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Wax Begonia

Grow Lush Wax Begonias in Your Garden!

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to grow wax begonias in your garden. Wax begonias are the perfect addition to any garden, offering a burst of color and charm that is sure to impress. Whether you have a green thumb or are a novice gardener, these versatile plants are easy to grow and maintain.

Known for their waxy leaves and beautiful blooms, wax begonias come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. From the vibrant reds and pinks to the delicate whites, there is a wax begonia to suit every garden style. The Ambassador series, Cocktail series, and Olympia series are just a few popular varieties to choose from.

But that’s not all! Wax begonias are also adaptable when it comes to light requirements. They can thrive in both partial shade and full sun, making them suitable for various areas in your garden. And when it comes to care, they are relatively low-maintenance, requiring regular watering and periodic fertilization.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about growing wax begonias in your garden. From their appearance and light requirements to watering tips and fertilizing techniques, we have you covered. We’ll also discuss potting options, propagation methods, common pests and diseases to watch out for, and whether these plants can be perennials or annuals.

Appearance of Wax Begonias

When it comes to adding a pop of color and charm to your garden, wax begonias are an excellent choice. These versatile plants boast bold and vibrant flowers in shades of red, pink, and white, making them a sight to behold. Whether you prefer single or double rows of petals, wax begonias offer a variety of options to suit your taste.

But it’s not just the flowers that make wax begonias so appealing. Their foliage is equally stunning, with leaves that have a waxy appearance and come in varying shades of green to bronze. This unique feature adds texture and depth to your garden, creating a visually pleasing landscape that is sure to impress.

Additionally, wax begonias come in a range of sizes, making them suitable for any space in your garden. Whether you have a small patio or a sprawling backyard, there’s a wax begonia variety that will fit perfectly. From compact plants reaching just six inches in height to taller varieties that can grow up to three feet, you can create the desired look and feel to complement your garden.

Flower colorTypes of petalsFoliage colorPlant size
RedSingle or double rowsGreen to bronze6 inches to 3 feet
PinkSingle or double rowsGreen to bronze6 inches to 3 feet
WhiteSingle or double rowsGreen to bronze6 inches to 3 feet

As you can see, wax begonias offer a wide range of color options, allowing you to create stunning flowerbeds, borders, or container displays. Their vibrant flowers and attractive foliage make them a standout choice for any garden. So, why not consider adding these beautiful plants to your outdoor space and enjoy their stunning appearance all season long?

Light Requirements for Wax Begonias

Group of Wax Begonia (Begonia Semperflorens) Indoor plants Displayed at Garden
Instagram @kazy_bloomingflowers

When it comes to growing wax begonias, understanding their light requirements is key to ensuring their optimal growth and blooming. Wax begonias are known for their versatility in tolerating different light conditions, making them a suitable choice for various garden settings. Whether you have a sunny spot or a shady corner, there’s a wax begonia variety that can thrive in your garden.

Wax begonias can handle both partial shade and full sun, but their light preferences may vary depending on the variety and leaf color. Some varieties, particularly those with bronze leaves, are more tolerant of full sun exposure. On the other hand, most varieties of wax begonias prefer partial shade because they naturally thrive as understory plants in the forest.

If you have green-leaved wax begonias, it’s best to provide them with a location that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. This helps prevent leaf scorching and allows the plants to thrive in the ideal light conditions they prefer.

Light RequirementsRecommended Conditions
Partial ShadeFiltered sunlight or areas with a few hours of direct morning sunlight and afternoon shade.
Full SunSix or more hours of direct sunlight per day; suitable for varieties with bronze leaves.

