The group of begonias known as "rex
begonia" (Begonia rex) has some of the most striking combination
of foliage colors in begonias. Rex begonia has heart-shaped, smooth-
or jagged-edged leaves with red, pink, silver, maroon, gray, and
lavender in different patterns on the leaf. Some varieties have a
silvery sheen which adds luster to the leaf. Most rex begonias are
mound-forming varieties growing a foot or so tall with leaves up to
eight inches long and four inches wide. There are also dwarf rex
begonia varieties as well that are more compact, growing only several
inches tall with much smaller leaves.
Iron cross begonia, eyelash begonia, and
beefsteak begonia are three other species of begonia grown for their
Iron cross begonia has large, puckered,
light-green leaves that bear a brown mark in the center of the leaf
that resembles the German iron cross medal. Its leaves, up to seven
inches long and nearly five inches wide, also have red hairs standing
on edge along the surface of the leaf.
Eyelash begonia has an unusual leaf
characteristic that earned it the common name. Along its jagged leaf
edge are small, upright-growing white hairs shaped like eyelashes.
Its foliage is bright green with brown spots lining the edge.
Beefsteak begonia is so named because of its size
and coloring. Each leaf is the shape of a steak with a bright red
underside. Its rounded leaves are up to five inches across and are
glossy green. This begonia grows up to a foot tall, but it can spread
as much as two feet across.
One of the showiest-flowered begonias is tuberous
begonia (Begonia tuberhybrida hybrids). Normally grown as an outdoor
bedding plant for shade, tuberous begonia can also be grown indoors
as a flowering house plant. As its name implies, tuberous begonia is
grown from a type of bulb called a tuber. Tuberous begonia bears
large, single, semi-double, and double flowers in a myriad of colors
including red, yellow, pink, orange, white, rose, cream, as well as
blends. The flowers are up to five inches across. The flowers of the
double-flowered varieties resemble carnations or rosebuds. The leaves
of tuberous begonia are nearly heart-shaped with a pointed tip and
serrated edges. Tuberous begonia is an upright grower, forming a
fuchsiodes is an upright-growing begonia with small,
lance-shaped bright-green leaves. It bears dangling reddish-pink
flowers that resemble fuchsia flowers. It forms a bushy plant that
grows about a foot high.
Many of the "cane-type" begonias bear
colorful flowers. The cane-type begonias are upright growers and can
reach up to 10 feet tall, but most are in the four- to five-foot
range. They can be pinched to keep their height under control and to
induce more branching. The stems of these types of begonias are green
with brown bands, resembling bamboo.