Table of contents:
Video: Growing Royal Begonias, Tuberous And Other Types Of Begonias In Rooms And In The Garden (part 1)
"Napoleon's ear" on the windowsill
The genus begonia got its name from the name of the great lover and gatherer of flowers M. Begon, who lived in the 17th century in San Domingo. In Russia, begonia was also called a completely historical name - "Napoleon's ear", apparently, for the similarity of the red underside of a leaf with a large frostbitten ear of representatives of the retreating French troops …
One of the most famous and favorite indoor plants can be safely called begonia. This genus includes about 1000 of the most diverse species, among which there are not only herbaceous plants, but also shrubs with perennial creeping rhizomes, undersized shrubs with erect or creeping shoots. In nature, begonias grow in the lower tier of tropical humid forests, in the mountains at an altitude of 3000-4000 m above sea level, less often in dry places of tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, America and Asia. In our northern regions, begonias live in houses, winter gardens, and in summer - in gardens, on balconies and terraces.
But no begonia species hibernates outdoors.
These plants, perhaps like no others, delight the eye with the richness of the patterns of their luxurious velvety or satin leaves, oblique in shape, surprise with reddish, crimson shades of the underside of leaves and pubescent petioles, the brightness of the color of numerous flowers of various sizes - from 2 cm to 20 cm and more in diameter.
Botanists explain the unusualness of the red underside of the leaves by the adaptability of these plants to catch additional green rays of light under the dense canopy of the tropical forest and turn them into heat, thereby increasing the temperature of the leaf. Often there are silvery leaf patterns, consisting of a layer of air cells, they serve the same purpose - to collect, like a lens, all possible rays of light, to warm the leaf in order to ensure evaporation of moisture and the survival of the species. Increased evaporation is also facilitated by an increase in the surface of the leaves due to wrinkles, bulges, hair outgrowths, which give the leaves a unique individual beauty. When examining the hairs of begonias under a microscope, it turns out that they are multicellular, unlike other plant species, in which they are unicellular and serve opposite purposes - to reduce moisture evaporation,protection from bright sun and animal eating.
In nature, large leaves of begonias, falling on moist warm ground, easily rooted at the intersection of veins on the underside of the leaf, forming many small plants - copies of the mother. This is how large-leaved royal begonias (Begonia Rex) are propagated at home or in greenhouse
. True, at home they do this under glass or film, pinning a horizontally laid sheet with veins notched from the inside out to a sterile (steamed) light substrate of peat and sand or perlite.
The heart-shaped asymmetric leaves of these begonias are distinguished by a particularly exquisite pattern of silvery, crimson, brownish stripes, spirals, spots, strokes on the amazingly beautiful velvety leaf tissue.
What conditions do they require? Moist air, a spacious place without touching the leaves of other plants, moderate watering without overdrying the coma, no drafts, uniform nutrition will allow you to preserve the beauty of these exquisite plants for a long time. In winter, the recommended air temperature is + 15 … + 16 ° С, in summer - a little higher. The place is bright, but without direct sunlight. It is useful to add an AVA-N capsule with full long-acting fertilizer to the pots every three months, which cancels all other feeding. But with an obvious insufficient green mass, additional nitrogen fertilization is given during the period of active growth.
Royal begonias require royal surroundings, so it is worth getting elegant pots for them in the old, even baroque style. And only a few colored copies of the royal begonias with olive silver, purple-black with a "silver" color on an elegant table with curved legs, inlaid mosaic table top allow you to create a special vintage corner where so nice to dream, read a favorite novel in a comfortable chair …
In ornamental gardening, it is customary to divide plants into decorative deciduous and flowering plants. Among the huge variety of begonias, the most widespread are about 125 species and hybrids, distinguished by both amazingly beautiful leaves and flowers that resemble roses, camellias, as well as butterflies and moths. Mason's begonia patterns are gorgeou
(brown "cross" on a bright green background of corrugated leaves);
Griffith begonias with a wavy crenate edge, a dark olive-green center and a wide silvery border along the edge, with a purple pubescence of the whole plant;
Bauer's begonias, or
brindlewith a bizarre painting of medium-sized velvety leaves with olive, reddish, brown on green, with a light center and veins, and many other species and varieties. You can decorate the whole house with representatives of the begonia genus, and this will be one of the most picturesque collections of unpretentious plants. Flowers of bush and ampelous species are not as decorative as those of others, but in their own way they are graceful, original. Their flowering is especially valuable in the autumn-winter period, when we are happy with any flower. Every year new varieties, hybrids, whole collections of these amazingly beautiful and completely unpretentious plants for indoor keeping appear.
A common requirement for these tropican women is the need for a warm and sufficiently humid habitat (substrate and air), but illumination is not so important for them. This is a big plus, since both decorative deciduous species and flowering ones, for example, semperflorence begonia, or
ever-flowering, as well as
gracilis begonia, can live quite safely both on the northern windows and in the courtyards-wells in the city center
. It is familiar to the townspeople from carpet flower beds with red, pink, white numerous flowers and leaves of different colors, but not everyone knows that such begonia can live for a long time in your home.
This herbaceous begonia begins to bloom in late February - early March and continues to bloom until late autumn, it is very elegant and varied in color of leaves and flowers. Bushes with succulent stems can be 10-15-30 cm high. There are many varieties, for example, with brownish-red leaves and white, pink, red flowers; or green leaves, with a reddish border and the same rich floral range. In the sun, their leaves shine elegantly, the petals of flowers also play with the inner shine of tiny granules, visible even to the naked eye.
Read the end of the article →
Elena Kuzmina, Pushkin
Photo by the author