Rieger Begonia: Plant Care & Growing Guide

Rieger Begonias are beautiful flowering plants that have creamy and vibrant blooms.

Have you ever wondered why they’re only abundant during the winter?

Learn how to grow and care for these winter-flowering plants year-round for a bright and colorful home.

What are Rieger Begonias?

Rieger Begonias come in a variety of soft shades of yellow, pink, red, and white. These houseplants are also known as Elatior Begonia. Homeowners love Rieger Begonias for their cluster of delicate petals.

The original plant was a hybrid between a standard wax begonia and a tuberous begonia. It has since evolved to the Rieger Begonia we know today. There are many unique flowering varieties achieved by crossing hybrids!

This wintering-flowering plant loves to grow and bloom in cold temperatures. They’re fast-growing and are typically sold as disposable plants thrown out once the season is over.

You don’t have to follow this rule, though. With careful control of conditions, you can grow and maintain Rieger Begonias year-round and watch them bloom in the fall. Failing to continue proper care can encourage diseases that will eventually kill the plant.

Flowering of Rieger Begonias

Rieger Begonias are a petite plant species that are ideal for growing in small pots or hanging baskets. They rarely grow more than a foot tall, and their blooms can span up to 5 inches wide.

Begonia tubers can survive in regions with USDA hardiness zones of 9 to 10. Those growing in colder climates grow ideally in USDA hardiness zones of 8 to 10.

Rieger Begonia Plant Care and Growth

Growing Rieger Begonias from Seed

To start growing Begonia, sow the seeds in the potting mix on a shallow seed tray. Leave the tray in a cool place with indirect sunlight, such as a covered patio or beside a windowsill.

Ensure that the seeds are pressed lightly in the soil, and you should also regularly dampen the water with a spray bottle. To help maintain ideal humidity, cover the seed tray with a plastic sheet or an inverted plastic bag.

Mist regularly just to keep the soil damp and check the seeds every few days until they germinate. Once the seeds have started to germinate, you can increase the amount of sunlight.

Once you start spotting small leaves, you can begin replanting them into larger pots.

Rieger Begonias during Blooming Season

Moderate Sunlight

Rieger begonias prefer dark and cold spaces that will have shorter days and longer nights. While they will need a lot of sunlight, Rieger Begonias won’t thrive in direct sunlight. To help maintain their cycle, you’ll have to look for a spot with partial shade.

A room with an east or west-facing window is best so that your flowers can have adequate exposure to light and fresh air. Bright south-facing windows will not be good for your Riegier Begonias.

Moderate Temperature

Rieger Begonias will thrive in environments with moderate temperatures ranging from 65 to 70 Fahrenheit during the day. At night this can range from 50 to 65° Fahrenheit.

If temperatures fall below 60 Fahrenheit, it will cause your flowers to wilt. Temperatures above 72° Fahrenheit can cause the blooms to droop.

Watering and Feeding Schedule

Just like temperature and light, you’ll need to find a nice balance of water and feeding your Begonias.

Water Rieger Begonias only when the soil feels dry. It’s best to avoid overwatering and letting the plant sit in water because this can encourage plant disease. Water Riegier regularly during the day in the growing season. You’ll have to water even less during the winter since Rieger Begonias aren’t likely to absorb a lot of water during this season.

For feeding, you’ll have to apply fertilizer when they’re in bloom, but you should skip it during the off-season. Rieger Begonias aren’t very heavy feeders. A concentrated high-phosphorous liquid fertilizer once a month during the blooming season should be enough.

If you’ll be diluting fertilizers, feed at 1/4 fertilizer strength when watering weekly or feed at 1/2 strength when watering twice a week.

Grooming and Pruning

Rieger Begonias are well-loved for their bushy and compact flower clutters. They are generally petite, but after several years can grow a bit taller.

Prune Rieger Begonias after the blooming season to control its growth. Trimming the Begonias seasonally will keep the plant compact and thick with new blooms.

Rieger Begonias don’t need much maintenance aside from seasonal pruning and removal of dead shoots.

After-care and Propagation when Rieger Begonias Stop Blooming

Caring for Rieger Begonias during its off-season will require a different kind of care. Aside from stopping feeding, here are a few changes to your plant care routine.

Pruning and Trimming the Mother Plant

To keep your Elatior Begonia healthy from disease, it’s necessary to trim off the top once spring arrives.  Cut back all the stems to about three inches and let the plant dry for about six weeks. From there, you can start watering the plant regularly, and new shoots will begin to grow at its base.

Caring for the Mother Plant

Remember to retain a few shoots on the original plant if you want to see it bloom again during the fall. It will be best to repot the plant in African violet potting soil in a slightly larger pot. You can then begin feeding.

