clean air filter indoor houseplants

Wax Begonia

Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens) 

wax begonias purify indoor air of toxic gases

Main Points:

This popular succulent hailing from Brazil offers an ever-blooming splash of colour, with bright flowers and green or red-tinged waxy leaves. The most common flower colours and combinations are white, pink, red, orange, yellow.

Wax Begonias are compact little plants that are usually grown as annuals. They can be cultivated either indoors or out, in pots, window boxes or tubs.

Display your begonia among green foliage plants and the begonia will accent a sunny spot in your home with year-round flowers. 

A fast-growing plant, the Wax Begonia will reach a height of 6 to 9 inches or more in a few short months. When it has reached the limit of its vertical growth, it will branch out, spreading as wide as it is tall.

Care: 

Full sun to semi-sun.

Wax Begonias thrive in containers, flower boxes and in rock gardens, nestled in moist, composted soil.

Dry air might brown the leaves at the edges. However, do not mist the waxy leaves of this plant; moisture promotes mildew spores. Instead, move the plant to a sunny spot with good air circulation. If you simply MUST mist the leaves, do so early on in the mornings so the leaves are dry by nightfall. If your begonia loses colour in its waxy leaves, move the plant to a less sunny spot. 

Begonias are sensitive to overwatering, so allow soil to dry slightly between waterings. Feed every two weeks with a complete fertilizer throughout the year.

To produce stronger, vital blooms, pinch back young plants.

Potting: start seedlings in 3-inch pots, and move later into 5-inch pots. Use a rich, well-drained soil-based compost or loose potting soil.

Discard plants that have yellow patches on the leaves; this is a sign of viral or fungal attack, for which there is no cure. Discard the plants and adopt some new ones.