Begonia Flowers: Everything You Need to Know

Did you know? Begonia flowers literally mean “begone,” “beware,” or “dark thoughts.”

But, hey, do not get terrified. The flower also signifies happiness and goodness in oneself, which is the opposite of these horrifying meanings.

These stunning flowers will undoubtedly brighten up any garden in early summer.

In general, Begonia ruffled flowers contain stamen, pistils, and petals. Begonia produces different colored beautiful, ruffled flowers from June to the first-frost month. The flowers last for up to 4 months depending upon the variety.

Begonia Flowers
Begonia Flowers (Source: Pixabay)

Once you get your Begonia, you must focus on the plant’s health and the ways to make it bloom because the reward is magnificent.

This article will cover everything you need to know about the Begonia flowers and tips to care for these beautiful blooms at home.

How Often does the Begonia Flower?

The Begonia plant is usually grown for its beautiful flower. So, there is no question whether it often flowers or not.

You do not have to do something out of the box to make this plant flower.

Generally, Begonia blooms in summer till the first frost arrives. Begonia is an annual flower that blooms all year long even when grown indoors.

The first blooms of tubers planted in February appear in June; those planted in March or early April appear in July.

The Begonia flowers can be perennial or annual, but most gardeners prefer to treat them like annual flowers.

The lifespan of the flower depends upon the variety of Begonia. Tuberous Begonia flowers temporarily and naturally die back every year, while the fibrous Begonia flowers all year round.

Both tuberous and fibrous Begonia lasts for about four months. While the other varieties have a lifespan of six months.

Tuberous Rooted Begonias
Tuberous Rooted Begonias (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

While Wax and Rhizomatous varieties do not die back, pruning them lightly each year will maintain their health and promote dense, full growth.

Although the flowers of Begonia are beautiful, they still take up the nutrients directed for the foliage. But, you do not need to cut these beautiful blooms.

Once you plant Begonia, it may take up to 3 months to bloom its first flower.

The flowers require little care, and if you take good care of the plant, you will also take good care of the flowers.

Moreover, the plant may rebloom if you remove the dead and faded flowers.

Begonia Flower Overview

Begonia flowers are a wonderful addition to any garden, make excellent gifts, and adorn many sophisticated floral arrangements.

Let’s look at the basic overview of the Begonia flower.

StructureRuffled, single or double flowers consisting of Petals, Pistil and Stamen
Size2-4 inches wide flowers
ColorWhite, orange, pink, yellow or red
FragranceSweet citrus to rosy smelling flowers
ToxicityToxic to pets
LifespanUp to six months
FruitsWinged, dry capsule that releases seeds
Blooming SeasonFrom early summer to frost

Begonia has more than 1000 active species of flowering plants. Most of the species differ in size, shape, and color.

Beautiful Begonia Flowers
Beautiful Begonia Flowers (Source: Pixabay)

Apart from the above, the Begonia plant is also categorized based on root structure.

Root TypesBegonia VarietiesUsual Flower ColorsFlower Type
HardyBegonia grandisPink or whiteFlowers grow in dichotomously branching cymes.
FibrousDragon-wing Begonia, Wax Begonia, Cane BegoniaPink, white, or redThey grow in leaf axils in loose clusters of cymes.
TuberousBegonia encanto orange, Begonia non-stop redYellow, orange, pink, red, or whiteHas upright showy flowers.
RhizomatousBegonia nelumbiifolia, 'Erythrophylla'Pink with a shade of whiteFlowers grows in large pendulous clusters.

According to Bill Bigos from quora, the flowers may change color due to certain factors like soil acidity, season change, and pollination.

Talking about Begonia seeds, Mr. Fothergill’s writes that Begonia contains a huge number of seeds, two million of them in an ounce.

Although difficult to grow, the seeds are easy to retrieve after the plant’s flowering season.

Moreover, you can lift and store the tuberous root structure if you want to save Begonia for next year.

It has a better chance of continuing Begonia than growing it from seeds.

How to Make a Begonia Plant Flower?

Once you own the Begonia plant, you want to make it bloom.

The flowers add decorative value to the indoors, and their fragrance can lighten up the mood of almost anyone.

But to make them bloom, you must fulfill specific requirements and provide them with optimum conditions. Let’s look at the requirements.

