The Elatior Begonia [ee-LAY-tee-or] [be-GON-yuh] aka Rieger begonia belong to the Begoniaceae genus, the sixth-largest flowering plant genus in the world.
The plant (begonia x hiemalis), a hybrid created by English plant breeder James Veitch in 1883. Two popular begonia species were used in the cross – Begonia socotrana and a tuberous begonia.
Begonia socotrana comes from the Scootra (Soqotra) Island off the coast of East Africa. The tuberous begonia came from South America.
Besides the name Elatior and Rieger these begonias go by other names:
- Hiemalis Begonias
- Veitchii Begonias
- Baardse Begonias
- Eliator hybrids
They are easy house plants to care for and features bright, small, colorful rosettes. Read on To learn more.
Caring For Rieger Begonias
Size and Growth
The Elatior hybrid begonias are a bushy little plant. It grows a compact set of stems reaching a few feet in height. However, after several years, they can start to grow a bit taller.
To maintain the compact plant size, trim off the top each spring.
These plants are frost sensitive and only recommended for outdoor use in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11. These zones cover Southern parts of the United States.
Beautiful Flowering Plants With No Fragrance
Rieger begonia plants produce large, round flowers with no scent. The flowers often bloom throughout the year, providing a bright splash of color during each of the seasons.
The flowers are one of the best features of this compact plant. The vibrant colors include warm red, rose, and yellow.
Light and Temperature
The Rieger plant needs lots of sunlight. However, avoid direct sunlight. If placed outdoors, find a spot offering partial sun to partial shade.
When grown indoors, set the plant near a window while avoiding south-facing windows with bright sun.
This plant doesn’t like temperatures too cold or too hot.
If the temperature drops below 60° degrees Fahrenheit, the leaves and flowers may start to die off. If the temperature increases above 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the buds and flowers may begin to drop.
The plant also enjoys fresh air. If you plan to keep it indoors, set it somewhere the plant gets some air movement, a gentle breeze, but not a draft.
For example, set it in a room with a ceiling fan. You can also set a floor fan near the plant, without pointing the air flow at the plant.
The fresh air helps prevent mildew, a common issue with begonias.
Watering and Feeding
Water the plant regularly throughout the growing season. Container plants shouldn’t be allowed to dry out completely.
Try not to over water the plant, as this also promotes mildew and rot.
In the winter, it’s easy to over water, as the plant doesn’t take up as much water.
Throughout the flowering season, give the plant liquid fertilizer. When the flowers are not in-season, skip the fertilizer.
Soil and Transplanting
Place the plant in regular potting soil or peat moss. You only need to transplant if the plant gets too big for its current pot.
Be careful when transplanting, as the move may damage the plant.
Carefully remove the plant from its current pot and set it in the other container filled with soil. Gently add soil around the roots and press down to compact the soil.
Grooming and Maintenance
Cut the plant back after the flowering season to control growth.
Seasonal trimming helps keep the plant short and thick. Other than trimming and the removal of dead begonia flowers, you shouldn’t need to spend any time grooming the plant.
How to Propagate Elatior Begonias
To grow more elatior plants, take stem cuttings. The cutting should be about 3″ inches long and taken just under a pair of leaves.
Use a sand/peat mixture. Keep cuttings in an area where temperatures remain at average – 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Avoid direct sunlight and cover with a plastic bag with several holes for ventilation.
When the roots form, you can place them in small pots. In about four months, the first flowers should arrive.
Begonia Plants Pests or Disease Problems
The main threats to this plant include mildew, rot, and the common pests – aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale. If you detect yellow leaves dropping, the plant is getting too much water.
You may also start to notice the mildew and rot. Cut off any mildew-covered or rotten parts of the plant and limit your watering.
If you notice small spots on the leaves, you may have aphids, mealybugs, or spider mites. Wash away these critters with soapy water or spray the plant with insecticide.
Suggested Use For Elatior ‘Hiemalis’ Begonias
The elatior begonia looks wonderful in a window sill where it can get plenty of indirect sunlight.
In some regions, you may also be able to set potted plants or in hanging baskets out on a patio or covered porch.