Elatior begonias: how to grow & care for them

Sarah
Sarah
Sarah
Sarah

For me plants are some of the most exciting living beings, even though they live in slow motion. They have fascinating abilities and just so much potential! That's why I studied organic farming. However, since plants are rather thin on the ground in my city, I often spend time hiking in the nearby mountains at the weekend. In the future I would love to run a farm myself.

Favourite fruit: strawberries and gooseberries
Favourite vegetable: courgettes

How to care for and plant Elatior begonias properly: Expert tips about these beautiful indoor begonias with advice on the most beautiful varieties.

orange elatior begonia flowers
Elatior begonias are especially popular as houseplants [Photo: Joy Baldassarre/ Shutterstock.com]

Elatior begonias (Begonia x hiemalis) are unbeatably likeable cohabitants. They bloom all year around and in return really want nothing more than a pretty place to stay, water and a little fertiliser now and then. Unfortunately, they are often not thanked for this frugality because after the first flowering in winter, many begonias (Begonia) end up on the compost heap. But the plant is perennial and with proper care will produce numerous flowers again the following year.

Elatior begonias: origin and characteristics

As a group of hybrids, Elatior begonias are not actually a true species. Four begonia species are the ancestors of Elatior begonias: Begonia socotrana, Begonia veitchii, Begonia boliviensis and Begonia rosaeflora. There is something of each of these four immortalised in the Elatior begonia. Sometimes this is larger, sometimes smaller because not every variety of Elatior begonia was bred in equal proportions from these original species. However, what the Elatior begonias have in common is that they bloom beautifully. The flowers of various colours grow together in clusters. Overall, the plants grow up to 40 centimetres tall but have a rather compact growth.

The most beautiful varieties

Each of the Elatior begonias is different because they are descended in different proportions from the four original species. Even if a variety has all four original species as quasi grandparents, so it may be that another variety is also derived from all four species, the proportion of a species however, prevails in genetics. This leads to a truly colourful variety of Elatior begonias.

Elatior begonias with a variety of colored flowers
The colourful variety of elatior begonias does not make it any easier to decide which variety to choose [Photo: Christopher PB/ Shutterstock.com]

Beautiful varieties of the Elatior begonia:

  • ‘Clara’: This variety bears double flowers of brilliant white
  • ‘Camilla’: The single flowers of ‘Camilla’ appear in beautiful shades of pink
  • ‘Barkos‘: The variety is considered one of the most beautiful among the Elatior begonias and has deep red double flowers
  • ‘Yellow Stone’: With its intense yellow flowers, the variety ‘Yellow Stone’ brings variety to the rather white-pink-red world of begonias
  • ‘Carneval’: The double flowers are the eye-catcher par excellence with their deep yellow inside and intense red outside

In addition to Elatior begonias, the genus includes many other species. Interesting begonia species can be found in this article.

What to consider when buying Elatior begonias

Choose a vigorous and healthy-looking plant. If you want to enjoy the begonia for a long time, you should also look for signs of excessively rapid growth. Begonias that have grown tall are more susceptible. To exclude the possibility of fungal infestation, you should carefully inspect the selected begonia again, especially for mildew (Erysiphaceae), before buying.

Small pots of various begonias for sale on table
Elatior begonias are offered in great variety in most flower shops [Photo: Kristi Blokhin/ Shutterstock.com]

Planting Elatior begonias in a pot

Elatior begonias are offered mainly in the spring – this is also ideal because it is the right time to transplant them. In principle, the plants should be kept in the pot as they are very sensitive to cold.

Be sure to use a flower pot with a drainage hole for planting to prevent waterlogging. As an additional measure, you can put a few pebbles on the bottom of the pot to better drain excess water. A soil rich in nutrients such as our peat-free Plantura Organic Flower Compost makes a good substrate.

Organic Flower Compost, 40L
Organic Flower Compost, 40L
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  • Perfect for all flowering plants in garden beds & pots
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Slightly loosen the root ball before planting so that the plant can root faster in the new pot. Now pot the begonia with the help of the soil, and then lightly press the whole thing. A little watering and you have finished planting your Elatior begonia. You only need to repot the plant every few years to refresh the soil and possibly give it a little more space.

You can learn everything else about planting begonias here.

Caring for Elatior begonias

They like temperatures between 16 and 22 °C, so Elatior begonias do not do well outside. A place inside the home suits them just fine. These temperatures are also optimal over the winter because as tropical plants, these begonias are accustomed to consistent temperatures throughout the year. Place this beautiful plant in a bright, airy place out of direct sunlight. Withered flowers should be removed regularly. This not only keeps the plant looking good but also prevents infestation with fungi. Elatior begonias need a lot of nutrients. A natural fertiliser like our Plantura Flower Food is just the thing. This type of fertilisation has a pronounced long-term effect and additionally contains quickly available nutrients.

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