Watering Tips for Wax Begonias

Proper watering is essential for maintaining the health and beauty of your wax begonias. These plants thrive in well-drained soil that is kept consistently moist, but not overly wet. By following these watering tips, you can ensure that your wax begonias receive the right amount of moisture:

  1. Check the soil moisture: Before watering, gently press your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle. If the top inch of the soil feels dry, it’s time to water.
  2. Watering frequency: Wax begonias benefit from regular watering. Depending on the weather conditions and soil type, this may be around 2-3 times per week. Adjust the frequency based on the moisture level of the soil.
  3. Avoid overwatering: While it’s important to keep the soil moist, overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues. Make sure the soil has proper drainage to prevent waterlogged roots.
  4. Watering technique: To minimize the risk of fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew, water your begonias at the base of the plant rather than overhead. Using a soaker hose or a watering can with a narrow spout can help deliver water directly to the soil.
  5. Timing matters: Try to water your wax begonias in the morning or late afternoon to avoid watering during intense sunlight. This helps prevent leaf scorch and allows the plants to absorb the moisture more effectively.

Fertilizing Wax Begonias

Group of Blooming Wax Begonia (Begonia Semperflorens) Indoor Plants at Garden Area
Instagram @westwoodgardens

Proper fertilization is essential for the healthy growth and abundant blooms of wax begonias in your garden. By providing the right nutrients, you can ensure that your begonias thrive and add vibrant colors to your outdoor space. When fertilizing wax begonias, it’s important to use a balanced fertilizer that contains equal parts nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. This balanced ratio promotes overall plant health and helps to maintain the right nutrient levels in the soil.

When applying fertilizer to your wax begonias, start by incorporating it into the soil at the time of planting. This will help to establish a good foundation for the plants and encourage strong root development. After the initial application, continue fertilizing throughout the growing season. Once the begonias start to bloom, switch to a fertilizer with a higher phosphorous content to support flower production.

A controlled-release fertilizer can be a convenient option for fertilizing wax begonias. These slow-release formulas gradually release nutrients over time, providing a steady supply of nourishment to the plants. This helps to prevent over-fertilization and the risk of burning the plants. Remember to follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for proper application rates.

It’s important to note that tuberous begonias have slightly different fertilization requirements. During the first flowering period, tuberous begonias benefit from a high-nitrogen fertilizer to encourage vigorous growth. Once the plants start blooming, switch to a balanced or low-nitrogen formula to promote healthy blooms and overall plant development.

By providing your wax begonias with the right nutrients through regular fertilization, you can enjoy lush, vibrant plants that thrive in your garden. Remember to use a balanced fertilizer, adjust the nutrient ratio based on the growth stage of your begonias, and consider using controlled-release formulas for convenience and optimal plant health.

Potting Wax Begonias

If you’re looking to add a touch of beauty to your garden or outdoor space, wax begonias are an excellent choice. These versatile plants are not only suitable for traditional flowerbeds, but they also thrive in containers and hanging baskets. Let’s explore how you can pot wax begonias and create stunning displays in your garden.

When selecting wax begonias for containers and hanging baskets, consider the size and growth habit of the varieties. Smaller wax begonias work perfectly for container gardening, as they won’t overwhelm the space. On the other hand, larger wax begonias can create a dramatic effect when planted en masse in landscaping.

For containers and hanging baskets, look for cascading varieties like Begonia boliviensis and angel wing types. These begonias have trailing stems which add a beautiful cascading effect, making them ideal for adding visual interest to your outdoor spaces.

When potting wax begonias in containers or hanging baskets, it’s essential to ensure that the containers have good drainage. Wax begonias prefer well-drained soil and can suffer from root rot if they are sitting in waterlogged soil.

Choose pots or baskets with drainage holes at the bottom to allow excess water to escape. You can also add a layer of gravel or small stones at the bottom of the container to promote better drainage. Fill the container with a well-draining potting mix, ideally a mix specifically designed for container gardening.

When placing wax begonias in containers or hanging baskets, make sure to provide adequate spacing between plants. This allows each plant to receive sufficient airflow and sunlight, promoting healthy growth and preventing the spread of diseases.

Potting wax begonias in containers and hanging baskets is a fantastic way to enjoy their vibrant blooms and attractive foliage up close. With the right care and attention, your potted wax begonias will thrive and bring an abundance of color and charm to your garden.

