University of Maryland Extension

Featured Plants - Wax Begonia

Wax Begonia - Photo by Christine Pfister McComas

Begonia semperflorens-cultorum

Many flower lovers were deeply worried--experts say to forgo planting impatiens this season. A new disease, impatiens downy mildew, devastated impatiens wallerina in most Maryland gardens last year. Infected stands went from blossoming beauties to nude stems in short order. What’s a gardener to do? Impatiens are loved for being bright, carefree bedding plants for shady areas. Not to worry. A worthy replacement is wax begonia. This tender annual produces lush 10-12” mounds of cheerful pink, white, red, and bicolor blossoms on fleshy stems through first frost. They prefer moist, well-drained soil but can tolerate dry conditions once established and can take more sun than impatiens (especially the bronze-leaved begonias). Latest on the scene are lovely frilly double ones--great for containers.

April 2013

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