How to Care for Wax Leaf Begonias
Wax leaf begonias, Latin name Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum, are grown as annuals in flower gardens. Wax leaf begonias grow about 12 inches tall and produce continual blooming color throughout the summer. These shade-loving plants produce small blossoms in red, pink and white on a bushy mound of shiny succulent leaves. The leaves are green, variegated and bronze colored. Wax begonias are used in mass plantings, containers and above-ground planters.
- Moderately Easy
things you’ll need:
- Peat moss
- Wax leaf begonias
- Mix 2 to 4 inches of peat moss or compost into the soil of the planting area. Wax leaf begonias grow best in soil with lots of organic materials. Mix 1 inch of sand into the soil to improve drainage.
- Plant wax leaf begonias in a site that is not affected by extreme temperatures. Begonias prefer cool temperatures since they normally grow on the forest floor. Space the wax leaf begonias 6 to 8 inches apart and plant outside after all danger of frost has passed.
- Water the begonias in the morning so the plant leaves have time to dry off before cool evening temperatures occur. Allow the soil to dry between waterings. Do not use water that is high in salt since it will burn the begonia leaves and damage the roots.
- Feed the wax leaf begonia monthly with a water-soluble fertilizer mixed at half strength. Begonias are not heavy feeders like roses.
- Pick off the yellow and dead leaves. Pinch back the extra long stems to keep the wax leaf begonias looking tidy. Remove the dying flowers to encourage the begonias to keep blooming.
Tips & Warnings
Dig the wax leaf begonias up and transplant into a plant pot before the fall frosts occur. Cut the begonias back by one-third. The begonia will continue to produce flowers throughout the winter in a window with full sunlight.
Wax leaf begonias are susceptible to powdery mildew infection when grown in full shade. Remove the infected leaves. Mealybugs, which look like tiny puffs of cotton, attack wax leaf begonias. Wipe the mealybugs away with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.