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How to Care for Wax Begonias

By M.H. Dyer ; Updated September 21, 2017

With their big shiny leaves and bunches of bright blossoms in shades of red, white and pink, wax begonias are a gardener’s favorite. Plant them close together and in a few weeks, they’ll form a blanket of color. Because they grow no larger than 12 inches tall, they’re perfect in the front of a border or along a sidewalk or garden path. Although wax begonias do well outdoors, they also thrive as a houseplant, and require very little care.

Water wax begonias regularly, but don’t soak them and don't let them become bone dry between waterings. If the wax begonias are in partial shade, they won’t require as much water as those that are in full sunlight. Plants in full sunlight should be sprayed lightly during the heat of the day to prevent blossoms from dropping off.

Feed wax begonias a good quality liquid fertilizer every other week. A weak solution is best, so mix the liquid fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and then dilute with half water.

Mulch outdoor-growing wax begonias in the spring. This will provide nutrients and keep moisture in.

Trim the stems in mid-summer if the wax begonias are looking leggy. It won’t hurt the plant to remove up to a third of the stems. If the wax begonia is grown as a potted plant, this is a good time to re-pot.

In late summer, dig wax begonias up and move them to pots if you want to bring them in for the winter. You can also take cuttings from some plump, healthy stems and put three or four in a pot filled with good quality potting soil. Put the wax begonias in a window where they’ll get indirect or filtered sunlight. Wax begonias left in the garden will freeze, so once they do, pull them up and throw them in the compost pile.


About the Author


M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.