Begonias are among the most popular indoor and garden plants of all, as they inspire even people without a real green thumb with a natural abundance of flowers. In addition to the tuberous or ice begonias are the unique Elatior begonias, which are usually cultivated as houseplants.
Characteristics of Elatior Begonias
Elatior begonias are significantly larger than, for example, ice begonias, which are valued as grave and through planting, and usually reach heights of between about 30 and 50 cm (11-19 inches). As with all begonia varieties, the Elatior begonias have asymmetrical leaves.
Elatior begonias should be watered regularly, rather sparingly. However, the top layer of substrate in the pot should be allowed to dry a little between waterings, so that there is no unnoticed waterlogging in the pot.
Although these begonias love relatively bright locations, they do not tolerate being placed in full sun. Therefore, as houseplants, they should not be placed directly next to a window with a lot of sunlight.
The Elatior begonias are specially bred plant species, usually resulting from attempts to cross the following mother plants:
- Begonia veitchii
- Begonia socotrana
- Begonia rosaeflora
- Begonia boliviensis
The Begonia tuberhybrida variety, which has already been created by crossing, is often crossed in as well. This results in a large number of subspecies that flower in a wide variety of colors and either single or double.
Popular varieties of Elatior begonias
Since the first crosses, which produced Elatior begonias around 1880, new begonia varieties and especially subspecies of Elatior begonias, which are particularly popular as indoor plants, have appeared in well-stocked plant shops every year. Some of the most popular varieties of Elatior begonias are:
- Begonia x hiemalis Bacchus
- Begonia x hiemalis Renaissance
- Begonia x hiemalis Carneval
- Begonia x hiemalis Alma
- Begonia x hiemalis Rondo
Note that begonias are generally not frost-hardy and need to be overwintered & sheltered.
Elatior begonias adjust their growth very precisely to the current “day length”. With at least 14 hours of daylight in a row, there is increased shoot and leaf growth (vegetative growth), while “short days” with less than 13 hours of sunlight tend to promote flower formation.
As houseplants on a windowsill, elatior begonias often bloom particularly profusely during the winter months. However, you can also have a regulating effect on growth by changing the location of the plants or ensuring a controlled length of day (e.g. using a plant light lamp).