amended soil. Water regularly and deeply to encourage healthy root growth.
Wax begonias offer the versatility of use as border plants as well as beautiful container plants around the home landscape. The plants work well when paired with other annual bedding plants to add height and texture to a planter. Water consistently when used in container gardens since the wax begonia doesn't tolerate drought conditions.
An application of water-soluble fertilizer benefits the plant to boost it to continue producing through the growing months of the summer. Fertilize every three to four weeks for best results if the plant shows a tendency of reduced blooming. The addition of organic soil additives should be sufficient to sustain the plant. Remove spent blooms and trim back leggy portions of the plant to induce bushy growth of foliage. A 3-inch layer of mulch applied to the garden around the plant promotes the retention of soil moisture and keeps the roots cool.