Rex begonias are prized for their large, brightly colored leaves which come in various patterns and shades. They can be enjoyed year round indoors as houseplants. Outdoors in warm areas they are perennials; in cold areas they can be used as annuals.
Rex begonias like bright filtered light; they will not tolerate direct sun. Place them in an east- or west-facing window or use a curtain to filter the sun in a southern facing window.
Indoors, normal household temperatures are sufficient. Outdoors, optimal temperatures should remain around 60 to 75 degrees F; they are hardy in Zones 10 through 12.
Keep Rex begonias on the dry side of moist, but do not let them wilt. If the soil remains too wet root rot becomes an issue.
Use a light, well draining soil with added organic matter that has a slightly acidic to neutral pH. Repot in spring.
Fertilize with a 15-20-15 fertilizer during the active growing season in the spring and summer.
Pests and Disease
Rex begonias are susceptible to bacterial leaf spot, aphids, mealybugs and fungal infections. Keep the plants well trimmed and treat problems early with a light insecticidal soap or fungicide.
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About this Author
Brian Albert has been in the publishing industry since 1999. He is an expert in horticulture, with a focus on aquatics and tropical plants like orchids. He has successfully run an aquatic plant business for over five years. Albert's writing experience includes the Greater Portland Aquarium Society newsletter and politics coverage for a variety of online journals.