Begonia Facts

Begonia Facts
Begonia is a type of flowering plant that belongs to the family Begoniaceae. It is closely related to melons, cucumbers and pumpkins. There are around 1500 species of begonia that are native to South and Central America, Africa and South Asia. Begonia grows in tropical and subtropical climate. It grows best in areas with diffuse light (partial shade), on well-drained, fertile soil. People cultivate begonias because of their beautiful flowers and decorative leaves. Cultivation of these plants doesn't require too much effort, which additionally increases their popularity among gardeners.
Interesting Begonia Facts:
Begonia can grow from 8 inches to 2 feet in height, depending on the species.
Begonia has succulent stem, designed for storing water which is used during the dry periods of the year.
Begonia is often cultivated because of its dense, ornamental foliage. It develops large, asymmetric leaves. They can be green, bronze, pink or grey colored. Some varieties of begonia have variegated leaves or leaves covered with various patterns. "Angel wing begonia" is a type of begonia which produces leaves shaped like angel's wings.
Depending on the variety, begonia can produce single and double blooms. Petals can be ruffled, smooth or delicate. Flowers are often showy and available in various colors. The most popular types of begonia have red, white, pink, yellow, orange and scarlet-colored flowers.
Begonia is monoecious plant, which means that one plant develops individual male and female flowers.
Begonia produces dry fruit known as winged capsule. It splits lengthwise to release large number of miniature seed.
Begonia produces one of the smallest types of seeds in the world. Miniature seed resemble dust. One ounce of begonia seed is enough for the production of 3 million seedlings. Seed starts to germinate 2 or 3 weeks after planting.
Begonia can be propagated via seed, leaf- and stem-cuttings or via tuberous root.
All species of begonia are divided in three major groups: tuberous, semperflorens, and the uncommon perennials.
Tuberous begonias produce beautiful flowers, but they undergo period of dormancy during the winter when their foliage and flowers wilt and die.
Semperflorens begonias, also known as wax begonias, are often cultivated as bedding plants. They produce flowers all year round.
Tuberous and semperflorens begonias are edible. They have citrus-like taste. Large quantities of begonia can induce poisoning due to high content of oxalic acid in the plant tissues.
Besides in decorative purposes, begonias were used for polishing of swords in the past.
Just like many other types of flowers, begonia sends specific message when it is offered as a gift. Begonia means "be cautious" in the "floral dictionary".
Begonia can grow as an annual plant (plant that complete its life cycles in one year) or as a perennial plant (plant that can survive more than 2 years in the wild).

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