University of Maryland Extension

Hardy Begonia

Christine McComas
Begonia-grandis    Photo by Robert Lyons

This year many Maryland gardeners are growing annual begonias as replacements for disease-plagued impatiens. Like impatiens, these annual begonias will go back to the earth with the first frost, never to rise again. However the genus Begonia is huge with over 1,000 named species, and one, Begonia-grandis, is hardy in Maryland, returning year after year. Perennial begonias bear pendulous clusters of light pink flowers rising above 24 inch plants with light-green succulent, heart-shaped leaves.  They flower from July to October but, even when not flowering, the leaves are attractive with red veining. Plant in partial to full shade in moist (not wet) conditions. Bulbils will form in the leaf axils of the plant which will seed themselves nearby. In Zone 6, hardy begonias benefit from a winter mulching. They are late to emerge in spring, so be careful not to disturb them.

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