Begonias include a wide range of plants, primarily from tropical areas. There are several types of begonias well suited for growing indoors. When choosing the best indoor begonia, growth habit and appearance are important considerations.
Flower time varies depending on the type of begonia you choose, with some species blooming in winter while others produce flowers sporadically all year. Likewise, some types bloom in late summer and early fall, and broadleaf evergreen types keep their foliage all year round. As houseplants, these begonias generally remain attractive even when not flowering.
The Christmas begonia is a type that blooms between late fall and early spring, providing colorful flowers for the holiday season. This medium-size begonia has evergreen leaves and is well suited for growing in containers. It matures at a height of 18 inches (about 45 cm). This indoor begonia is a hybrid variety.
Elatior Begonia hybrids also are good choices when selecting an indoor begonia. They bloom periodically throughout the year. Like the Christmas begonia, the Elatior hybrids are compact evergreen shrubs well suited as houseplants.
Many begonia varieties are herbaceous perennials that have tuberous roots. Sprawling varieties of tuberous begonias are well suited for growing in hanging baskets while the upright varieties grow well in pots. These begonias bloom in late summer and fall.
The wax begonia is an annual begonia variety that can be grown indoors or outdoors. As an indoor begonia, this variety produces a bushy growth pattern and white, pink or red flowers. The plants grow 6 to 12 inches (about 15 to 30 cm) tall with dark green foliage.
The shrimp begonia flowers in winter. It is a trailing begonia type well suited for hanging indoors in baskets. As an indoor begonia, shrimp begonia is ideal for hanging baskets when the other trailing, tuberous varieties are in dormancy.
Begonias that spend the summer outdoors should be brought inside before night temperatures drop below 55°F (about 10°C). Indoor begonias grow best in an environment with a temperature range between 66 and 73°F (about 18 to 22°C). Night temperatures indoors can drop as low as 55°F (about 10°C) without killing the plants, but can stress tender varieties.
Spring is the best time to repot indoor begonia plants. When plants grow too large for their current pots, they can be divided into several pots or transferred into larger pots. The soil around begonias should be watered when it starts to feel dry during the active growing season. During winter dormancy, the soil can be allowed to dry out. Indoor begonias benefit from an application of balanced fertilizer once a month.