Characteristics of royal begonia
Begonia royal (Begonia rex) – a plant from the Begoniaceae family (Begoniaceae) belongs to the large-leaved group. A popular indoor plant comes from Asia, from regions of northern India and China.
The genus of begonias is very diverse, the number of varieties of this plant exceeds a thousand with a diverse appearance. Some of them, like winter begonia, bloom beautifully almost all year round, including indoors. There are also begonias with decorative leaves. These include the royal begonia.
This is a potted begonia for growing at home. How does royal begonia bloom? This species is grown not for its flowers, but for its richly colored leaves. The inflorescences of the plant look very modest compared to the lush and bright leaves.
Fragile flowers are not very decorative, solitary, about 2 cm in diameter. From June to August (and sometimes in winter!) Begonia blooms with small, completely inconspicuous flowers that can be red, yellow, white or pink. To give growth to the leaves, inflorescences are often removed.
The plant reaches 30-40 cm in height and 50 cm in width, and is a decoration of the house all year round thanks to its decorative leaves. The leaves of the royal begonia are quite large, have a different shape and color of a heart-shaped, asymmetrical shape with a serrated edge. They come in different shades: green, pink and burgundy. Sparse hairs grow on the underside of the petioles.
Additional Information! The colorful begonia leaves are thick and fleshy. In addition, some varieties may have curled leaves. At the base, the leaves are twisted in a spiral (this is the Escargot variety, i.e. snail). Regardless of how the leaves look from above, they are red below.
The underground organ is a thick creeping rhizomes. The root of the flower spreads along the top layer of soil. From the royal begonia originates a large group of hybrid varieties obtained as a result of its crossing with other types of rhizomatous begonias.
Growing and caring for royal begonia
Begonias are easy to grow, transplant and maintain beautiful leaf color. That is why it is so willingly chosen for the home. Home begonia does not make great demands on the soil – a universal soil for flowers is enough. The plant is well placed in small pots.
Begonias love light, but not direct, scorching sunlight. Both too cold and too warm temperatures cause the royal begonia to get sick and wither. The optimum temperature for growth is 21-24 ° C, the minimum is 10 ° C. The air should be moderately humid. In winter, you need to take care of properly humidified air.
You need to water regularly, but in small portions. The plant does not tolerate flooding. However, it needs to be watered quite abundantly, especially in summer (a little less in winter). The ground should be moist, but there should be no water at the base.
Note! However, it is impossible to spray the leaves of royal begonia, like most plants with leaves covered with hairs, do not tolerate such treatment. For watering the plant, it is best to use soft water – settled or boiled.
Royal begonia hibernates in winter. Indoor begonias often shed their lower leaves before winter. This is completely normal and does not indicate a poor condition of the plant. Leaves grow back in spring. It is good to provide her at this time with lower temperatures (13-15 ° C), less often water and fertilize. During the growing season, begonia is fertilized with a complex fertilizer for plants with decorative leaves, or biohumus every 2-3 weeks.
Reproduction of royal begonia
Royal begonia can be propagated in several ways. The most popular is the harvesting of leaf cuttings. They are taken in late spring. Selected leaves are cut without petioles. The leaf is placed in a container with prepared soil, and pressed to the ground. The leaves can be divided into 2-3 parts (each of them should have visible vein ramifications). A piece of leaf is buried by about 1 cm.
Seedlings are best stored at 21°C under plastic wrap. Immediately after planting, carefully water it, and make sure that the substrate does not dry out (but it should not be wet either). After 4-6 weeks, begonias should take root.
Begonias can also be grown from seeds sown in early spring. However, this method takes more time. Another way to propagate a plant is to divide the rhizome.
It is necessary to remove the begonia from the pot and carefully, so as not to damage the roots, divide the root ball into parts. Then the resulting plants are placed in new pots, and put them in a permanent place.
Royal begonia and its varieties
The current royal begonias are hybrids, and this species in its pure form is now almost unknown. A huge number of varieties of this begonia are grown with different shapes and colors of leaves. The most beautiful are:
- Merry Christmas – a long-bred and popular variety has a lilac leaf border and light green with silver specks and silver-pink stripes;
- Salamander has silvery leaves with purple-green veins;
- Benito Chiba is a hybrid of Filigree Royal Begonia and Luxurious Begonia. Its leaves are deeply cut, silvery pink with purple veins.
- Recently, varieties with spirally twisted leaves have appeared: ‘L’Escargot’ – green with a silver-green stripe;
- Curly Fireflash – purple with a silvery coating;
- Crimson swirl have silver-violet leaves and heavily ruffled edges;
- Fireworks – leaves with purple and silver central stripes;
- Satin Jazz – red leaves with white veins.
Very popular among them are varieties that are easy to grow and have a spectacular appearance.
Diseases and pests
Royal begonias are disease and pest resistant. However, it happens that the roots and shoots of the plant begin to rot. The most common cause is begonia overflow.
Constantly inspect for pests and diseases. Aphids can settle on the surface of leaves, on shoots. They suck the juice from parts of the plant, and they lag behind in development, turn yellow and dry up. Aphids are also carriers of some viral diseases. Make a water-soap solution and water the leaves of the plant with it. In advanced cases, it is advisable to use insecticides.
The red mite sucks the juice from the underside of the leaves and entangles them with a thin cobweb. At first, the damage looks like yellow dots, later large spots are noticed. The leaves turn yellow, dry and fall off. Dry air stimulates the rapid spread of the red tick.
Powdery mildew. A white-gray coating appears on leaves, flowers, buds and shoots. Affected areas turn brown and die. Wash off with a sponge under a warm shower. In case of severe damage, spray with a 0.2% solution of foundationol (2 ml per 1 liter of water)
Excess moisture causes stem rot. The leaves turn pale, become soft, there are softened areas on the stem. If left untreated, the plant dies.
Brown, dry leaf edges – too dry indoor air, insufficient watering.
Note! With a lack of nutrients in the soil or insufficient watering, the leaves turn yellow or discolor, the flowers lose their color. Such symptoms are also present in too bright or insufficient light.
Falling leaves and flowers: cold draft, watering with cold water, insufficient lighting, excess moisture in the soil, high or low room temperature.
When a plant becomes over-elongated and loses old leaves, it needs to be rejuvenated, usually every 3 years.