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Chris Eirschele Top Plant Recommendations: Wax Begonias for Shade and Container Gardens.

The wax begonia is an annual bedding plant that has fibrous roots. Smallest of the Begonia plants, it is used in shaded garden beds and containers outside and grown as houseplants.

Wax begonias are easy to grow plants, with very few pest and disease issues. The petite size and inexpensive cost makes these plants a good choice for children and new gardeners. Despite the simplicity of wax begonias, they bring added value to a garden by attracting hummingbirds and bees.

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Bigger Flowers More Choices

Begonia x benariensis Big series includes ‘Big Red’ with bronze or green leaves and ‘Big Rose’ with bronze leaves. The plant has an upright and arching appearance. The flowers are two to three inches in diameter. Begonia x semperflorens ‘Volumia’ is a green leaved, tinged with red margins, series with many flower color choices. These include light pink, pink and white. The scarlet color looks reddish orange and the rose bicolor is dark pink and white. The plant grows 12” – 15” tall, is heat and drought tolerant and flower size are one inch diameter.
 
Begonias for Shade Gardens
Wax begonias should be grown in a part shade or shaded spot, in morning sun and on the north side of a building are places to consider. Wax begonias tolerate full sun if kept moist. However, gardeners should monitor plant health for diseases such as stem rot or powdery mildew when grown in a higher humidity environment.

When mass planting wax begonias in a flower garden, use the same variety, leaf size or color for a uniform appearance. In container gardens, use in mass in several containers or singly in a combination planting. Indoor gardeners will find that individual begonias, eventually, become specimen plants.

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Although they perpetually flower, wax begonias are considered low maintenance plants because they are self-cleaning, requiring no deadheading. Cut back plants in late summer if they become too leggy.

Propagation is easy with wax begonias, another reason for new gardeners and children to start with these plants. Leaf or soft stem cutting will quickly give any gardener multiple plants.

Begonia Cocktail Series
Another wax begonia series to consider is Cocktail series, with its bronze leaves and flowers in many colors. This wax begonia tolerates full sun and grows up to ten inches tall.

A native of Wisconsin, Chris now makes her home in zone 5 of central Ohio.  She is a member of Garden Writers Association and Perennial Plant Association.


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