Begonia Rex Cultorum 

(bee-go' nee-ah rex cul-tore' um)

Common name: Rex Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae, Begonia

Height x width: 1' x 2'

Foliage: variously and usually brightly colored leaves of various irregular shapes, often silvery or with bright green or red

Flowers: single, small, relatively inconspicuous, white

Light: bright enhances colors on some, low enhances metallic sheen on others

Temperature: warm

Watering: moderate

Fertility: moderate

Humidity: humid

Soil: average

Pests and Problems: leaf spots, root rots, powdery mildew, stem rot, nematodes, mealybugs, thrips, whiteflies

Growth habit, uses: foliage for low to medium light

Other interest: native to tropics and subtropics globally; one of a group of the large family of begonias. Based on habits of trailing, pendent, shrub-like, upright and climbing, begonias have been grouped as:

cane-stemmed--grown for their habit, foliage and flowers; woody, fibrous rooted, upright cane-like stems, axillary cymes

rex-cultorum-- hybrids often with B. rex, mainly grown for colored leaves which are evergreen indoors

rhizomatous--grown for foliage and flowers, many have unusual foliage such as the marginal hairs of the "eyelash" types, usually with creeping rhizomes

semperflorens--bushy, grown for flowers and foliage, often as an annual outdoors

shrub-like-- grown mainly for leaves, the flowers often are fragrant

tuberous-- these include tuberhybrida, multiflora and pendula groups; from tubers which are dormant in winter

winter-flowering-- low, compact, evergreen, usually fibrous-rooted; grown mainly for their flowers, this group includes the popular Rieger and Elatior begonias

Other culture: avoid water on leaves causing leaf spotting

Propagation: seed, stem or tip cuttings, leaf cuttings


Rex begonias can be classified as brilliant leaved, spiral leaved (wavy, rippled margins) and dwarf (under 8"). The following are only a few representative of the many available. One of the most complete U.S. sources is Logee's Greenhouse, 141 North St., Danielson, CT 06239.
Cultivar class foliage
'American Beauty' brilliant deep plum, maroon center, maple leaf shape
'Dewdrop' dwarf pearly white etched deep maroon
'Helen Teupel' brilliant garnet brushed silver, long, pointed
'Merry Christmas' brilliant red and pink, emerald margins, dark center
'Princess of Hanover' spiral velvet green, tiny pink hairs, very curly
'Silver Sweet' brilliant chrome, dark veins, feathery

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

Return to  Perry's Perennial Pages | PSS121 course