Rex begonias (Begonia rex Putz) are admired for their fabulous foliage. This cultivar offers a wide range of colors, textures and shapes. In this article we will discuss how to grow begonia rex, how to propagate it from a leaf and all its care.
How to Propagate a Rex Begonia
Take cuttings from a healthy leaf of a rex begonia. Cut the leaf and stem from the main plant, then remove the stem from the leaf to keep only the leaf.
Flip the blade over and make a 1cm cut in five or six of the larger veins with your knife. In the photo above, I cut each vein about an inch from the central vein. It is in these cuts that new seedlings will form.
Turn the leaf over and press it into the soil mixture. Then, to keep the cuttings in contact with the mix, start driving pins through the blade into the soil.
Use as many as needed to keep the sheet flat. Avoid putting a pin in a main vein of the leaf, otherwise this vein may not take root.
A few stones can also help keep the rex begonia leaf from curling and pulling away from the mix.
Cover your container with clear plastic wrap. But be careful not to let the plastic touch the leaves or you could risk fungal problems.
Keep your leaf cuttings near 21 degrees Celsius and give them plenty of moisture. I mist mine daily and water the soil once a week.
Place the cuttings in a place where they get plenty of light but no direct sun, they need at least 8 hours of light a day.
Expect to have one or two plants per cutting and keep in mind that they can take up to 6 weeks to emerge, so be patient.
When the plants are 5 centimeters tall and have at least two leaves, they are ready for transplanting. The original sheet will likely have been torn and may even have disintegrated.
Growing Begonia rex
When to repot a Begonia Rex
Generally, you’ll want to reconsider repotting your rex begonia every 12 to 18 months to make room for its rhizomes. They spread out, so focus on increasing the width of the plant’s pot so it has enough soil to spread out and grow.
Ideal pot for growing Begonia Rex
The most suitable pots and planters for Rex begonias are wide and shallow to make room for their growing rhizomes.
Rex begonias prefer a pot that drains well, so clay pots with drainage holes work well. These plants also do well in a hanging basket.
type of terrain
The best type of soil for your rex begonia is a light, balanced potting mix. These plants like well-drained soil that retains some moisture, so adding things like peat moss and a layer of pebbles to the bottom of the container will ensure the plant has everything it needs to thrive. Rex begonias also appreciate loamy, sandy and calcareous environments.
Your Rex begonia will grow best in an area with lots of indirect light. You will need to rotate the plant regularly to ensure that it receives even light across all of its foliage.
I would recommend a quarter turn every week to help your begonia rex maintain even growth.
temperature and humidity
Rex begonias tend to be picky about temperature and humidity. Begonias being tropical and subtropical plants, they appreciate a soft and humid environment.
The ideal temperature for your rex begonia is between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius.
Despite the tropical roots of this plant, it is important to find a balance when it comes to humidity. The Rex begonia thrives in humidity above 50%, but is sensitive to excess water and can develop mold in excess humidity.
Bathrooms and kitchens are often good places in the house if growing indoors, although a warm spot near a lighted window is also a great option.
Rex Begonia Care
As a general rule, allow your Rex Begonia’s soil to drain and dry out 50-75% between waterings to prevent excess moisture.
The plant may also wilt slightly, which is a good indicator that it’s time to water again.
This should happen about every 7-10 days in spring and summer and about 14-21 days in late fall and winter.
Remember to water your rex begonia at the base to prevent the leaves from getting wet, and avoid overwatering.
Feeding and fertilization
Your rex begonia will benefit from a balanced diet (meaning an even amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, often called the “NPK” ratio) during its growing season during the warmer months.
You can give him a full quarter strength formula every 3-4 weeks during the summer. Reduce the fertilizing schedule as fall approaches and stop fertilizing the plant during the dormant winter months.
The royal begonia generally does not require pruning. If you find that the plant’s rhizomes outgrow the size of the pot without producing more foliage, you can cut them off.
You can also use the cuttings you take from the rhizome to grow new rex begonia plants.
Plagues and diseases
Rex begonias can be affected by pests such as scale insects and aphids, these two can be easily eliminated using a mixture of water with a little detergent, wet the affected area daily until they are disappear from the plant.
On the other hand, powdery mildew is a particularly troublesome problem for these plants, as it can move around and affect other plants in the house. Make sure the affected plant is isolated from other begonias, preferably in an area with good air circulation.
You can treat powdery mildew with a fungicide or household spray, using a mixture of water, kitchen soap, and baking soda, until it clears up. Watch: How to prevent and fight powdery mildew naturally.
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