Amateur Gardening

Bring on the Begonias

SAY the word ‘begonia’ and it will probably conjure up images of big, showy blooms tumbling from summer hanging baskets. However, there’s a lot more to this group of plants; in fact, it’s one of the largest genera of flowering plants and features more than 1,800 different species – many of which look nothing like those blowsy basket specimens.

Begonias are native to the moist, cool forests and tropical rainforests of South and Central America, Africa and South Asia, and were named in honour of Michel Bégon (1638-1710), who organised a plant-collecting expedition to the Caribbean for King Louis XIV of France. It was on this trip that the French botanist Charles Plumier discovered the first begonia; but it wasn’t until some 200 years later

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