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Growing Begonias Under Lights

Beautiful Rex Begonia leaf

Growing Begonias Under Lights

In this article, we will explore the subject of growing begonias under artificial lights. When you think of begonias, you might naturally be thinking of plants that are almost exclusively grown in an outdoor setting. And while it is true that there are many types of begonias that are grown almost exclusively in outdoor garden flower beds, there are also a significant number of varieties that do very well when grown under lights indoors. The most popular begonias that are grown indoors are the varieties that have exquisitely colored foliage such as the Rex Begonia which has the showiest foliage of all begonias.

Begonias Are One Large Plant Genus!

The Begonia genus is a large one, with over 1,000 different species and thousands of cultivars. This article will focus on the care of three main types of begonias that are commonly grown indoors: Rex Begonias, Wax Begonias, and Tuberous Begonias.

First, let’s start with Rex Begonias. These beauties are known for their gorgeous, colorful leaves, which come in a wide variety of patterns and shades. Because of their showy leaves, Rex Begonias are commonly grown as houseplants. They do best in bright, indirect light, and should be kept moist (but not soggy) at all times. Be sure to allow the soil to dry out a bit between watering. These plants are also relatively sensitive to temperature changes, so it is best to keep them in a consistent spot indoors.

Examples Rex Begonias

Begonia rex 'Great American Cities Omaha Beefsteak'.
Begonia rex ‘Great American Cities Omaha Beefsteak’.
Begonia rex-cultorum
Begonia rex-cultorum
Unidentified Begonia rex cultivars
Unidentified Begonia rex cultivar

Next, we have Wax Begonias. As the name suggests, these begonias are characterized by their waxy, glossy leaves. They come in a wide range of colors, from classic green to deep burgundy. Wax Begonias are also commonly grown as houseplants, and they prefer bright, indirect light and consistent moisture levels. These plants are a bit more tolerant of temperature fluctuations than Rex Begonias, but it is still best to keep them in a consistent spot.

Examples Of Wax Begonias

Begonia semperflorens
Begonia semperflorens
Begonia x semperflorens
Begonia x semperflorens

Finally, we have Tuberous Begonias. These begonias are known for their large, showy flowers, which come in a wide range of colors and patterns. Tuberous Begonias are not commonly grown as houseplants, as they prefer cooler temperatures and need a bit more light than Rex and Wax Begonias. However, if you have the right conditions in your home, they can make a beautiful addition to your indoor garden. Tuberous Begonias prefer bright, indirect light and cool temperatures (between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal). They also need a bit more water than Rex and Wax Begonias, so be sure to keep the soil moist (but not soggy) at all times.

Examples Tuberous Begonias

Begonia Crispa
Begonia Crispa
Begonia × tuberhybrida
Begonia × tuberhybrida

No matter what type of begonia you choose, they are all easy to care for and make beautiful additions to your home or garden. With a little bit of care, your begonias will thrive for many years to come.

How To Care For Begonias

Begonias are relatively easy to care for, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure they thrive.

  • First, begonias need well-drained soil. Begonias will not tolerate soggy soil, so it’s essential to ensure the soil drains well.
  • Second, begonias need bright, indirect light. Too much direct sun will scorch the leaves, so it’s best to place them in an area where they will receive bright light but no direct sun.
  • Third, begonias need to be watered regularly. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering, but never let it become scorched.
  • Fourth, Begonias are susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases. Aphids, mites, and whiteflies are common pests that can attack begonias. Begonias are also vulnerable to root rot, so it’s essential to ensure the soil drains well, and the plant is not sitting in water.

Begonia Culture Under Artificial Lights

While begonias can be grown under natural sunlight, they will often do better under artificial lights.

Begonias need bright, indirect light to thrive. LED grow lights are a good choice for begonias, as they emit very little heat and are energy-efficient. If you are growing begonias under artificial lights, choosing a light designed for plants is essential.

Choose a light specifically designed for plants, and place it at least 18 inches away from the begonias.

Begonias also need a humid environment to thrive. If the air in your home is dry, you may need to use a humidifier to raise the humidity levels around the begonias. You can also mist the leaves of the begonias with water to help increase humidity.

The ideal temperature for begonias is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are growing begonias under artificial lights, it’s essential to ensure that the lights are not too close to the plants, as this can raise the temperature and cause the begonias to suffer.

What Are The Best Types Of Artificial Lights To Grow Begonias?

A variety of artificial lights can be used to grow begonias, but the best type of light to use depends on the specific plant. For example, some begonias require more light than others. If you are unsure about what kind of light to use for your begonia, ask a local nursery or greenhouse owner for advice.

In general, however, most begonias will do well under fluorescent lights. These lights provide a broad spectrum of light that is similar to sunlight. They are also relatively inexpensive and easy to find. You can purchase fluorescent lights right here on our website.

If you are growing begonias to be displayed publicly, you may want to invest in higher-quality LED grow lights. These lights will help your plants produce more flowers and foliage. However, they are also more expensive.

No matter which artificial grow light you use, be sure to place the begonia near the light source.

What Is The Best Type Of Soil To Grow Begonias In?

The best soil for growing begonias is a well-drained, humus-rich mix. Begonias do not like to sit in wet soils, so it is vital that the combination you choose drains well and does not compact. You can make your potting mix by combining equal parts peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. You can also purchase a pre-made potting mix at your local garden center.

Potting mix for Begonias

How Far Away From The Grow Light Should I Place My Begonia?

For most begonias, you will want to place the plant about 12 inches away from the grow light. This will give the plant enough light to expand without causing the leaves to scorch. Begonias need at least 8 hours of light per day to thrive. If you are using artificial lights, you may need to leave them on for 12 hours or more.

What Are Some Common Problems With Growing Begonias Under Grow Lights?

One common problem is that the plant leaves may become pale or yellowish. This is usually a sign that the plant is not getting enough light. Another common problem is that the plant may become leggy, meaning that the stem becomes long and thin. If you notice either of these problems, try moving the plant closer to the grow light.

How Often Should I Water My Begonia?

Begonias like to be kept evenly moist but not soggy. Water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry. Be sure to empty any water that collects in the saucer beneath the pot, as begonias do not like to sit in water.

Fertilizing Your Begonia

Feed your begonia every two weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. Begonias do not like to be fertilized too heavily, so cutting the fertilizer before applying it to the plant is essential.

Pruning Your Begonia

Begonias can be pruned at any time of year to shape the plant or remove damaged leaves. To prune, use a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears to cut off the desired amount.

Repotting Your Begonia

Begonias should be repotted every year or two, depending on their size. When repotting, be sure to use a well-drained potting mix. Begonias like to be pot-bound, so only move up one pot size at a time.

Summary

As with any houseplant, the key to success with begonias is paying attention to their needs and responding accordingly. However, begonias are generally relatively easy to please, making them an excellent choice for those new to indoor gardening. With a bit of care and attention, your begonias will thrive and bring you joy for many years to come. Thanks for reading, and happy growing!

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