Add Color to Your Garden with Hiemalis Begonia - U of I Extension

News Release

Add Color to Your Garden with Hiemalis Begonia

This article was originally published on April 29, 2009 and expired on July 15, 2009. It is provided here for archival purposes and may contain dated information.


The Hiemalis begonia, also known as Rieger begonia, is a cross between a tuberous and a wax begonia. This plant grows 12 to 18 inches tall and will get 10 to 12 inches wide. You can use the plant in baskets, pots or beds.

It is easy to appreciate this colorful plant as its season-long flowering takes the garden display to a higher level. The leaves of this plant are waxy, glossy and attractive as well.

The Rieger is easy to care for. It will grow in filtered sunlight to partial shade. Partial shade is best due to less attention with water and fertilizer. This plant will tolerate slightly dry conditions but doesn't do well in wet conditions. So, avoid overwatering.

Give the plant a dose of liquid fertilizer once a month. A water-soluble fertilizer such as 15-30-15 works great. Trim off long stems to help keep the plant compact and reduce the leggy look. An increased bloom will be obtained by removing spent flowers.

The Hiemalis begonia should have few problems with diseases or insects. Keep the leaves dry while watering to reduce the threat of powdery mildew.

The begonia does not tolerate frost so bring it indoors if frost is in the forecast. The plant can be moved into the house as winter approaches. As the plant begins to fade, stop watering for a couple of weeks. Prune the plant back to three to five nodes and then water it. New sprouts should begin to show at the base. Before long, the plant is in full bloom again.

This annual flowering plant will make any garden corner amazingly bright. So if your garden needs some endless flowers, add Rieger begonias.

Source: Ed Billingsley, County Extension Director, Williamson County and Interim County Extension Director, Jefferson County,

Pull date: July 15, 2009