This widely used tender annual produces single or double one-inch flowers in red, white or pink. The flowers are held on succulent stems among shiny bronze or green leaves, providing color in sun or shade from late spring until frost. Wax begonias tolerate hot humid conditions well.
The dustlike seeds must be started 4-6 months before transplanting, and are therefore usually purchased form nurseries or garden centers. Pelleted seed is available. Do not cover the seed, just scatter thinly over the surface of well drained, fine seed medium and press it in. Cover with glass or plastic until germinated. Temperatures should be kept between 60-70 degrees F. After germination, keep moist at all times and allow free air circulation. Watch for signs of damping off. Harden off before transplanting. Seedlings will not tolerate frost. Plant a foot apart (closer if used in containers) in good rich soil that contains lots of organic matter. Soil should retain moisture well. Water deeply during dry spells. Leaf spot may result from overcrowding.
Wax begonias are good for mass planting, as edging plants or in containers and window boxes. Not suitable for cut flowers. The best plants can be lifted as fall approaches to be kept indoors. Plants can be propagated from cuttings.