The Begonia rex is one of the most beautiful houseplants out there. And that’s without producing many flowers like other Begonia species.
A Begonia rex needs fast-draining soil. The soil should be porous. It needs bright but indirect sunlight and the soil should always be moist.
The original Begonia rex had dark leaves with wonderful silver designs. The original plant came from the country of India.
This plant can come in a variety of colors depending on how it’s bred. But most come with leaves in a pretty pink with blackened edges. Or pink with silver edges.
Like most Begonia species, this Begonia is easy to care for. But it’s important to know the details because it’s not like most other houseplants.
We’re going to take you through all the major aspects of caring for a Begonia rex. Keep reading to find out how to keep your plant healthy, happy, and beautiful.
- 1 Begonia Rex Plant Care
- 2 Varieties of Begonias
- 3 Common Problems with the Begonia Rex
- 4 Tips for an Unhappy Begonia Rex
- 5 Begonia Rex FAQ
- 6 Conclusion
Begonia Rex Plant Care
You have to keep a Begonia rex plant’s soil moist at all times. But doing this can mean accidentally over-watering your plant. Which makes using fast-draining soil super important.
When it comes to fast-draining soil, porous soil works the best. Porous soil allows excess water to drain, instead of holding onto all that unneeded water. Over-watering can make your plant sick and fast.
Porous soil can also hold onto the moisture your plant needs to thrive. You don’t want all the water to fall through to the bottom.
You can make fast-draining and porous soil yourself. A great mix for your Begonia rex will have:
- peat moss
The Begonia rex requires bright but indirect sunlight. This plant is only a semi-tropical plant. And it’s beautiful leaves are sensitive to direct sunlight.
Direct sunlight can cause damage to this plant. The most common affliction from too much direct sunlight is the scorching of leaves. The scorch marks can be either dark or white.
To get bright indirect light, place your Begonia rex in either a north or east-facing window.
Your plant will get plenty of sun but it won’t receive direct sunlight. Don’t forget to rotate your plant whenever possible so all parts are getting equal amounts of light.
You can also use artificial lights with this Begonia. Make sure you sit your plant a few inches away instead of sitting it right under the light.
The soil for your Begonia rex should always be moist. You should only allow the top inch or so of the soil to dry out before you water. You can test the moisture with your finger.
Be careful not to over-water your plant though. It’s easy to do, especially when trying to keep the soil moist.
The biggest plant disease you want to avoid from over-watering is root rot. It’s also the most common issue you’ll come across. This plant disease can destroy a plant.
Other common problems caused by over-watering include yellowing leaves, fungi, and stunted growth.
Keep in mind, you’ll want to use distilled water for this plant. The Begonia rex originates in areas where there’s no salt in the water. So, the salt build-up is easy to do. Tap water is full of salt as well as other chemicals that can harm your plant.
The temperature of a Begonia rex’s environment should range between 65F (18C) to 75F (24C). At night, the temperature should never drop below 60F (16C).
You should avoid freezing temperatures at all times. This plant dislikes cold temperatures. It can harm or even kill your plant.
High humidity isn’t necessary for a Begonia rex. But the air in the plant’s environment can’t be dry. There should at least be 50% humidity around this plant at all times.
Even though high humidity isn’t required, it keeps the plant full, lush, and healthy. For the healthiest plant, you’ll need to create humidity yourself.
There are several ways to create humidity for any indoor plant. The easiest method is to buy a humidifier. Humidifiers allow you to adjust the humidity as needed. But they can get pricey.
Another method involves spritzing the leaves of your plant now and then. When the water evaporates, it creates moisture in the air.
There is a major downside to spritzing the Begonia rex. If you do this too often, it can create powdery mildew. Begonias are prone to mildew and mold.
One of our favorite methods for creating high humidity is the pebble tray method. This is an easy method and it doesn’t cost much. You may have everything you need at home already.
You start by filling a tray with smooth pebbles. Then go ahead and fill the tray with water. The water shouldn’t flow over the pebbles. It should sit right under the top layer. Now, set your plant on the pebbles.
You’ll only need to refill the tray with water once it’s empty. The water will evaporate over time, keeping humidity in the air at all times. This moisture goes straight to your plant since it sits on top of the water source.
