{Almost} Wordless Wednesday :: Hugh McLaughlin Rex Begonia

Posted on: January 14th, 2015 by Trillium Art

Begonia-rex-Hugh-McLaughlin

I am on a big foliage obsession at the moment. There are no plants in flower at our house so I am exploring plants with interesting leaves and texture. Although the sunshine and blue skies were a welcome sight today, the garden is buried under a blanket of white! The past few weeks have been spent researching the miniature ferns that I used in my fairy gardens. Like the ferns, the feature plant today enjoys the same growing conditions (except for the misting part).

A huge family of plants known for their interesting foliage are the Begonias. This family contains over 1,500 different species from the subtropical and tropical climates. The Rex Begonias or King Begonias are a part of this family that are perennials from north India. They flower pink but to be honest…we all grow them for their interesting coloured leaves.

The Hugh McLaughlin Rex Begonia has stunning bright pink leaves with silver markings. I bought this for my son last winter for his room. I planted it in lovely black pot…very manly for a freshly painted room! Unfortunately, it didn’t survive the move to our new address. But, I have seen them recently at a greenhouse and am considering adding them to our houseplant collection again.

Begonias grow best in containers in our climate; as a houseplant in the winter and as part of mixed containers in the summer. The beautiful foliage is wonderful for adding contrast to planting combinations. Bright filtered light will bring out the deep shades of colour in the leaves. I’m thinking of adding it to a container with the White Christmas Caladium or Elephant Ears. Rex Begonias grow from a shallow rhizome and do best when grown in a shallow pot where the rhizome has room to spread.

They look stunning with other shady annuals in summer containers but be sure to allow for adequate air flow to avoid powdery mildew. If a powdery white coat is seen on the plants, this indicates an infection with powdery mildew. Remove the affected plants and apply a fungicide.

Take a look around your collection of houseplants. Do you have any Rex Begonias? Perhaps you will prefer begonias of a different variety once spring arrives, such as the Fibrous Begonias or the Angel Wing Begonias? Leave a comment below and tell me which one is your favourite!

Zone: 10

Light Conditions: warm site with bright light, no direct sunlight and does best with a higher humidity (not misting as it encourages powdery mildew)

Height: 9” – 12”

Spread: 12” – 24”

Leaves: rosy leaves with silver markings

Flower: inconspicuous pink flowers from December to February

Water: consistent watering, flowering more if they are a bit dry

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