How To Grow & Care For Rex Begonia

Rex Begonia, with its strikingly beautiful foliage, is a popular houseplant that can add a vibrant touch to indoor spaces. Unlike other begonias that are grown for their blossoms, Rex Begonias are cultivated primarily for their stunning leaves. These leaves display a wide variety of colors, patterns, and shapes, making the plant an eye-catching addition to any home or garden.

Native to the tropical and subtropical regions of India, Rex Begonia belongs to the large Begoniaceae family. There are many hybrids and cultivars available, each with its unique leaf pattern. These perennial plants grow from rhizomes and have a slow to moderate growth rate. Rex Begonias are well-suited for growing indoors, but they can also be grown outdoors in regions with a suitable climate.

Although Rex Begonias are admired for their appearance, they can be somewhat challenging to care for, especially for novice gardeners. Understanding their specific requirements and paying attention to details such as light, humidity, and soil type can ensure that these plants grow healthy and continue to produce their ornate foliage.

Common NamesRex Begonia
Botanical NameBegonia rex-cultorum
Plant TypePerennial
Mature Size12-24 inches tall
Sun ExposureBright, indirect light
Soil TypeWell-drained, humus-rich
Hardiness Zones10-12
Native AreaIndia

Rex Begonia Care

Caring for Rex Begonia requires careful attention to detail, as these plants can be sensitive to the wrong conditions. Providing the right balance of light, humidity, and soil is essential for a healthy plant. Keeping a regular but not excessive watering schedule will ensure that the roots do not rot.

Rex Begonias are not particularly high-maintenance, but they do need regular care and observation to ensure they are not exposed to pests or diseases. These plants prefer high humidity, so misting them or keeping them on a water-filled tray with pebbles to increase ambient moisture can be beneficial.

Light Requirement for Rex Begonia

Rex Begonia thrives in bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and fade their vibrant colors, so it’s best to place them near a window with filtered light or use sheer curtains to diffuse the light.

Soil Requirements for Rex Begonia

Well-drained, humus-rich soil works best for Rex Begonia. A mixture of standard potting soil with some added perlite or sand helps in proper drainage, preventing root rot. A slightly acidic soil pH is ideal for these plants.

Water Requirements for Rex Begonia

Water Rex Begonia when the top inch of the soil feels dry, ensuring that the soil is moist but not soggy. Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering may cause the leaves to dry out.

Temperature and Humidity

Rex Begonia prefers temperatures between 60-75°F (16-24°C) and high humidity levels. Humidity trays or room humidifiers can be used to maintain moisture, and the plant should be kept away from drafts or sudden temperature changes.


Fertilize Rex Begonia every two weeks during the growing season with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. Over-fertilizing can lead to salt buildup and leaf damage.

Pruning Rex Begonia

Trimming back any dead or damaged leaves will encourage new growth and maintain the plant’s appearance. Light pruning can be done at any time, while more extensive shaping should be done in the spring.

Propagating Rex Begonia

Rex Begonia can be propagated through leaf cuttings or division. Cuttings can be placed in moist soil or water until roots develop, while division involves separating the rhizomes and planting them separately.

How To Grow Rex Begonia From Seed

Growing Rex Begonia from seed is a slow process and often reserved for breeders. Seeds need to be sown on the soil’s surface and kept in a humid environment. Germination can take several weeks, and seedlings must be handled with care.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Mealybugs and Spider Mites

These can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Powdery Mildew and Leaf Spot

Keep proper ventilation and avoid wetting the leaves to prevent these diseases.

Common Problems With Rex Begonia

Leaf Discoloration

Caused by direct sunlight or poor watering practices. Adjusting light and watering can resolve this issue.

Stunted Growth

Usually due to inadequate light or feeding. Move the plant to a brighter spot and adjust fertilizer.

Root Rot

Caused by overwatering. Ensure proper soil drainage and water only when the soil feels dry.

Pro Tips

  1. Keep away from direct sunlight to maintain vibrant leaf colors.
  2. Water sparingly, but maintain high humidity.
  3. Use well-draining soil to prevent root rot.
  4. Regularly check for pests and diseases.
  5. Fertilize appropriately, avoiding over-fertilization.