Wax Begonia in Hanging Baskets
Begonias are great for both hanging baskets and hanging planters
Two popular types of begonias are tuberous begonias and the wax, or
While wax begonias could be considered less flamboyant than tuberous
begonias, they are so easy to grow and flower for such long periods that
they have become one of the most popular garden annuals grown in the
U.S. These Begonias feature attractive succulent foliage from greens to
bronze and small bright waxy-textured blooms – in red, white or pink.
New double varieties are now also becoming available – one of these new
varieties that we think are just superb is the Gum Drop™ series from
Wax begonias are ideal in planters and hanging baskets as they
tolerate both full sun and part shade. These bushy, compact tender
perennials have fibrous roots and are usually treated as annuals except
in Zone 10 and warmer. Wax begonias will tolerate hot humid conditions
While you can grow these begonias from seed – their seed is so fine, it
is almost dust-like. Seeds also need to be started 5-6 months before
transplanting – so unless you are an avid seed raiser, it may be better
to purchase your wax begonias from your local nursery or garden center.
Plants can be propagated fairly easily from cuttings.
Seedlings and young plants grown in greenhouses will not tolerate any
amount of frost – so give them time to harden off before planting your
hanging basket, hanging planter or window box.
a good rich soil that contains lots of organic matter. Soil should also
be amended with Angel Moss Marbles or Moisture Crystals so as to help
your basket or planter retain moisture.
Wax begonias in hanging baskets and planters require good drainage.
For ideal growing conditions, daytime temperatures should be between 60
and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. As outlined wax begonia will not tolerate
frosty conditions – they will turn brown, rot and collapse. So set your
basket or planter out after the last frost in the spring and bring them
inside in the fall – yes they can be over-wintered – see below. In
non-frost areas, wax begonias can be left outside and grown as a shrub
Depending on the variety, Wax Begonia can grow up to a foot tall with a
six to 12 inch spread. The plant's waxy leaves are more than just
decorative - they actually service reduce water loss in hot weather,
making Wax Begonia more tolerant of drought.
How to Grow an Wax Begonia Hanging Basket
You'll need: Organic Compost, Spray or Misting Bottle, Angel
Moss Marbles, Pruning Shears, your trowel, your hanging basket or
planter, and some good slow release fertilizer. Then
- Select a site where your begonia basket will receive bright,
indirect light or diffused sun and will be protected from strong
- Then take your hanging basket or planter, fill with a good
potting mix. Then amend the soil with Angel moss marbles or another
soil moisture amendments – like crystal rain.
- As begonias are shallow rooted, your soil amendments only need
to be incorporated into the existing soil to a depth of 8 to 10
inches – so just gently mix them into the topsoil of your basket by
- Now it’s time to plant your begonias. Look for rooted cuttings
or plants in 4-inch pots – these can usually be found at any good
garden centre. Plant your plants about 6 inches apart.
- Using an Angel Moss Lined basked and then side planting it is a
good way to achieve a ball or color –
for more on side planting click here.
- Water immediately after planting to settle the soil around the
roots and let your hanging basket or hanging planter settle for a
few days. By this we mean place it in a warm and sunny spot
sheltered from all wind so that the roots can get themselves
established – this is particularly important if you have side
planted your hanging basket.
- Ensure you keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing
season (spring - fall); reduce water in the winter. While they will
tolerate drying out – it is best not to place this stress on your
- Fertilize with a slow release product for best results. Slow
release products vary in application rates, so read the label
carefully. Begonias thrive on a continuous source of nutrients.
- Protect your begonias from any frost. Cover or bring indoors
until the danger of frost is past. Unlike tuberous begonias, there
is nothing below the ground except roots - no tuber or bulb to
support the plant over the winter. If the foliage freezes to the
ground, you will lose the plant.
can propagate begonias from stem cuttings in the spring. Cuttings
should have at least 4 leaf joints, two of which will be planted
underground. Remove the bottom leaves and add a rooting hormone to
encourage new roots to grow from the leaf joints.
Place cuttings in a clean pot filled with loose, rich soil and cover
with a clear plastic bag to retain moisture. Mist inside the bag
once a week, or when the soil feels dry to the touch.
Begonias worth considering for hanging basket and planters
Begonia convolvulacea – Climber or drooper with strong stems thickly
covered with light-green pointed leaves; white flowers.
Begonia glabra (scandens) – Will dangle or climb a totem. Plentiful
small, shiny green leaves; small white flowers.
Begonia limmingheiana – Moderately large green leaves, coral-red
flowers in tight clusters.
Begonia macrocarpa (secreta) – Slim, tough, dark leaves with pointed
tips; clusters of pale-pink flowers.
Begonia manni (emini) – The “rose begonia,” with roselike leaves and
nontypical pink flowers more like a fuchsia than begonia.
Begonia sanguinea – Leathery, waxed, red-lined leaves with a
masculine look; white flowers. A handsome basket plant.
Over-wintering Your Hanging Basket of Begonias
When bringing plants indoors from an outdoor garden area there
are some basic do’s and don’ts to consider. The first priority is to
make sure your plants are free of insects or disease before bringing
them in for the winter. Indoor conditions are very stressful to most
plants and when plants are stressed they are more susceptible to
insects and diseases.
So before you bring your hanging baskets in for the winter you may
want to give your begonias a good looking over, it will save you
problems later in the winter when you may not want to use chemicals
indoors. Indoor conditions are generally lower light than outdoors,
so your begonias will have to adjust to lower light levels,
sometimes they can do this easily and sometimes they must drop their
outdoor leaves and grow new leaves that are better adapted to
Plan for some leaf drop until plants become established again. All
Begonias need bright filtered light when brought indoors and can
sometimes be grown in full sun but be careful not to burn plants by
exposing them to bright sun if they were grown in the shade
previously. T he inside of your house is also very dry due to your
heating system which removes water from the air as it heats the air
in your house.
You can make life a lot easier for your plants if you provide a
source of humidity for your plants. Many people mist their indoor
plants and while this helps it only lasts for a short period. A
better long term solution is the use of a pebble tray under your
hanging basket where water can be added as it evaporates to keep the
humidity higher. A pebble tray is simply a container that holds
water filled with pebbles so that your plants sit on the pebbles and
not in the water itself, water evaporates around the plant a creates
a small “greenhouse” effect.
In addition to Wax Begonia’s another type of begonias ideally suited
for growing in hanging baskets or planters are the dragon and
angel-wing begonias with linger arching stems then wax begonias,
stems that will drip with outrageously large clusters of brilliant
Angel wing begonias' spotted foliage adds texture and color baskets
and planters and their pendulous clusters of flowers delight
They can be planted directly into hanging baskets or planters and
grow easily from seeds or cuttings.