While begonias produce lovely, delicate flowers, they are heat-loving annuals that landscapers depend upon for their toughness. Depending upon your landscape conditions, there is a begonia to fit the bill. Begonias come in many varieties, with light requirements ranging from full sun to heavy shade. In fact, there are over 1,500 named begonia species; this lists focuses on the most popular and readily available varieties. Remember that begonias are annuals, meaning they will not survive freezing temperatures. Unless you live in a tropical climate, you'll need to replant your begonias each year.
Bronze Leaf Begonias
With their reddish, bronze-tinted leaves, bronze leaf sempenflorens begonias, also called wax begonias, are striking in appearance and tough in spirit. They can stand up to the summer sun in many parts of the country. However, in some very hot climates, bronze leaf begonias may scorch in full sun. Crispy brown leaf edges are a sign that your begonias need a break from the sun.
Green Leaf Begonias
Also a sempenflorens or wax variety, green leaf begonias are very similar in appearance to their bronze leaf cousins, but can easily be distinguished by their bright green or light green leaves. While the bronze leaf varieties thrive in full sun, green leaf begonias require shade or dappled shade, with, at most, gentle morning sun. While they bloom no matter how high the temperature rises, they scorch in too much sun. Brown, dried leaf edges will alert you that your green leaf begonias are getting too much sun.
Angel Wing Begonias
Angel wing begonias, also called cane begonias or dragon wing begonias, can be identified by their wing-shaped leaves and bamboo-like stems. Angel wing begonias are some of the largest begonias, with cane-like stems that can grow up to 15 feet tall in tropical climates, where they have the opportunity to grow season after season. Angel wing begonias can take full sun in cooler months, but need some shade in hotter months. Growing them in pots allows you to move them throughout the growing season as necessary.
Like other types of begonias, tuberous begonias bloom all summer long regardless of the heat. Tuberous begonias do best in bright indirect light, protected from strong direct sunlight that can burn their tender leaves. Tuberous begonias are prized for their larger, rounded flowers. Unlike other begonia species, tuberous begonias grow from tubers, which can be dug up in the fall before the first freeze, stored over the winter and replanted the following spring.