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Hardy Begonia Begonia grandis

Phonetic Spelling
beh-GO-nee-ah GRAN-dis
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Begoniaceae is a large flowering plant family with about 1500 different species and hundreds of hybrids. Mature begonia plants range in size from a few inches high to over 12 feet high and the flowers, foliage colors and sizes are very diverse. Begonia grandis, or Hardy Begonia, is an herbaceous perennial flowering plant often treated as a southern heirloom passed from garden to garden. It is monoecious (male and female flowers on the same plant), tuberous-rooted, and typically forms a two foot high bushy mound of foliage on branching stems.

Hardy Begonia grows best in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Do not allow the soil to dry out. The plant is hardy enough for USDA zones 6 and 7, tolerating temperatures down to 23 degrees F., and does well outdoors in shady borders, woodland gardens, or along walkways. But because it may not be reliably winter hardy, it is best to mulch it heavily during the winter. To extend the blooming period, be sure to deadhead expired flowers.

From summer through early fall Hardy Begonia displays loose floppy clusters of pink fragrant blooms. As the days grow short, the plant goes dormant and the leaves turn yellow. However, at the same time bulbils form in the leaf axils. These tiny asexual formations about the size of a small pea fall to the ground and sprout the following spring.  Thus, one or two plants in the garden become a small colony after a couple years. Bulbils may also be harvested from the leaf axils and planted as desired. If planted from seed, the plants will show some variation; if planted from bulbils, the plants will be the same as  the parent plant.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to mildew after plant goes dormant in the fall.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

More information on Begonia (Tuberosa Group).

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See this plant in the following landscapes:
Shaded Slope
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana
    Var. evandiana is very similar to B. grandis and some taxonomist include it. Others classify it as its own species.
  • Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana 'Alba'
    'Alba' is a white-flowered form.
  • ‘Wildwood Premier’
    Attractive foliage. Red coloration in the leaves is more pronounced than on species plants.
Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana, Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana 'Alba', ‘Wildwood Premier’
Tags:
#hardy#showy flowers#partial shade#small spaces#heavy shade#perennial#wildlife plant#pink flowers#deep shade#shade garden#tuberous#fall interest#black walnut#cpp#summer flowers#herbaceous perennial#heirloom#woodland#naturalizes#borders#self-seeding#pollinator plant#clumping#mid-summer flowers#border front#late summer flowers#shade border#walkway planting#flowers early fall#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana
    Var. evandiana is very similar to B. grandis and some taxonomist include it. Others classify it as its own species.
  • Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana 'Alba'
    'Alba' is a white-flowered form.
  • ‘Wildwood Premier’
    Attractive foliage. Red coloration in the leaves is more pronounced than on species plants.
Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana, Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana 'Alba', ‘Wildwood Premier’
Tags:
#hardy#showy flowers#partial shade#small spaces#heavy shade#perennial#wildlife plant#pink flowers#deep shade#shade garden#tuberous#fall interest#black walnut#cpp#summer flowers#herbaceous perennial#heirloom#woodland#naturalizes#borders#self-seeding#pollinator plant#clumping#mid-summer flowers#border front#late summer flowers#shade border#walkway planting#flowers early fall#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Begonia
    Species:
    grandis
    Family:
    Begoniaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southern China, Japan
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers are visited by pollinators.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    heavy shade, black walnut
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 6 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Horizontal
    Mounding
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Winged capsule. Seeds ripen in fall after bloom period.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    One inch showy pink flowers in pendant clusters (dichotomous cymes) from July through October. Dead-heading flowers will extend bloom.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Asymmetrical, large (4 inch long) obliquely ovate with cordate bases, serrate margins, pointed tips. Olive green above and reddish green with red veins beneath.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Description:
    Arching stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Heavy Shade
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Kidney failure (in grazing animals), vomiting, salivation in dogs/cats. The most toxic part is underground.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Soluble calcium oxalates
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No