Propagating Wax Begonias

Top View of Blooming Wax Begonia (Begonia Semperflorens) Indoor Plant on Wooden Rack at Garden Area
Instagram @mysharphome

If you want to expand your collection of beautiful wax begonias, you can easily propagate them through stem cuttings or seeds. Here’s how:

Stem Cuttings

To propagate wax begonias through stem cuttings, follow these simple steps:

  1. Trim the stems of a mature and healthy wax begonia to about four inches in length.
  2. Insert the cut end of the stem into moist potting soil or a seed-starting mix.
  3. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged.
  4. Place the container in a location with proper light. Wax begonias thrive in bright, indirect sunlight.
  5. Within a few weeks, the cutting should develop roots. You can check by gently tugging on the cutting to feel resistance.
  6. Once the roots have established, you can transplant the cutting into a larger pot or directly into your garden.

Propagating from Seeds

If you prefer propagating wax begonias from seeds, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Start by filling pots with a seed-starting mix. You can use small individual pots or seed trays.
  2. Place two to three wax begonia seeds on top of the soil in each pot.
  3. Lightly cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil, about 1/4 inch deep.
  4. Water the pots gently to keep the soil moist, but not saturated.
  5. Provide 14 hours of light each day to help the seeds germinate. You can use fluorescent lights or a greenhouse if natural light is limited.
  6. Once the seedlings have grown a few inches tall and have developed their first true leaves, they are ready for transplanting.
  7. Choose a sunny spot in your garden and carefully transplant the seedlings, ensuring they have enough space to grow and thrive.

Growth and Development of Wax Begonias

Wax begonias require some time to mature and unleash their full growth potential, particularly in warm environments. To ensure optimal growth, it’s best to plant them after the last spring frost, allowing them to thrive in the upcoming season. When planting wax begonias in flowerbeds, make sure to space them about 12 inches apart to provide enough room for their development.

Typically, wax begonias reach a height of around a foot, but certain larger varieties can even grow up to three feet. While it may require some patience, the growth process is definitely worth the wait. As the summer heat kicks in, these resilient plants will reward you with a spectacular display of blooms, adding vibrancy to your garden.

Growth RateModerate
HeightApproximately 1 to 3 feet
SpacingAbout 12 inches apart
Blooming TimeAfter the summer heat kicks in

Pests and Diseases of Wax Begonias

While wax begonias are generally hardy plants, they can still attract a few common pests and be susceptible to certain diseases. By staying vigilant and taking preventative measures, you can keep your wax begonias healthy and thriving.


Common pests that can affect wax begonias include:

  • Mealybugs
  • Spider mites
  • Thrips
  • Scale insects
  • Slugs and snails

To prevent and manage these pests, regularly inspect your plants for any signs of infestation. If you notice any pests, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control their population. Alternatively, you can introduce natural predators, such as ladybugs, to the garden.


Wax begonias can be susceptible to several fungal diseases, including:

  • Powdery mildew
  • Botrytis blight
  • Pythium root and stem rot

To prevent these fungal diseases, avoid overwatering your begonias and promote good air circulation by spacing them out adequately. If powdery mildew is a recurring issue, consider applying a fungicide specifically designed to combat this disease.

Prevention Measures

Here are some prevention measures you can take to keep your wax begonias healthy:

  • Provide proper spacing to allow for adequate airflow between plants.
  • Avoid overwatering and ensure your plants have well-drained soil.
  • Carefully inspect new plants before introducing them to your garden to prevent introducing pests or diseases.
  • Apply organic insecticides or treatments as needed, following the instructions on the product label.
  • Regularly monitor your plants for any signs of pests or diseases and take timely action.
MealybugsPowdery mildew
Spider mitesBotrytis blight
ThripsPythium root and stem rot
Scale insects 
Slugs and snails 

Wax Begonias as Perennials or Annuals

When it comes to wax begonias, they are commonly grown as annuals, especially in colder regions where they are not frost-tolerant. However, if you want to explore the possibility of having wax begonias as perennials, there is an option with tuberous begonias.

Tuberous begonias can be dug up in the fall and stored indoors during the winter. By taking this extra step, you can replant them in the spring, giving these tuberous begonias the opportunity to bloom year after year, making them a potential perennial addition to your garden.