  • Place your Begonia in a spot that gets full to partial morning sunlight. Remember, the light must not be direct.
  • Maintain the temperature between 65-75°F around the plant to suit them.
  • Do the finger moisture test on the soil before watering the plant. You need to water only if the soil feels dry to the touch.
Finger Moisture Test
Finger Moisture Test (Source: UCANR)
  • While positioning the plant, keep them somewhere that falls under the shade of a tree or patio.
  • A North or east-facing window is ideal for Begonia.
  • Begonia thrives the most in light potting soil with extra added perlite.
  • You can fertilize your plant with a regular houseplant fertilizer with a ratio of 10-10-10 once a month.
Liquid plant food brand 10-10-10 fertilizer
Liquid balanced fertilizer for blooms (Source: Amazon)
  • To encourage plant growth and vigor, fertilize your Begonia with fish emulsion early in the growing season.
  • Then, change to a general-purpose fertilizer for flowering plants once the buds appear.
  • You can also use organic compost or vermicompost to make the plant bloom.
  • Begonias sometimes tend to bloom when they are stressed. So, you can use stress as a catalyst to make your plant bloom.
  • Maintain the humidity at around 70% to keep the plant safe from different pests and diseases.
  • You can deadhead and remove the old and deteriorated blooms to make the plant flower more.
  • To maintain their health and promote dense, full growth, lightly pinch or prune them each year.

Watch the video to get more information on deadheading the Begonia flower,

Common Questions Regarding Begonia Flower Problems

Even after you’ve done everything to get the plant to bloom, there might still be issues with the flower.

We have answered a few questions about the common problems clouding Begonia flowers.

1. Why are Begonia Flowers Wilting?

Begonias lose their composure and wilt when the water conditions are not optimum.

Your Begonias will wilt to show their stress if you underwater or overwater them.

Overwatering the Snake Plant
Overwatering the Snake Plant (Source: tenor)

The trick is to fix the watering schedule. Water your plant every three to four days but increase the frequency when the temperature is hot.

Wait for at least two weeks during winter before watering your plants.

2. Why are my Begonia Flowers Dropping?

It would be heart-wrenching to see your beloved Begonia drop its beautiful flowers.

The leading cause of the plant dropping flowers is improper watering and the sudden fluctuations in the temperature.

To avoid Begonia flower dropping, ensure your plant is not subjected to a sudden change in the temperature and water the plant accordingly.

3. Why are my Begonias not Flowering?

Even after fulfilling all the care requirements, you may still not be rewarded with beautiful blooms.

Immediately check the Begonia soil and ensure that the soil is draining well, and provide fertilizer rich in ammonium nitrate.

Begonias do not prefer standing on soggy soil for a more extended period.

Your Begonia needs a good amount of brightness to be able to bloom. Also, ensure your plant is in the shade of a tree or patio to have a go at blooming.

Moreover, follow the instructions mentioned above to make them bloom.

4. Why are my Begonia Flowers White?

You would expect your Begonia to produce beautiful flowers that exhibit different gorgeous colors.

But sometimes, your expectation may go down the drain when you encounter your flower to be plain white, even though it shows signs of other colors.

The sudden whitening in flowers can be caused by the fungal infection Powdery Mildew.

The Begonia exclusive fungus Odium begonia causes this infection in Begonias.

Powdery-Mildew-Wikimedia
Powdery Mildew (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

You can use fungicide containing sulfur or neem oil to eliminate this fungal infection.

5. Why is my Begonia Flower Turning Black and Brown?

Sometimes you may notice the petals and the Begonia flower turn black and brown.

The above phenomena can be caused due to different factors.

Flowers turning black are caused by different fungal diseases. Similarly, brown petals result from a lack of moisture in the plant.

Begonia Flower Turning Brown
Begonia Flower Turning Brown (Source: Ask Extension)

You can use suitable fertilizers for the plant to get rid of fungal diseases.

The leading cause of fungal infections is overwatering, so put control on that.

Mist your plant regularly or keep a water pebble tray by your plant to maintain the moisture.

Do Begonias Self-pollinate?

Begonias boast beautiful flowers that are divided into specific sections. Due to this division, the plant is capable of self-pollinating.

According to aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu, Begonias are monoecious plants meaning they produce male and female flowers known as staminate and pistillate respectively in the same plant.

Begonia is considered an incomplete plant because the same flower of Begonia doesn’t contain male and female parts.

A. Begonia Female bud and side view of flower. C. Male flower.
A. Begonia Female bud and side view of flower. C. Male flower. (Source: Researchgate)

The male flowers have two petals only, while the female flowers have a three-winged ovary at the base of the petals.

As the male and female flowers of Begonia are different, there is a reduced chance of the plant self-pollinating without human intervention.

Types of Pollination in Begonia

Generally, there are three types of pollination.

  • Cross-Pollination: This is the process where the pollens are taken from one female flower and pollinated with another male flower from a different plant.
  • Self-Pollination: In this process, the pollination is done between the male and female flowers of the same plant.
  • Open-Pollination: In open pollination, the plant pollinates without the help of an external agent.

Begonias pollinate by the process of self-pollination.

Even though the majority of begonias are self-fertile, they still need an external source of pollinators, such as wind or insects.

However, you can also hand pollinate them to create hybrid Begonia seeds.

Steps to Hand Pollinate Begonia Flowers

So let’s find out how to carry on the hand pollination in the Begonia plant.

