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Introduction to Begonias
Begonia is a genus in the flowering plant family Begoniaceae. The genus name honors Michel Bégon, a French patron of botany. "Begonia" is the common name as well as the generic name for all members within the genus.

Begonia has more than 1500 species and more than 10' 000 hybrids. They are found throughout tropical and sub-tropical Asia, Africa and America. Terrestrial species are commonly upright-stemmed, rhizomatous or tuberous.

Tropical begonias are usually confined to shaded habitats of primary forest on limestone hills. The plants are monoecious, with unisexual male and female flowers occurring separately on the same plant, the male containing numerous stamens whereas the female having a large inferior ovary and two to four branched or twisted stigmas. In most species the fruit is a winged capsule containing numerous minute seeds. Seeds are released upon ripen of capsule.

Cultivation of Begonias
Growing conditions are varied depending on original habitat of species; the best way to learn how to grow them is by studying their natural habitats.

Begonias occur in the tropical region, and they require warm temperatures to grow well but there are also cool growing species from highland montane forests.

Most are forest understory plants and they cannot tolerate full sunlight. They can be grown in bright places or under filtered light. The color of the leaves sometimes provide some hints to their preferred light conditions. Species with bright green leaves and stems usually indicate they are light tolerant whereas species with darker green leaves or decorated with dark pigments will prefer to be shaded.

Generally begonias grow on slopes of limestone and on leaf litter. They require a humid environment to grow well and with a well-drained growing medium that is not too wet and not too dry. They also require a air movement to keep their leaves healthy.

Many begonias will grow and flower year-round but tuberous begonias usually have a dormant period, during which the tubers can be stored in a cool and dry place.


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