This common flower originated in Central and South America and is named after a famous botanist Michel Begon. Gardeners love the wide variety of flower and leaf shapes, colors and sizes and its tolerance of shade. This plant is called the begonia.
There are many types of begonias, including the fibrous rooted wax begonia and the baskets of tuberous begonias we see in spring. But some begonias also make great houseplants. Rhizomatous begonias, such as Rex begonia, have insignificant flowers, but amazingly showy, large leaves. The leaf colors range from green, red, purple, silver and white.
There is often multiple colors on each leaf and some varieties have a swirling pattern. The Angel wing begonia is another popular indoor type. It features cane-like stems and leaves that look like angel's wings, also with bright colors and patterns.
Grow begonias indoors in a brightly lit location, but out of direct light. A bright north facing or east facing window is best. Begonias like humidity and even soil moisture. Be careful though. Too much water will rot the canes and roots. Group begonias together on a shallow tray filled with pebbles and water, so they have more humidity during the dry, winter months.
Begonias are also easy to propagate. Take a leaf or short stem, dip the cut end in a rooting hormone powder and stick the cutting in a plastic pot filled with moistened potting soil. Cover the pot and leaf with a clear, perforated plastic bag. Keep out of direct sun. In a few weeks, the leaf will root and you'll have more begonias to share.