Basic begonia care

aviolet6(7)February 27, 2013

Hi everyone, I'm hoping someone can give me some basic care instructions for growing begonias successfully indoors. I have gotten some a few times from Lowes, but they die within a short time. One I managed to keep alive at least 6 months, but it eventually died too. The ones I just bought are an Optimara variety, it starts with an E. Something like Elonia I think. (I'm at work right now and don't have the plant label in front of me). I also grow African Violets and have learned to grow them successfully. From what I've read, begonias need similiar care, but I can't keep them alive long enough to see what I'm not doing right. I've tried them with flourescent lighting and natural lighting. Can anyone tell me some step by step basic care info or send me to a site that will help? Thanks so much. I've also posted on the African Violet website to see if anyone there grows both successfully and can tell me similarities and differences...

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You are probably talking about Elatior (hiemalis/rieger) begonias.

Most of these are treated as seasonal plants - buy them in bloom and when they start going downhill, throw them away.

I'm sure you can keep them for more than one season but the care may be more than it is worth. Good light, regular watering and fertilizing, removal of old leaves, etc should keep it going for longer than a few months.

Here are some websites that may be helpful.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 9:35PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

The above links, clickable:

I was going to add a link to the Elatior section at ABS, but there isn't one. Wonder why?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 10:58AM
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Probably because most members don't grow them?

Thanks for making those into links (I was too lazy to do it).

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 12:16PM
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Thanks to all who posted here for me. The begonias are doing ok so far. Maybe they needed more time to adjust to a new environment, and/or I bought ones previously that weren't adjusting well or were already diseased...

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 6:54PM
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Yes, some plants have problems adjusting from a nursery to the home environment. Light levels, watering routines, warmth, air movement, etc all are big changes for the new plant. I find the potting mix is often the difference that makes or breaks a new plant.

Often the best solution is to change the potting mix ASAP since the way you water versus the way the plants were watered at the nursery may affect the plant greatly. I find a lot of begonias are planted in a mix of too much peat and watering must be with a very light hand else the mix will stay wet much too long which may lead to rot and disease.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 7:24PM
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