Red Wax Begonia Seeds (Begonia semperflorens)

Packet of 1,000 Seeds


Description

Single Packet of 1,000 Seeds

Also called "wax begonias", Begonia semperflorens are compact, mounding ornamentals. Rarely growing more than eight inches tall and a foot wide, B. semperflorens excel at lining walkways, dressing up tree bases, or bordering large and varied landscape arrangements. They're excellent tucked between taller acid-loving, shade-tolerant plants.

Red wax begonias have bright yellow anthers at the centers of four thick, matte white petals. One opposing pair of petals is broad and gently rounded; the other opposite pair is long, somewhat pointed, and much narrower than the others. Red wax begonias are paler at their centers, and sometimes a much darker red on their outer edges. 

The thick leaves on this red begonia species are dark brownish green to bronze with a smooth waxy sheen. They're rounded with shallow, broad serrations and a nearly indiscernible point. Leaf edges nearest the stems often overlap to give the foliage a somewhat inverted cone shape. The unusual colors make this variety a great choice to add dept to multi-species plantings, especially on the edges of shade zones. 

Wax begonias are immune to juglone, the herbicidal toxin released by the roots, nut fruits, and buds of black walnut trees. They grow very well under partial or dappled shade in hot climates, though full sun is preferred in cooler regions.

B. semperflorens is classified under the Semperflorens Cultorum begonia group. The notable naturalist Charles Plumier honored botany enthusiast Michel Bégon de La Picardière (1638-1710) by naming the begonia after him. Bégon served as a government official and marine officer in France's holdings in Canada and the Caribbean; he met Plumier when he was stationed in the Antilles.

Wax begonias are native to tropical Mexico, Central and South America, South Africa, and Asia. Semperflorens means "ever-blooming cultivated" plants". Wax begonias certainly have long blooming seasons, flowering from May to October in the warmest regions and as long as the frost stays away anywhere else.

Growing wax begonias from seed requires an extra step or two, but it's easy to do and quite rewarding.

  • Soil preparation: Fill nursery trays or 3" plastic pots within 1/2" of the top with sterile seedling mix amended with fine Perlite; moisten it thoroughly and allow to drain
  • Sowing outside: Strongly discouraged
  • Sowing indoors: 8 to 12 weeks before last spring frost
  • Seed depth: Surface sow; sunlight required for germination
  • Extra considerations: We recommend using "domed" trays and plastic containers to retain heat and humidity; peat and paper pots are not a good choice for begonias. Begonias require heat mats to maintain ideal germination temperatures.

Only transplant wax begonias when outdoor soil temperature is consistently at or above 65°F. Harden off for 7-10 days.

Begonia semperflorens seeds are extremely fine. Flick the seed packet to move them to the bottom before opening. Spread them over a white sheet of paper, and use the end of a damp bamboo chopstick to gently transfer them to their nursery cells. Slow-germinating seeds should be planted two or three seeds to a space, since the lapse of time can allow rot to set in. Trim (don't pull) the least vigorous sprouts from each planting location.

Begonia semperflorens are grown as annuals in USDA Growing Zones 3-9. Gardeners often grow them as tender perennials in zones 9 and 10. They're frost-intolerant and grow slowly in cold climates.

  • Sunlight requirements: Begonias do very well in afternoon shade, dappled light, or full sun.
  • Soil requirements: Well-drained, very loose and fertile soil. Use Perlite in containers and raised beds.
  • pH: Begonias prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.
  • Watering requirements: Keep your begonias moist. Their waxy leaves help them retain water, allowing them to withstand short dry periods but drought stress may affect flower longevity and bloom quality. Too much soil moisture can cause root rot. Water them at soil level, as water drops can stain the flowers and encourage foliage fungus. Otherwise, wax resist pests, deer, rabbits, and disease.

Wax begonias are heavy feeders. Fertilize them with a diluted 10-10-10 or 10-20-10 liquid solution every two to four weeks through the growing season and be sure to prepare their beds with rich, aged compost mixed with granular fertilizer or well-rotted manure.

  • Days to germination: 30-60 days at 75°F to 80°F
  • Bloom period: Spring until first frost
  • Plant height: 6"-8" tall
  • Plant width: 10"-12" spread
  • Growth habit: Mounding, tidy
  • Recommended spacing: Transplant begonias 10"-12" apart; wider in humid or wet areas to ensure better air circulation

 

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