Begonia is a flower from the Begoniaceae family and is a genus of more than 1,000 species. It is one of the 10 largest genera among flowering plants. Some are annuals while some are perennials. It is native to tropical regions and subtropical parts all around the world. It is a type of flower that has great variation in terms of colors, sizes, and more.
The flowers of Begonia are large with both the male and female flowers occurring together in one same plant. The male flower contains numerous stamens while the female has the ovary and up to four stigmas that are usually branched or twisted. Despite having numerous species, there are plenty of hybrids and variations of Begonia. This is because many collectors and cultivars love its appeal.
Many people thought that Begonias originated from Brazil when it was found there in 1690. After records showed that the flowers were found in Mexico even during the early years and that it was used by the Chinese people as early as the 14th Century, people knew then that this flower came a long way.
Meanwhile, Charles Plumier, the Franciscan monk documented its discovery in 1690. He was looking for plants to be used for medicinal purposes. He named it Begonia, after the name of Michel Begon, his favorite botanist at that time. It was only in 1800s when the document of its discovery was published because Plumier died soon after.
Begonias were not only used as a medicinal plant in china. It was also used as a culinary item. The leaves and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked. In Indonesia and Brazil, the flowers are added on salads while in China, it is added to milk curdling sap to make cheese. In some parts of the world, it is used to make the sauce and to be a major source of vitamin C.
There are several meanings associated and linked to the flowers of Begonias. It is used to warn someone of misfortune or bad luck. On the positive side, it is a lovely flower to express and convey gratitude, uniqueness, peace, justice, and harmony. For a friend who is planning a long road trip or journey, this flower can be given to wish safety and to be cautious. Some people send this flower to offer peace or justice or to ask for forgiveness. If you want to start communication that is harmonious and peaceful, this is also an ideal flower to send.
Depending on color, Begonias are also symbolic of a variety of sentiments and emotions. Red blooms are meant to express romantic emotion while pink ones mean love and passion. Yellow blooms mean wealth and contentment while gold ones express success and achievement. White blooms can be given to show spirituality or innocence while blue ones are perfect if referred to creativity and artistry. Purple blooms are symbolic of royalty.
Begonia has several interesting facts worth knowing. One of those is that this flower produces a fruit, which is a winged capsule that splits in half and releases its seeds. The seeds are fine in texture similar to dust. In fact, it is known as the flower that can produce the smallest seeds.
There are 1000 and more varieties of Begonias and most of them grow in the wild under shades. They are divided into three groups: tuberous, semperflorens, and uncommon perennials. Among the varieties of Begonias include Tuberous Begonias or tuberhybrida, which has large showy flowers blooming in pink, yellow, red, white, and orange. They are the variety that has a citrus-like taste and edible blooms. However, the intake of large quantities of this type may induce poisoning. Rex and Angel wings Begonias are the evergreen perennials that can be grown in containers and garden soil. Wax Begonias are the annual type and have fibrous roots. The blooms are in red, pink, and white color while its leaves are in green-bronze color. The Winter-Flowering Begonias include the Rieger and Elatior varieties, which can thrive on winter season.
Begonias are cultivated most of the time. This is because it has ornamental foliage and it can be developed into large asymmetric leaves. The leaves can be in grey, bronze, green, and pink colors. The Angel-Winged Begonia has left in angel’s wings shape.
Begonias are usually propagated by its seeds but the leaf and stem cuttings can also be done. It can be planted in the garden and on containers. The plant requires moist but well-drained soil added with organic matters. Fertilizers in balanced level and quantity can also be used once a month while the plant is growing. There are varieties that need more nitrogen in soil to keep foliage in best condition.
To keep plants healthy and in full bloom on its season, regular watering is essential. On the other hand, too much water may cause the roots to rot or die. During winter and colder temperature, the plant can stand with less watering. Adding mulch on the soil will keep the plant moist but not overwatered.
They also need shades, making them an ideal indoor plant. To keep them exposed to light for rich colors and better health, you may place them near the windows or under grow lights.
The colorful varieties of Begonias make a great addition to any gardens and front porch landscapes. You will enjoy the blooms for a long while because the flowers of Begonias are hardy and long-lasting.