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How to Care for Wax Leaf Begonias

By Sarah Terry ; Updated September 21, 2017
Wax begonia in a dish.
begonia image by CraterValley Photo from Fotolia.com

Wax leaf begonias (Begonia semperflorens) are the most popular begonia. The name is inspired from their waxy leaves. You can grow these freely flowering begonias in outdoor flower beds or in containers. Wax begonias are often grown as annual bedding flowers, but they’re actually frost-sensitive perennials. Although some types of wax begonias tolerate more sun than others, they generally withstand more sun than other types of begonias. Grown indoors or outdoors, wax begonias are low maintenance and easy to grow.

If growing in containers, place your wax leaf begonias in bright to moderate light during winter and in partial shade during summer. If you’re growing the begonias in the ground outdoors, select a planting site with some bright sunlight and some shade protection from the afternoon sun.

Water your container-grown wax begonias once or twice per week, or when the topmost layer of potting mix feels dry to the touch. Provide water until it comes out of the drainage holes. Keep the potting mix evenly moistened; don’t allow the mix to dry out between waterings.

Water your outdoor wax leaf begonias once every one week to 10 days in the absence of rainfall. Provide water to soak the soil down to and around the begonias’ roots.

Feed your wax leaf begonias with a liquid all-purpose plant fertilizer once every two weeks at half the normal dosage rate.

Spread a 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of organic mulch on the ground around your wax leaf begonias in spring. The mulch will help to regulate soil moisture and control weeds.

Pinch back the wax begonia’s branch tips while they’re actively growing to encourage healthy branching and bushier growth. Stop pinching back the tips in summer to allow the begonias to flower. Remove faded flowers from the wax begonia to keep the plant tidy.


Things You Will Need

  • Hose or watering can
  • Liquid all-purpose fertilizer
  • Organic mulch


  • If you're growing the wax begonias in the ground outdoors and you live in a region with freezing temperatures during winter, you can dig up the begonias in the fall before the first frost and pot them to preserve the plants through the winter months.


  • Don't overwater your wax begonia or allow it to sit in waterlogged soil. Empty any pooled water from the drainage dish after watering your begonia.
  • Avoid overfertilizing. Wax leaf begonias are "light feeders," meaning that they require little fertilizer. Additionally, begonias are sensitive to salts, which may build up in the soil from fertilizers.

About the Author


Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.