  • First, locate the male and female Begonia flowers.
  • Let the Begonia male flower mature and cut it off the plant. Let the flower dry out so that the pollens are easily detachable.
  • Gently brush the male flower’s anthers with a soft-bristled brush until you see golden pollen grains on the tip of the bristles.
Using paintbrush to collect pollen
Using Paintbrush to Collect Pollen (Source: Research Gate)
  • Rub the brush on the yellow part of the female flower and wait for a few days.
  • Make sure to clean the brush with 70% percent rubbing alcohol before attempting another pollination.
  • You’ll notice the female flower starts swelling and changing color.

What Should you do With Begonia Plant Flowers?

Other than the concern for dissemination of energy directed to the foliage, there are no reasons to cut the Begonia flowers.

Begonias have one of the most intriguing and beautiful flowers in all plant kingdoms.

But, cutting the flowers have its benefits.

If you cut the female flowers, the male flowers grow more prominent and significant as the plant directs all its energy towards them.

Also, you can cut the female flowers if you do not want any seeds. You can trim the male flowers if you are allergic to pollens.

Pruning the Begonia flowers in autumn will promote prominent flower growth in its growing season.

If you want to cut off the flowers of your Begonia, follow the steps below.

  • Do the pruning process early in the morning.
  • Get gloves, shears, and glasses and properly sterilize them with rubbing alcohol.
Clean tools for pruning
Clean tools for pruning (Source: Pexels)
  • Hold the flower by the stem that connects it to the plant.
  • Take the shears and snip the stem off the tree.
  • If you don’t want flowers to sprout from that point in this flowering season, deadhead them completely.
  • You can also deadhead the flowers when they wilt or die off. This promotes flowering in the plant again.
  • Do all the above processes without causing any damage to the neighboring flowers.

But I recommend you not cut the flowers off the plant as they provide a great aesthetic charm and are very ornamental.

Watch the video for more tips,

Benefits of Begonia Flowers

Begonia plant has many medicinal uses like it is used to treat bronchitis, colds, digestive disorders, swelling, etc.

Although the Begonia flower may not have as many benefits as the other plant parts, it still does have a few to count.

Let’s look at the known benefits and uses of Begonia plants.

  • Begonia flower contains alkaloids, saponins, vitamin C, carbolic acid, and flavonoids that can benefit human health.
  • The natural anti-inflammatory properties of Begonia flowers make them an effective remedy for rheumatism and bronchitis.
  • Boiling the Begonia in water and consuming them can relieve you against the common cold, flu, etc.
  • They are beautiful ornamental plants that can be used to boost the aesthetics and decorative values in your houses.
Dried flower petals in a jar
Dried flower petals in a jar (Source: Unsplash)
  • Taking Begonia flowers with boiled water can detoxify your body.
  • Begonia is also beneficial in relieving menstrual cramps, swelling, digestive disorders, etc.
  • You can also use the Begonia plant’s flowers as an air purifier.

Caution! People consider Begonia flowers toxic. So do not consume the flower unless it is thorougly boiled or processed in medical labs.

Begonia Flower Color Meaning

As a beautiful flower, Begonia comes in different colors. Each color has its own meaning and importance all over the world.

The Begonia flower symbolizes harmony, gratitude, individuality, peace, justice, caution, etc.

 Let’s look at the meaning of different Begonia flowers according to their color.

Color of BegoniaMeaning
RedLove, passion and romance
PurpleNobility, creativity and royalty
PinkRomance, love and subtleness
BlueCreativity, passion and artistry
YellowContentment, wealth and happiness
WhiteSpirituality, innocence and purity
GoldHappiness, content and wealth

Health Considerations to Keep in Mind

The flower and foliage of the Begonia plant are beautiful to look at, but like every heaven has a falling angel, it also has a dark side.

According to ASPCA, Begonia contains soluble calcium oxalates that can be toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.

A cat near houseplant
A cat near houseplant. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Although non-fatal, if your pets consume them, they will show symptoms like vomiting, hypersalivation, kidney failure, etc.

One can easily absorb soluble calcium oxalates, so they may not show an extreme reaction after consumption. It is still better to keep your pets away from the plants.

If your kids consume this flower, they may exhibit signs like burning mouth, lips, or throat, with nausea and vomiting being the extreme reactions.

Jot down the following numbers and keep them safe in case your kids or pets decide to taste the flowers of Begonia.

For more detailed insight, read this “Are Begonias Poisonous to Cats and Dogs?

Conclusion

Begonias are an essential plant for indoors from a decorative perspective. You’d have intense satisfaction if you made the plant bloom.

Also, the blooms are beautiful rewards you get after a series of hard work. Even if you don’t get the flowers, the foliage is still a treat to the eyes.

Good luck with the Begonia, and Happy Gardening!

Read about one of the most interesting Begonia varieties in our article “A Complete Guide to Grow and Care Beefsteak Begonia

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