Behold, the beautiful leaves of this Rex Begonia I bought last winter. It’s flowering!
The trick to growing this particular begonia is shade and humidity. My time hiking through forests in Dominica really drove that point home in a clear way. I often found begonias growing in surprisingly dim spots underneath thick tree canopy and near to a water source where the humidity was high. Rex Begonias are known for demanding more of both.
When I first bought this plant I had a difficult time finding that balance. I got the humidity part right but gave it too much light. Rexs without enough humidity end up with crispy leaf edges. And when the light is too bright, they lose their vibrant color.
By midsummer I got it right and my plant took off creating new leaves with richer, fuller coloration. Now I am living in a new place with very different light, humidity, and temperature fluctuations. Unfortunately, this means that my plant may take a bit of a beating before I get it right again.
I suspect there will be a lot of fumbles like this over the coming months. This is why you should never feel too badly about failing with a plant or grow too egotistical about your successes with others. Change gardening locations and you’re practically back at square one.
Worse still is that every time I write about Begonias I feel the need to atone for every bad thing I said about them in the past. “I said a lot of bad things and am a terrible person.” I will write that on the blackboard 100 times before dinner.