Begonia Rex (Begonia rex-cultorum) is also known as fancy-leafed Begonia, Painted-leaf begonia, Rex Begonia, and King Begonia. Initially found in Vietnam, India, and some parts of China, they are a species of rhizomatous begonias.
Begonia Rex plants have colorful leaves and are famous for their ornamental value. They have some of the most colorful foliage with hues ranging from purple, red, green, brown, pink, and even silver.
The best part about this Begonia is that it does not produce any thorns! It only grows leaves on its stem, so there’s no chance of getting pricked when handling this plant. Although the process of caring for this plant is pretty taxing, it all becomes worth it once the foliage comes to full bloom!
- Begonia Rex Main Characteristics
- Begonia Rex Care
- Begonia Rex Varieties (Cultivars)
- Propagating Begonia Rex
- Potting and Repotting Begonia Rex
- Common Pests
- Common Problems
- How to Grow Begonia Rex Plants – Plant Care Tips (Video)
Begonia Rex Main Characteristics
|Rex Begonia; Fancy-Leafed Begonia; Painted-Leaf begonia; King Begonia
|Vietnam, India, Southeast China
|Benitochiba, Carolina Moon, China Curl, Curly Fireflush, David Blais, Dewdrop, Emerald Beauty, Escargot, Fireworks, Green Gold, Helen Lewis, Hilo Holiday, Ironstone, Martin Johnson, Midnight Magic, Mikado, Namur, Orient, Pink Champagne, Princess of Hanover, Red Robin, Regal Minuet, Rocheart, Roi de Roses, Sal’s Comet, Sea Serpent, Silver Cloud, Silver King, Silver Queen
|USDA Hardiness Zones
|10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
|Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet;
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
|Fall, Summer (insignificant)
|By seeds, by leaf cuttings, by sections of rhizome
|Deep shade (less than 2 hours of sunlight),
Partial shade (2-6 hours of sunlight)
|Good Drainage, Moist, Occasionally Dry
|Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats, Toxic to Horses
Begonia Rex Care
Begonia rex is not a plant you would call hassle-free. It is high-maintenance and needs exacting care, preferably indoors or in a shady spot. It is also essential to be aware that begonia rex is susceptible to pests and diseases, so preventing them from affecting your plant is vital. Despite the extra care required, this is a beautiful plant that can add a touch of elegance to any home or garden.
Light and Location
The Painted-Leaf Begonia needs to partial shade with bright indirect light. If the light only comes from one direction, turn the pot slightly after a week; every part needs equal sunlight. Ensure not to expose it directly to the sun. That can quickly result in the leaves burning. Alternatively, an indoor garden with bright fluorescent light can also work.
If a patio with the right temperature and shade is available, it would be the ideal choice. On the other hand, glass terrariums are also a good choice if the right temperature conditions for plant growth are not naturally available.
Watering is perhaps the most delicate part of caring for this plant. Do it frequently, but only as much as is needed to keep the compost slightly damp. Also, don’t allow water to collect at the stem’s base. In the summer, it’s best to let the pot dry out a bit before adding fresh water. Finally, keep the soil moist throughout the winter.
The temperature also requires extra care. Room temperatures between 60–70°F are where Begonia Rex grows the best. Ideally, this should be the case all year round. However, this is not always feasible due to the seasonality of the climate or air-conditioning. Therefore, in a colder environment where the room temperature falls below 55°F, Begonia Rex must have access to an area where the temperature reaches the required limit.
For optimal growth, the Rex Begonia requires a high level of humidity. Because they prefer to be in the shade, pair them with other plants in an indoor garden with plenty of humidity (around 50 percent).
Fertilizer requirements for the painted leaf begonia are not overly harsh. Feed the pot the plant is in every two weeks with a new dose. There are no special requirements for fertilizer; any balanced fertilizer will do. To ensure optimum growth, opt for giving quarter-strength fertilizer to the pot every couple of weeks.
Begonia Rex Varieties (Cultivars)
Cultivars of the Begonia rex-cultorum group of plants are some of the more extensive you will find among common plants. Many of them have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
- China Curl
- Curly Fireflush
- Helen Lewis
- Pink Champagne
- Princess of Hanover
- Red Robin
- Regal Minuet
- Roi de Roses
- Silver King
- Silver Queen
These are only some of the more recognized cultivars of the Rex-Cultorum group. Hundreds of more named cultivars and even more unnamed Begonia Rex varieties are hybridized daily.
Propagating Begonia Rex
We can use seeds, leaf cuttings, root cutting, or stem cuttings to propagate the Begonia Rex. We can sow seeds either in seed trays or directly into the ground. When grown from seeds, begonias will take a while to flower. We can take leaf cuttings from any healthy begonia leaf. To take cuttings, water the mother plant, select a leaf, and make cuts across the veins. We can take root cuttings from a young begonia plant that has at least two pairs of leaves. The best time to take root cutting is in spring or early summer. It would be best to have a healthy stem with at least three nodes to propagate Begonia Rex from stem cuttings.
Potting and Repotting Begonia Rex
When potting your Rex Begonia, using high organic matter soil is essential. It has more nutrients than traditional potting mix and is easier for the plant to breathe in, especially a rhizomatous species like the Painted-Leaf Begonia. A pot around 12 inches in width would do nicely but keep the height shallow.
It is best to repot in early spring when the rhizome starts showing above the soil. Another tip to ensure that your plant grows evenly is to rotate the pot regularly. Turning this way will ensure that it has even sunlight and good air circulation. Finally, plan and pick a container that goes well with the coloring of the leaves. It’s all about aesthetics with the Begonia Rex.
Begonia rex-cultorum is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. Kidney failure is the primary cause of concern in grazing animals. Vomiting, salivation, and muscle tremors are also common side effects. In addition, the roots are much more toxic than the leaves.
Be on the lookout for Mealybugs, aphids, red spider mites, whitefly, and thrips. The primary causes for concern for the Painted-Le Begonia are their sap-sucking habits. These pests can cause leaf curling, stunting of growth, and reduced flowering. Although you can use a commercial fungicide to combat these pests, prevention is the best method.
White powder on leaves?
The most likely culprit is powdery mildew, a fungal infection caused by drought, excessive heat, high humidity, or inadequate air circulation. Gently prune away the affected area and spray fungicide.
Is the plant losing leaves?
Either there’s too much water, or there’s too much heat. So, reduce the amount of water you feed it and move it to a chillier spot. Also, try to give it more light to improve the overall leaf health.
Both overwatering and underwatering could be the reason behind this issue. It’s tricky to solve but refer to the watering guide to find the optimal watering point for your plant.
Grey fluff on parts of the plant?
Grey Mould (botrytis) has developed on the leaves. Damp conditions and overcrowding can cause this condition. Isolate the plant from other begonias to prevent further spread and spray fungicide.
How to Grow Begonia Rex Plants – Plant Care Tips (Video)
What type of Begonia do I have?
Refer to this guide.
How to care for Rex Begonia?
We’ve discussed Begonia Rex’s care extensively in this article. The critical point is to exercise a precise watering regimen and to put the plant in good locations.
How to propagate a Rex Begonia?
This plant propagates by seeds, division (stem or roots), and leaf cuttings.
Why is my Rex Begonia dying?
Refer to the Common Problems section.
How often to water Rex Begonia?
The soil surface should become dry before the next watering session. Dig into the top layer of the compost to check.