Uses of Begonia Semperflorens

Mark Tebbitt, botanist and author of "Begonias," shares that wax begonias (Begonia semperflorens) includes thousands of hybrids that are easy-to-grow and since the late 19th century, immensely popular for outdoor garden bedding. Moist well-draining soils are best and slightly drier soil in winter is needed. Bronze-foliaged selections are particularly well-suited to full sun exposures. Sometimes these plants are dubbed fibrous begonias.

Tropical Perennial

Derived from several species of tropical herbaceous begonias, Begonia semperflorens grows for many years if never damaged by drought or subfreezing temperatures. In frost-free landscapes, these compact plants make nice edging borders for formal garden bed designs, much like a low boxwood hedge. They can also be used as inexpensive bedding plants for seasonal displays; they tolerate heat, humidity and heavy thunderstorm downpours well. Lastly, they can be grown in containers to decorate outdoor patios and entrances. Occasionally pinching back stems to allow the plant to rejuvenate makes flowering better and the overall habit of the wax begonia tidier.

Annual Bedding

Where frosts and cold winters dominate, wax begonias are grown as summer flower beds plants. Either grow in masses or in low edging lines or designs, wax begonias flower non-stop from planting until a killing frost. They also can grow in containers wherever flower color is needed, from sunny spots to more shady situations under the edges of trees or next to large buildings and walls.

Houseplant

Wax begonias also translate well into being grown indoors as a tidy house plant in a brightly lit window where some direct light reaches the leaves. Insufficient light levels cause leggy stems and few flowers, so aspire to give them about two to four hours of direct sun daily in a window sill. They make inexpensive yet charming, low maintenance gift plants in decorative containers, especially modern varieties that have flowers with slightly larger petals with saturated colors.

Keywords: Begonia semperflorens, wax begonias, fibrous begonias, growing wax begonias, designing with begonias

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for "The Public Garden," "Docent Educator," nonprofit newsletters and for horticultural databases, becoming a full-time writer in 2008. He's gardened and worked professionally at public and private gardens in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He has written articles for eHow and GardenGuides.