The Plant: Fleshy green, heart-shaped leaves, with strongly coloured flowers borne on brittle fleshy stems. Begonia flower colours range from deep scarlet, through orange, pink to creamy white.
Its needs: Strong light, but not direct sunshine other than a little morning sun. Strong sunshine will give you leaf scorch patches.
Good air circulation. Good rich potting compost to support heavy top-growth, and provide anchorage for fibrous root system.
Care: Potting compost should be kept damp from beginning of spring, but avoid watering foliage, (leaves), as this could promote mildew growth on fleshy parts of the plant. Water the compost regularly to avoid drying out. Feed weekly or fortnightly depending on size of plant and rate of growth. To increase humidity in hot dry conditions, place pot in a water-filled saucer of small pebbles.
As this plant tends to become top-heavy, it will need support, e.g. short slender canes, and green twine, (string will do, but more noticeable!).
This begonia is susceptible to powdery mildew. Pinch off dead flowers to promote new blooms. Can be placed outside once all danger of frost has passed, but Begonias tend to scorch easily in full sun.
Grows well in window boxes in dappled sunshine, but nor strong direct sun.
Good for: Excellent, easy care plant for giving as it has good flowering season; generally a good ‘cheerful’ plant in variety of colours. Not too expensive! Begonia elatior is a very popular houseplant which can be bought at almost any time of the year with masses of flower and buds.
By David Hughes - firstname.lastname@example.org