Begonias are popular summer roadside plants in Japan.
Begonias are indigenous to Mexico, Central and South America, Asia and South Africa. They are grouped by type of root -bulbous, tuberous, rhizomatous, fibrous. But rhizomatous begonias have fibrous roots, for example; a rhizome is not truly a root; many of the buterous begonias are only partially so so classifying begonias is hard to do.
Over the years, begonia growers have started grouping the plants according to their appearance or growing habit, with a catchall class for those that don’t fit anywhere else.
Rex Begonias. Rex Begonias are kings of the Begonia World, that’s why they are called REX that in Latin means KING. These types of begonias display wildly varied leaves streaked, bordered, spotted, and splotched by many colors. They also flower, but usually the flowers are overshadowed by the striking foliage.
Cane Begonias. Cane begonias have been popular plants for many years and were probably grown by your Grandmother who called them “Angel Wing” begonias. There are several types of canes in varying sizes but they all have in common tough stems that have a bamboo appearance, which gives them the cane handle.
Semperflorens Begonias. This type of begonia is probably the most widely grown begonia and in some parts of the country is called “wax type” because of the waxy look to the leaves. All have round leaves and are ever blooming and the flowers come in every shade of red, pink and white.
Tuberous Begonias. The tuberous type of begonia is also very popular around the world as a bedding plant and also as a greenhouse plant. The tuberous types are grown for their flowers although there are a few varieties and species which have interesting leaves and growth.
Trailing Begonias. The trailing type of begonia are grown mostly for their trailing habit but put on a spectacular show of flowers, usually in the spring. Some of the newer varieties have a longer blooming period or are ever blooming.
Thick-stemmed Begonias. The thick-stemmed types are not as widely grown but come in various forms. The common factor between them is their very thick stems. Most thick-stemmed types don’t branch much but send up new growth from the base. They also show off the thick stems because they drop their lower leaves and usually only have leaves on the tips. These can be very attractive and are definitely unusual if you’re looking for something different to grow.
The first begonia was introduced into England in 1777. but there are thousands of variations today in cultivation, displaying the most gorgeous colors in their flowers and beautiful coloring in their leaves.
There are a few begonia-dedicated gardens in Japan – of which Hakone Begonia Garden might be the most visited. The Hiroshima Botanical Garden has among other plants, more than 2,000 individual begonia plants.