I picked up this Rieger begonia today. Its soft and abundant white flowers, with just a touch of peach coloring, should give a homier touch to the front of my home. It can also bring a welcome 'touch of the garden' indoors since it can thrive inside the house, as well as outside.
The Begonia family is a magnificent collection that is vast in size, growth, foliage and flower. They are of tropical origin from all over the earth, and as best we know, the first one was discovered in 1690, for use in cultivation by Charles Plumier. Since then many have been found to be suitable as houseplants as well as for outdoor garden use in the summer.
The Rieger begonia is a tuberous begonia that needs to rest for a few months every year, usually early fall to mid-winter. The tubers which are somewhat similar to bulbs store water to keep it alive during rest periods. It is wise to water it occasionally during rest periods so that it doesn't completely dry out. When brought out again into the light, water thoroughly.
I just posted a short, informative piece about the Rieger begonia from my 90's TV show "The Indoor Garden" on YouTube. Sherrye, a professional horticulturist, had lots of great information to share with me about the Rieger begonia.
- Preferably, keep it in front of an east or southeast facing window. It does need some direct sun indoors. Outdoors it prefers a mostly shady area. It is possible to get too much sun indoors and if the leaves looked bleach, move it into less light.
- Water when the top of the soil is dry or up to about 1/2" below the soil surface.
- A plant in a 6" (15 cm) diameter pot will use about 1 pint (almost 1/2 liter) of water, in an 8" (20 cm) diameter container should take about a quart (almost a pint) of water when necessary.
- They do best with some air circulation (ceiling fans are great for this).
- Fertilize regularly. Regular houseplant food or one specifically for blooming plants will work well.
- Tuberous begonias, like the Rieger do need a rest period. See the instructions above (in paragraph 3).
The Indoor Garden TV