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Begonias have long been popular greenhouse plants in temperate countries and are also used in some gardens, especially those with slightly cooler temperatures. Many hybrids have been developed, some grown primarily for their ornamental foliage, others for their attractive flowers. Among the latter group, which come mostly from tropical American species, are B. x semperflorens, which has small pink or white flowers, both double and single, and B. popenoei, on which the panicles of white flowers rise upright above the leaves. Among the foliage Begonias, B. rex is one of the best known, along with B. x erythrophylla, which has dark green leaves that are purple and red underneath, and B. heracleifolia, with striking green-and-bronze star-shaped leaves. All Begonias prefer moist but well-drained soil and shady conditions, though some will grow in filtered shade. Propagation is by stem or root cuttings or by division of rhizomes. Begonia escargot: Large whorled leaves in chocolate, champagne, silver and pewter tones. Needs high humidity and very even temperatures so that a large terrarium would make the perfect home.
Species and varieties:
Begonia Cowardy Lion
Begonia Iron Cross
Begonia Passing Storm
Begonia x hybrida 'I'Conia'
This hybrid species often goes under the names Rieger begonia or Elatior begonia after two hybrid series that were once very popular. They come from a cross between summer-flowering tuberous begonias and the rarely grown winter-flowering species, Begonia socotrana.
Cissus discolor, native to Java and Cambodia, is a fast growing, exotic looking, trailing vine, which is sometimes called Tapestry Vine or Rex Begonia Vine. It is not a begonia, but the medium sized lance shaped leaves have the bright colors of Rex Begonia leaves. The leaves are dark green with silver and purple blotches. It makes a gorgeous hanging basket. Thanks to its large, striking leaves and climbing growth, Cissus discolor has become a popular houseplant. The leaves and stems produce a natural secretion, tiny opaque dots, called cystolyths. Grow this Cissus in a hanging basket or let it climb up a trellis.
A popular garden flower and houseplant, Saxifraga stolonifera has attractive white blossoms with distinctive pointed petals and bright yellow ovary.
Plant is viviparous. It spreads via threadlike stolon (runners), with plantlets taking root in the vicinity of the mother plant. It is hardy to USDA zone 5-10.
As a long-blooming, summer annual, this plant keeps a nice mounded shape throughout its bloom period. It is covered with clusters of small flowers. It comes in blue, pink, and white blooms. It generally grows about a foot high, though some dwarf varieties are available. Mass blue Ageratum is beautiful in beds with yellow marigolds for complementary colors, or with pink begonias to create a soft pastel carpet. Ageratum is very easy to grow in a sunny location.