For a Begonia rex, normal houseplant fertilizer will do fine. But you want to do it at half strength about every two to three weeks.
You should only fertilize this plant during the growing season. Once fall hits, the plant goes into dormant mode. This means it won’t absorb the fertilizer.
The salt from the fertilizer can build up in the soil, causing serious fertilizer burn. This can harm the Begonia’s roots as well as the leaves.
There are two main ways to propagate a Begonia rex. For the best results, you’ll want to use the root division process. But you can also propagate this plant through leaf cuttings.
We’ll walk you through both methods step-by-step down below.
A Begonia rex can grow to be 12 to 18 inches in height. The leaves on this plant can grow to be about six inches in length.
When it comes to the Begonia rex, you want to re-pot in a shallow plant pot. Begonia rex plants are rhizomatous plants. They need room to spread. Unlike other houseplants, bigger plant pots are better.
Once you see the roots of the plant coming through the pot’s drainage holes, it’s time to re-pot it.
Always be careful during this process, you don’t want to damage the Begonia rex plant’s roots.
Begonia Rex Propagation Steps
Propagating a Begonia rex doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s usually an easy process if you know what steps to take.
We’re going to walk you through how to propagate using root division. We’ll also teach you how to propagate this plant using leaf cuttings.
Using Root Division
- The first thing you do is to dig up your Begonia rex plant. You want to be careful during this process so you don’t injure the plant’s roots.
- Once your plant is free from soil, you need to wash off the roots. This makes them easier to work with because they’re easier to see. The easiest way to do this is to run a faucet or hose over the roots. Make sure the water isn’t running full blast.
- You need to remove all dead or harmed roots right away. This stops any plant disease from spreading. You can use a pair of sterilized pruning shears to do this.
- Most of the time the roots should be easy to divide by hand. If you’re afraid to damage the roots, you can also use pruning shears for this step. Make sure you sterilize the pruning shears with isopropyl alcohol.
- Lay the Begonia rex plant’s roots on a paper towel. Let them dry before you head on to the next step.
- Since you have to wait for the roots to dry, go ahead and get the plant pot ready. It should have drainage holes. Fill the plant pot with porous and fast-draining soil.
- Once the roots have dried, it’s time to plant them. The roots should be completely covered in soil.
- Now you care for the new plant like you do the mother Begonia rex. Make sure the soil is always moist. And make sure your plant is always getting bright but indirect sunlight.
Using Leaf Cuttings
- You need the perfect Begonia rex leaf cutting to master this type of propagation. When you go to cut, make sure the leaf-cutting has three inches of the petiole attached. Use a pair of sterilized pruning shears to get your leaf cutting.
- Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone. This will double the chance of the perfect Begonia rex plant.
- Time to get the plant pot ready. This plant pot should have drainage holes on the bottom. And the soil should be a porous and fast-draining soil.
- Once the plant pot is ready to go, you can go ahead and plant the leaf-cutting. Place the leaf-cutting so it’s sticking out of the soil at a 45-degree angle. Make sure you pack the soil tightly around the cutting. This will help make it stand up.
- It’s important to protect your leaf cutting from harm while it starts to root. Plus, you want to trap in moisture so it’ll grow quicker. To do this, you want to cover the leaf-cutting in plastic wrap. You can use tape to keep the plastic wrap to the cutting. Don’t remove the plastic wrap until a few new leaves have grown.
- Now you get to take care of it as you do the original Begonia rex. It should be getting bright indirect light. The soil should always be moist.
Varieties of Begonias
Begonias are some of our favorite indoor plants. And the Begonia rex isn’t the only wonder species out there.
Here are some other cool Begonia species to check out.
The Begonia tuberous plant creates beautiful pink flowers. These flowers have a slight resemblance to roses. They’re perfect for the pastel plant lover.
This Begonia species have leaves with a fun fuzzy feel. They come in a variety of colors, the most common color being green.
This Begonia creates both gorgeous leaves and flowers. The leaves are narrow and spotted white. The flowers can turn orange, pink, and white.
These are gorgeous flowers with frilly edges. They bloom in a number of colors including pink, orange, and red.
Common Problems with the Begonia Rex
There are a few plant pests that love the Begonia rex. The bright side is, if you find an infestation early it’s easy to get rid of. Plus, there will be minimal damage to your plant.
