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In the plant world the genus begonia is scientifically classified in the begoniacee family, order cucurbitales, class magnoliopsida, division magnoliophyta, kingdom of plants. Their name is a tribute to a historical figure and precisely Michel Bйgon. The man was governor of Saint Domingue.
Their classification is based on the type of roots.
In fact, they are divided into tuberous begonias, with collated and rhizomatous roots.
Begonias are called monoics, that is, plants that have male flowers and also flowers of female sex on the same vegetable organism.
As a dwelling, begonias prefer damp, but soft soil. They fear the effects of cold.
Many are their reproductive systems that can occur by means of thawing (a simple method within everyone's reach), by seed and, in some cases, also by division between tubers and rhizomes.
Rhizomatous begonias, evergreen plants, are particularly appreciated by growers for the beauty of their foliage. They are in fact used with considerable success for ornamental purposes. They have a rhizome (from which their name derives) instead of the root, that is to say an underground stem.
Tuberous begonias are famous for the beauty of the flowers they generate. Show different bearings. Their flowers open on stems that can even reach 40 cm in length. The root is formed by a particularly robust blackish tuber.
Even the begonias called "collated root" are very successful for their flowers. They are used especially for the creation of flower beds in gardens or to decorate balconies, becoming a valid alternative to classic geraniums. Their roots are bundled together, ie the secondary ones grow more or less like the main root.
They generate panicle flowers.
All three categories have asymmetrical leaves, which alternate along the typical fleshy stem of these plants.
It should be noted that rhizomatous begonias are then divided into rex, Masonian and versicolor.
Those tuberoses can be differentiated into begonie clarkei, pearcei, socotrane and evansiane.
The collated begonias may instead be: metallic, semperflorentes or venous.
In the case of rhizomes, the ideal cultivation temperature is around 15 degrees. They fear the direct sun, but still need the right amount of light to maintain their vital balance. As for the tuberoses, in autumn-winter they can remain in pots at temperatures around 8-10 degrees. When spring arrives, instead, their tuber must be planted in a mixture of earth of heather and peat, planting it with the concave part facing upwards (this is used to leave the buds of begonia uncovered). The fasciculates must be grown at a temperature of 15 degrees throughout the year. In fact, over 20 degrees it is necessary to move the plants in shaded areas. Moisture has beneficial effects on them, so it is advisable to place the pots on a layer of gravel. Withered leaves and flowers must be promptly eliminated to avoid contagion of healthy parts. The indispensable pruning operations must be carried out in February, to restore vigor to the plant, which in this way receives better the fundamental nutritive element of the sun. The female flowers of the begonias have an ovary. Once fertilized, it produces a fruit called a capsule.
Rules for maintenance
Declared enemies of begonias are mushrooms. The environment must therefore be kept humid, but it is necessary to constantly guarantee a certain air exchange.
Repotting takes place in April. The soil should be formed of coarse sand and peat. They should be fertilized in the summer, every 15-20 days, with agents with a high potassium content, given that these are plants that usually produce flowers in abundance.
In addition to Potassium the fertilizer must have Iron, Copper, Manganese, Boron, Zinc and Molybdenum.
For what concerns the pruning operations, it must immediately be clarified that one of the particularities of this type of plant is precisely that it should not be pruned.
We must therefore limit ourselves to the essential maintenance operations, ie to the removal of the dry leaves which, if left for a long time above the begonia plant, cause the onset of parasitic phenomena that can compromise the health of the plant organism.
The tool used to cut must be properly disinfected with the flame.
If the leaves appear burned it means that they have been damaged by direct exposure to the sun and therefore the plants must be immediately moved to a more favorable area.
If instead the plant collapses it means that it has been watered too much.