There are thousands of varieties and hybrids of Begonia available today – including the brand new and extremely striking Giant Flowered Begonia! To celebrate the release of this new plant, we are uncovering the secret and varied world of Begonias in this special edition post!
Versatile enough to satisfy the OG gardeners, as well as the new generation of millennial gardeners, it’s safe to say that Begonias are back in fashion. These are no longer seen as old-fashioned plants – instead, they’re easy-to-grow staples for the modern garden.
With so many varieties available, and with most being super easy to grow, it’s no wonder why everyone wants this plant in their gardens.
Read on to find out about 7 types of Begonia that are quite different!
1. Begonia x benariensis ‘Big’
It’s the classic, but have you seen Begonia BIG? This collection of Begonia semperflorens was selected by German experts, Benary, and it’s a monster variety that produces high impact colour and large flowers all season. It’s 3 times the size of a standard Begonia semperflorens. Plus, it’s self-cleaning, which means the faded flowers simply fall away naturally, or are covered over by new blossoms… that means less maintenance for you!
2. Begonia pavonina- The Peacock Begonia
This plant is known for its iridescence, and that’s how it’s able to grow on the dark rainforest floor. With an ever so fancy nickname: the ‘Peacock Begonia’. When light hits the leaves of this Begonia at a certain angle, the surface of the leaves appear to turn an vibrant blue shade, but it’s really designed to maximise light collection in those shady spots. Plants are clever, huh!
3. Begonia convolvulacea
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This is a climbing Begonia, would you Adam and Eve it?! The amazing Begonia convolvulacea can grow up to two metres tall, and looks like an IVY, without the invasive characteristics, and with those familiar Begonia blossoms. Rare and hard to find!
4. Fragrant Begonia ‘Sweet Spice’ Series
Fragrant Begonias are an innovation from just outside Cambridge! They have taken a lot of work over the years, as the original plants with that fragrance gene are actually winter flowering, so the pollen needs freezing for summer pollination!
Unusually, the blooms of any Begonia are fragrant whatever the weather, as the scent is held in the petals, not the oils of the flower. That means it doesn’t need warming up before the aroma is released, quite different to many of the fragrant plants in our gardens. ‘Sweet Spice’ are noted for their English weather suitability, too.
5. Begonia ‘Darth Vader’
A Borneo native, the Begonia Darth Vader is a mystical and vampy plant, with its super dark leaves, etched in luminous green. This plant is in high demand, and some cuttings have changed hands for over £350!!
6. Begonia Polka Dot
If you adore houseplants and have followed the seismic shift in interest towards houseplants in recent years, you’ll have probably noticed that the Begonia Polka Dot has made a name for itself as THE houseplant to have right now. It amazes me, as this was a plant I grew during my childhood, and could’ve have imagined the level of popularity it soon reach!
Polka Dot Begonias are fuss-free houseplants, which are also fun and easy to propagate. Quite a good ‘first plant’ specimen for a child.
7. Begonia luxuriansBegonia luxurians, or the Palm Leaf Begonia, is a Brazilian rainforest native which looks a bit like a palm tree! It has dark green leaves with coppery undersides, and as such is very popular in ornamental foliage displays. Stick around for the clusters of pretty white and yellow flowers!
BONUS: Giant Flowered Begonia
Giant Flowered Begonias are a new collection of exhibition-quality Begonias from Richard Jackson, a brand who are great at putting professional grade plants in the hands of home gardeners. Bred by Golden State Growers in California, a company who are known for improving many Begonias over the years, they also raised the crazy popular ‘On Top’ Series.
These are seriously show-stopping plants, with 6 inch PLUS blooms that are three times larger than the average Begonia – we are talking exhibition-size here. Unlike the usual exhibition divas, Giant Flowered Begonia are easy to grow!
For the impatient gardeners, these plants exhibit rapid growth, and the blooms stay big for a long time. They’re sturdy and weatherproof, too, with strong and upright flowers that are robust enough to survive the occasional strong gust of wind and a torrential downpour or two. In addition, the plants produce small tubers that can be lifted in the autumn, over-wintered in a frost-free place and then re-planted the following year. Shh! Don’t tell everyone!
Not only that, Giant Flowered Begonia are low maintenance and do well in full OR partial shade. There aren’t many plants that genuinely enjoy shade, I’ll have you know! All in all, they’re a great plant for beginners who want colour and performance without having to grow a more complex plant!
Giant Flowered Begonias are on special offer with QVC throughout the day on Saturday 1st February! Click herehere to browse the range.
What do you think of these 7 Begonias and the bonus Giant Flowered Begonia? Let me know in the comment section below!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.