Monday, November 11, 2013

Houseplant of the Week: Rex Begonia

I started getting into Rex begonias a few years ago, and I killed a couple of them on the way to finding out what they like. Isn't that always how it goes? Nonetheless, Rex begonias aren't really that fussy, and for the amount of class they bring to the joint, they are well worth any special care they may ask for. This is definitely a "must try" for all you foliage lovers out there — intricate veining, metallic color combos and interesting leaf textures make Rex begonias irresistible.


AT A GLANCE

Common Name: Rex begonia
Botanical Name: Begonia rex
USDA Hardiness Zones: Zones 10 - 11
Size: 12 - 18" tall and wide with leaves up to 5" wide and 9" long
Light Requirements: Shade in outdoor locations, and bright indirect light indoors
Soil Requirements: Rich, aerated, well-drained soil
Water Requirements: Regular watering — but with Rex begonias, learn to water them as they need it, not by what the date on the calendar says. Don't let them sit in water or get so dry that they wilt.
Flower: Insignificant
General Description: A rhizomatous begonia featuring stunning foliage, Rex begonias are primarily used as annuals outside or houseplants in North America. Outside North America, it's grown as a shady perennial in tropical and subtropical climates. Leaves come in shades of white, silver, green, pink, purple and yellow, and often have a metallic or iridescent sheen.
Special Care: Rex begonias will appreciate some extra humidity. Setting the container on a saucer with pebbles and water will help, as will keeping them away from drafts. Use a balanced fertilizer during the growing season.

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