Plant Of The Week: Begonia Rex

10/05/2011 08:43 am ET | Updated Oct 11, 2012

There are many species and cultivars within the Begonia genus, but none have the sexy beauty and drama of the Begonia rex. Begonias are hybridized so easily with each other that there continues to be a plentitude of unusual beasts created. Part Elizabethan, part 70's disco in appearance, the Begonia rex is called the king of the begonias for a reason other than rex literally meaning King.

They can be used outside with your container plantings and then moved indoors without difficulty when temperatures start to hit 60 degrees. If you do live in a warm climate, please be aware that these little sexy beasts do not want to be out above 90 degrees. If they are hovering around that temperature, more shade will be required. They prefer slightly acidic potting mix that is very well drained. They also thrive in part shade and could get burnt if they are hit with mid-day direct sun. If they are getting less than optimal light, they will become a little leggy because they are reaching out to obtain more. If you want to encourage more growth at the base of the plant, do not be afraid to give your little beast a haircut. Begonias are not heavy feeders, but you do want to fertilize them with a source of nitrogen to be at their best. Begonias require consistent moisture without being 'wet'. Don't let them sit in water, but instead let them go ever so slightly dry to the touch (of the soil) in between watering so that you do not accidently over saturate them.

They can bloom fairly consistently if they are in prime conditions, but the leaves are the show, so don't be upset if your rex does not bloom. The leaf color on many rex can potentially be very vivid which needs to be taken in to consideration when selecting its container. If you have a lot of contrasting color within your home I recommend staying neutral with your container color. Dark gray looks amazing as a backdrop for their leaves. Have fun with the king, you cannot help but be taken in by its charm and luxury.