Mealybugs are the biggest plant pest problem with this Begonia. You’ll know you have a mealybug infestation if you see cotton fluff covering your plant.
These strange plant pests are soft-bodied. But they’re covered in a cotton-like substance that protects them from outside forces.
Mealybugs like to feed on the sap from inside of a plant. This means they steal the hydration and nutrition from the plant. The sap handles carrying all this good stuff throughout the entirety of the plant.
Spider mites love Begonias as well. These mites aren’t actual insects but arachnids instead. They’re very small and hard to detect. But if you place a piece of paper under your plant and shake it, you should see them fall.
Spider mites also feed on the sap from your plant. A small infestation isn’t a big deal but once it grows, your plant can be in big trouble.
The biggest way to prevent plant pests is to examine all new plants before you bring them into your home. Pests love hopping from one plant to another.
Another way to prevent pests is to always remove dead or dying leaves right away.
To get rid of an infestation naturally, you should try neem oil. It’s a natural oil and isn’t known to harm many plants. But you should always test a small area of your plant to be on the safe side.
You need to dilute the neem oil with water. Then you can use the mix to spray down your plant. It suffocates the pests within only minutes. You’ll want to repeat this process about three days later.
When an infestation is too big for you to handle, consider pesticides. They should always be your last resort because they contain chemicals that can harm.
Tips for an Unhappy Begonia Rex
The Begonia rex, like many other Begonias, is susceptible to several plant issues. It’s important to pay careful attention to your plant so you can fix any problems as they arise.
Here are some tips for the most common plant problems you’ll come across.
Your Begonia Rex has Dry Leaves or is Losing Leaves
Many plant lovers are fooled by a Begonia rex with dry leaves. They assume that the plant needs more water. So, they water the plant more and more.
Truth is, dry leaves are a sign of over-watering. You want to switch out the saturated soil for fresh moist soil. And always make sure the first inch of soil is dry before you water your Begonia rex.
You’ll also want to check the roots to make sure root rot hasn’t started. If it has, remove the rotten roots. But if all the roots are rotten, there isn’t anything you can do for the plant.
Your Begonia Rex has Silver or Grey Spores
Begonia rex plants can easily get mildew or fungal diseases. If you see silver or grey spores on your plant, it has Botrytis Blight disease.
Blight plant disease is difficult to battle. According to Cornell University, your Begonia is susceptible to this disease in wet or humid environments.
To treat this disease, start by removing all infected leaves on the plant. Get rid of these infected leaves right away. This is to prevent the spread of the spores and fungi. You should also make sure there’s great air circulation near your plant.
If you’re worried about the disease popping up again, consider using a fungicide. They’re full of chemicals so it’s important to test an area of your plant before using it.
Your Begonia Rex has a White Powdery Substance
Like we stated above, Begonia rex plants are prone to mildew and fungi. When you see a white powdery substance all over your plant, you’re dealing with powdery mildew. Powdery mildew is a pain to get rid of but with a lot of effort, it’s possible.
You have to remove all the infected leaves so it doesn’t spread. You’ll also need to make sure there’s plenty of air circulation.
A great way to prevent powdery mildew is through a spray mix you can make at home. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda, a tablespoon of canola oil, and a tablespoon of dish soap. Spray your plant down every three weeks or so.
Begonia Rex FAQ
Is the Begonia rex plant toxic to animals?
Yes, the Begonia rex is toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. This is because the leaves are covered in calcium oxalate crystals. It can affect the animal’s breathing and causing excessive drooling. In worst-case scenarios, it can kill your pet.
Why are the leaves on my Begonia rex fading?
Fading leaves on a Begonia rex is a sign of too much direct sunlight. Move your plant to a shadier area. Make sure the sun or artificial light isn’t shining right on the plant.
How many Begonia rex plants can I put in one pot?
We recommend only planting one Begonia rex per pot. These plants can grow wide. If there are several plants in one pot, they’re going to crowd together.
The Begonia rex is a gorgeous plant. It’s perfect for the Begonia lover. It’s versatile and fits in with any collection of indoor plants.
Caring for this plant is simple. With the right attitude, you’ll have several healthy Begonias around your home.