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Rieger Begonias: Colorful Companions for Shaded Spaces

Rieger Begonias, with their radiant and versatile charm, are a gardener's delight for shaded or partially shaded spots, indoors or out. Unlike many other plants, these begonias flourish in low light, infusing your home and garden with a spectrum of colors and a graceful elegance. This guide will explore the world of Rieger Begonias, providing insights into their optimal care, maintenance, and techniques to maximize their beauty.

 

 

Characteristics:

Sizable Blossoms: Also called Hiemalis or Elatior Begonias, Rieger Begonias are a hybrid between a summer-flowering and a rarer winter-flowering variety. They are prized for their vivid, large blossoms growing upon robust, fleshy stems and offering a diverse palette of hues. Though most have large blossoms, there are a few cultivars that showcase smaller flowers, though in more copious numbers.

Growth and Size: These begonia plants are fast growers, averaging 12” to 18”, wide and tall. The medium-sized blooms can appear almost plastic-like, having a more stout petal.

Vari-Colored Leaves: Its heart-shaped leaves are not as large as most begonia varieties and can be forest green or bronze, depending upon the variety.

For Optimal Growth:

Light:  As with most begonias, Rieger Begonias prefer shady spaces. They need protection from direct midday sunlight. When growing indoors, avoid southern exposed windows to be sure the leaves don’t burn. However, if bringing them indoors for the winter, the angle of the sun during this time will allow you to put your plants in just about any window you choose.

Watering: This begonia plant prefers its soil to dry somewhat between waterings and does not like wet foliage. Wet foliage can lead to powdery mildew, while overwatering can cause root rot. As they are planted in shady areas, they won’t dry out as often as a plant in full sun. To determine the need for watering, simply push your finger into the soil a little bit. If it’s moist, skip the watering for that day; if it’s dry…water away, but prudently.

Soil: Well-draining soil, whether in a container or direct planted into your garden, will result in the healthiest Rieger Begonia plant. Be sure your container has drainage holes. If needed, you can amend your garden soil with compost or perlite to improve aeration.

Fertilization: We recommend feeding your begonia plant every 2 to 3 weeks. A water-soluble or liquid fertilizer is more exact when it comes to applying the right amount. Use a plant food with a balanced NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus & Potassium) value.

Care Tips:

Pruning: Removing the spent blossoms and any damaged leaves will help to keep your plant healthy and will also encourage new flowers to emerge. Your plant will thank you and reward you with a more eye-pleasing display. The faded blooms will usually fall off with just a light touch. If blossoms or leaves have dropped onto the soil, it is best to remove them to prevent disease.

Pest Control: If growing your begonia plant indoors, this may not be an issue. However, if you move your plant in from outside, you will want to ensure that no pests have hitched a ride indoors. The most common pests are aphids, mealybugs and mites. If the leaves start to wilt, check the undersides, as this is where the pests like to hang out. If you discover an infestation, you should quarantine your plant to prevent the pests from migrating to other plants, remove any affected leaves, and spray with a gentle insecticide.

Rabbit Resistance: Begonias are not on the menu for rabbits. Deer, however, are not as discerning and will gladly munch on your begonia plants.

 

Show Them Off:

In Hanging Baskets: Rieger Begonias are stunning in hanging baskets. For a 12-inch basket, 3-5 plants will create a lush display, while in a 10-inch basket, 2-3 plants are sufficient. These can be hung in shaded areas for an elegant burst of color.

In Containers: To add variety at different levels or for smaller spaces, these begonias can thrive in individual containers. Large groupings of containers, on stands of varying heights, is quite impactful. Place your containers on porches, patios, or in shaded garden beds for architectural and visual interest.

In the Garden: Rieger Begonias will thrive in any partially to fully shaded garden spot, especially with well-draining soil. Use them as a border, sprinkled throughout flower beds that need a spot of color, or plant them en masse for the “wow factor”.

 

Rieger Begonias are an excellent choice for adding vitality to your shaded garden spots or for coordinating with your indoor décor. With their spectacular blossoms and low-maintenance nature, they promise to bring beauty and joy to any garden or indoor space.

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