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Home > Virtual Greenhouse

The Virtual Greenhouse

Welcome to ABS virtual greenhouse. Feel free to stroll through our virtual aisles of all the different horticultural types of the huge Begonia family. There are over 1,500 named species (so far) from exotic tropical places around the world. However, only a small fraction are under cultivation. But we are earnestly trying to bring more into cultivation and to see that portions of their native habitats are set aside from human destruction. 

Begonias are particularly easy to hybridize, and so there are also many more of them grown than species. On the following pages are shown examples of both natural species and man-made crosses. You can tell them apart by the format of their name: a species is labeled B. speciesname and a vegetatively propagated hybrid, called a "cultivar", is labeled B. 'Cultivarname'.

Enjoy your virtual tour.

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Horticultural Classifications


Cane-like begonias have been popular plants for many years and were probably grown by your Grandmother, who called them "Angel Wing" begonias. Many types have been created since then, although those grown by your Grandmother are probably still in cultivation. There are several types of canes in varying sizes but they all have in common tough stems that have a bamboo-like appearance, which is why they are called canes. 

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Many of these are little-known but very interesting. They grow upright on branching stems. Some have hairy, velvet-like leaf surfaces while others are distinguished by leaf coloring never seen anywhere else. All this and flowers too! 


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These easy-care begonias have interesting leaves year-round plus flower clusters growing like clouds above the foliage.  The rhizomatous types are grown mostly for their interesting leaves and compact growth but they have the added bonus of a massive display of flowers that can cover the whole plant. Most are spring blooming but there are a few that bloom all year. 

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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. These begonias are grown mostly as bedding plants and annuals but are really a perennial shrub type of begonia in areas that don't freeze.

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The tuberous type of begonia is also very popular around the world as a bedding plant and also as a greenhouse plant. In some countries such as England it is the main type grown. The tuberous types are grown for their flowers although there are a few varieties and species which have interesting leaves and growth. The flower size can range from small, 1/2 inch flowers, to the large exhibition types that can have flowers the size of dinner plates. 

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Rex begonias are the showboats of the begonia world and are a type of rhizomatous begonia that are grown for their multicolored leaves. The leaves come in every color, pattern and shade, and every size and shape. All Rex Cultorum types are descended from the Indian species B. rex that was crossed with other types of rhizomatous begonias. Rex begonias do bloom but are not grown for their blooms which pale in comparison to their spectacular leaves. 

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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 everblooming. Some have glossy leaves and look like a philodendron, but others grow large leaves and will climb. In their native habitat these types will climb up the trunks of trees. Most of the trailing types have white or pink flowers.

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Thick Stemmed 

The thick-stemmed types are not as widely grown but come in various forms. They all have 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. 

more info >

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