The Begonia Rex is a gorgeous plant, but it commonly gives house plant owners a hard time. With velvety pink, light green, and black leaves, a healthy Rex has almost an ethereal look. They’re available in a variety of leaf sizes, colors, and shapes – all of which have striking foliage. However, keeping the plant full and happy requires knowing the right conditions. When I first purchased one of these, I was early in my plant journey. This unique looking plant caught my eye while shopping and I had to have it. It came with one of those generic tags with care instructions that wasn’t quite accurate. So for the first couple months of owning it, I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t thriving.
Now that I’ve been collecting house plants for a while longer, I know that doing research is super important when buying one you’ve never owned before. Even if it’s an impulse buy that comes with a tag saying “Hi My Name is: BEAUTIFUL HOME DECOR”, the internet is full of places to identify plant types. One of my favorite places to crowd source plant identification is the Facebook group House Plant Hoarders.
How to Care for Your Begonia Rex
Water / Humidity
Begonias like a decent amount of humidity without constantly moist soil, and they need a container with good drainage. The best way to achieve this is to let the soil dry between watering, but sit it next to a humidifier or in a humid area.
If you don’t have the space or money for a humidifier, don’t worry. Using a spray bottle to regularly mist around the plant without saturating the soil is another option. In my experience, they don’t seem to like having their leaves wet, so I usually mist the stems or around the edges of the pot. Since I’ve started doing this, I’ve seen a big difference in the general health of my Rex. Another way to create humidity for your plant is to place a tray underneath the container with pebbles and water. The pebbles insure that the roots aren’t sitting in the water causing rot, and as the water evaporates it creates humidity.
Along with being sensitive to the amount of water it receives, the Rex is also sensitive to the type of water. Tap water is harmful to many plants because of the excess of minerals added to it. Be sure to use distilled or filtered water when watering or misting your Begonia Rex to avoid build up of sodium and other minerals.
Begonia Rex plants do not like direct light. Although all plants do need at least some light, this can be considered a low light plant. My Rex has done much better since I moved it from an east windowsill to a wall that’s about 10 feet away from a small south facing window. It’s best to keep the plant where it’s able to see some sun, but far enough away to be in mostly shade.
Feeding your plant monthly during its growing months will keep the leaves looking nice and healthy. Use an organic water soluble houseplant fertilizer once every four to six weeks through spring and summer. It’s not necessary to fertilize most plants during the winter because they’re doing less growing and many go dormant. Fertilizing your Begonia when temperatures are below 58 degrees Fahrenheit will do more harm than good.