Gently add potting soil around the Rieger Begonia roots, and press down to compact the potting soil.

Tip: Here’s how you can prepare African Violet potting soil.

Re-potting the Cuttings

When new shoots reach 3 inches, you’ll have to remove the lower leaves and place these in a damp mixture of equal parts peat moss and sand. Make sure that at least one node is covered by soil.

To help retain ideal humidity, invert a plastic bag over the pot.

Keep a Close Eye on the Cuttings

Check the cuttings after about a month. At first, remove the plastic bag for short periods only. Then you can start lengthening intervals over several weeks until the cuttings have fully hardened.

Transplanting Rieger Begonia Cuttings

Cuttings are ideal in shallow azalea pots with African violet mix. Three cuttings per 6-inch pot is an ideal amount. If you have larger hanging pots or hanging baskets, you can add a few more cuttings.

Regularly snip the tips of the cuttings to encourage branching. Start feeding the cuttings as you would during the bloom season.

Protecting the Rieger Begonia Original Plant and Cuttings

To protect your old and new cuttings, you keep them outdoors on a shaded place, such as your front porch. You can do this until the Rieger Begonias start blooming, when temperatures start dropping and the shorter days arrive.

Rieger Begonias that are well-taken care of in the right conditions can bloom for up to half a year.

Ornamental Uses of Rieger Begonias

Rieger Begonias come in beautiful vibrant colors, and so they’re most commonly used as ornamental plants.

Nothing beats Rieger Begonia on an elegant windowsill where it can get lots of indirect sunlight.

They also look beautiful in large pots or hanging baskets on a patio or shaded porch.

Other uses of Begonias

Aside from their ornamental value, some edible species of Begonias have effective medicinal uses.

  • Colds: Boil and strain Begonias, and the liquid can be consumed to relieve colds.
  • Digestive system: Begonias can be used to relieve the digestive system of diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
  • Rheumatic: It is a natural cough and rheumatic medicine.
  • Anti-bacterial: Begonias were once used to help with flu.
  • Begonias can promote bone and teeth growth and brighter skin. It can also relieve bleeding, asthma, dysentery, and bronchitis.

Before consuming Begonias, check with your doctor if your houseplant Rieger Begonia can have medicinal uses.

Possible Diseases of Rieger Begonias

Taking care of Rieger Begonias isn’t as tricky as you’d expect. However, the plant can still be susceptible to a few diseases.

The most common are rot, mildew, and common pests like scale, aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs.

Drooping and Yellow Leaves

When leaves start drooping or turn yellowish, this means that the Rieger Begonia is overwatered. Remember that you only need to water Rieger Begonia when the soil is dry to the touch. Weekly or bi-weekly watering schedules are usually enough.

Mildew and Rot

When there are signs of mildew and rots, it’s also a sign that you need to limit watering. You also need to cut off the parts covered by mildew and rot.

Pests

You’ll find out that the plant is infested if there are small spots on the leaves. The cure for this is soapy water, or you can spray the plant with insecticide.

Where can I Buy Rieger Begonias?

When shopping for Rieger Begonias, it’s better to have higher standards since Begonia plant health and quality can vary widely in the market.

Rieger Begonias will become widely available in the late fall and early winter at most home improvement stores. We recommend checking or your local florist, greenhouse, or garden center for healthier alternatives.

Shopping Considerations for Rieger Begonias

Here’s what you need to consider to get lush and beautiful Rieger Begonias for your home.

Leaf clusters

Begonia leaves should have a healthy green hue. When foliage is yellow or brown, this is a sign that the plant was not kept under ideal conditions.

Roots

If you get a chance to examine the roots, that’s even better!

Slip out the plant from the pot, then check the roots. Healthy Rieger Begonia roots are white and firm. Unhealthy plants will have brown or yellow roots that are mashed up.

Check if the Begonias are rootbound. This means that the roots start circling around the pot and are densely compacted in the soil. A rootbound begonia is likely to be stressed and unhealthy.

Aesthetics

Since Rieger Begonias are commonly used as ornaments, you’ll have to choose a color and size that will fit into your home’s style. Rieger Begonias come in beautiful creamy colors, so it won’t be challenging to find a place for them in your interiors, garden, or porch.

Conclusion

Rieger Begonias are winter-flowering plants that are often considered disposable ornaments after the cold season.

It’s possible to enjoy the vibrant blooms of your Rieger Begonia plant for more than one season! With careful exposure to moderate temperature, weather, and feeding conditions, you can enjoy the beautiful flowers year-round. It’s also possible to propagate new cuttings to have an abundance of colorful flowers in your home!

Take note that failure to properly care for Begonias can result in disease. So make sure to review our comprehensive guide to Rieger Begonia plant care and growth.

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