Original from Brazil - A 1000 species family
Although originating in Brazil, the begonia is found in many tropical and sub-tropical areas of the Western Hemisphere. Botanists have classified over 1,000 species, but the begonia hybridizes so easily that even amateur horticulturists frequently develop new cultivars.
Most Begonia Cultivars are sorted according to their rootstock
Because of the difficulty of naming all of these variations, most begonias are sorted into three classes according to their rootstock. However, the hobby gardener usually has one of two goals in growing begonias, either to grow them for their bright colored flowers or to grow them for their spectacular variations in foliage.
The Three Main Families
Tuberous begonias most often are grown for flowers that come in bright shades of white, yellow, pink, and orange in double or single blooms. A distinctive trait of the begonia flower is that all cultivars have a brilliant yellow center, or "eye".
Fibrous begonias are a good choice for those gardeners who want both distinctive flower and foliage. In addition to brightening your patio or porch in the summer with their colorful blooms and fancy leaves, many types of fibrous begonias make excellent year-round plants when grown indoors.
Rhizomatous begonias usually are grown for their distinctive foliage. Though bloom is rare in many cultivars, those that do flower dazzle their owners with a breath-taking display as the plant literally is concealed with prolific blossom. Leaves may be smooth, rough, round, frilled, hairy… the variety is nearly endless and foliage comes both monotone and variegated with intricate patterns in a range of shades from pale green to bronze.
It's also easy to find a spot for your begonias since they tolerate light conditions from shade to sun. The begonia both prefers to be pot bound and to dry out between watering, making it an easy-care flower for your terrace as well as your garden.
Set begonias outside in the spring for a dazzling floral and foliar display all summer long. However, begonias are an annual that need shelter and warmth during chilly winter months.