Most wax begonias, regardless of being annuals or perennials, will bloom nonstop throughout the growing season, adding a burst of vibrant color to your garden. These charming flowers will continue to grace your garden until the arrival of frost, bringing joy and beauty to your outdoor space.

Wax BegoniasTypeGrowth HabitBlooming Season
AnnualsWax begonias (excluding tuberous begonias)Compact, bushySpring to fall
PerennialsTuberous begoniasVaries by varietySpring to fall

Why Choose Wax Begonias for Your Garden?

When it comes to choosing the perfect plants for your garden, wax begonias are a fantastic option. These versatile beauties offer a wide range of colors and are incredibly low maintenance, making them a favorite among gardeners. Whether you have a flowerbed or a container garden, wax begonias can bring a burst of vibrant color to any space.

One of the main reasons why wax begonias are so popular is their versatility. They can thrive in various garden settings, from full-sun areas to shady spots. You can easily find a wax begonia variety that suits your specific garden conditions, ensuring their success in your outdoor space.

Another enticing feature of wax begonias is their long blooming season. From spring until the first frost, these plants will continuously produce beautiful flowers, offering you months of color and beauty. Additionally, their foliage is equally stunning, with waxy leaves that come in shades of green and bronze, adding visual interest even when they are not in bloom.

One of the best things about wax begonias is their low maintenance requirements. They are relatively drought-tolerant and can handle a bit of neglect, making them perfect for busy gardeners or those who prefer plants that don’t require constant attention. As long as you provide them with the right amount of light and water, wax begonias will thrive with minimal fuss.

So, if you’re looking for a garden plant that is versatile, adds a pop of color, and is easy to care for, wax begonias are the ideal choice. With their stunning flowers, attractive foliage, and low maintenance needs, they are sure to bring joy and beauty to your garden all season long.


Can I grow wax begonias in my garden?

Yes, wax begonias are a versatile and easy-to-grow plant that can add a burst of color and charm to any garden.

What do wax begonias look like?

Wax begonias have bold and vibrant flowers in shades of red, pink, and white, with single or double rows of petals. Their leaves have a waxy appearance and can range in color from green to bronze.

What are the light requirements for wax begonias?

Wax begonias can thrive in both partial shade and full sun. Some varieties, especially those with bronze leaves, can tolerate full sun. However, most varieties prefer partial shade as they are naturally a forest understory plant.

How should I water my wax begonias?

Wax begonias prefer regular watering to keep the soil moist, but not overly wet. Water them when the top inch of the soil feels dry, and avoid watering during times of intense sunlight to prevent leaf scorch.

What kind of fertilizer should I use for wax begonias?

Wax begonias benefit from regular fertilizer application. Use a balanced fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Switch to a fertilizer with more phosphorous than nitrogen once the blooms appear.

Can I grow wax begonias in containers and hanging baskets?

Yes, wax begonias are well-suited for containers and hanging baskets. Smaller varieties are ideal for container gardening, while cascading varieties like Begonia boliviensis and angel wing types are great for hanging baskets.

How can I propagate wax begonias?

Wax begonias can be propagated through stem cuttings or seeds. For stem cuttings, trim the stems to four inches and insert them into moist potting soil. Alternatively, place cuttings in water until new roots emerge, then transfer them to soil. To propagate from seeds, start them in pots filled with seed-starting mix and provide 14 hours of light each day.

How long does it take for wax begonias to grow?

Wax begonias take some time to mature and show a burst of growth. Plant them after the last spring frost and be patient, as they will start blooming after the summer heat kicks in.

What pests and diseases do wax begonias attract?

While wax begonias are generally not prone to major pest problems, they can attract mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, scale, slugs, and snails. It’s important to also watch out for fungal leaf diseases like powdery mildew.

Are wax begonias perennials or annuals?

Wax begonias are commonly grown as annuals, especially in colder regions. However, tuberous begonias can be dug up in the fall and stored indoors to be replanted in the spring, making them a potential perennial option.

Why should I choose wax begonias for my garden?

Wax begonias are a popular choice for gardens due to their versatility, vibrant colors, and low maintenance requirements. They can add a burst of color to various garden settings and have a long blooming season.

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