Indoor begonia Elatior - lush flowering almost all year round
Among begonias there are many plants that can be grown in a room format. But only one became truly popular - the winter begonia from the Elator group, which is often confused with the high begonia. Begonia Elatior is grown mainly as an annual, and in vain. A magnificent palette of flower colors and the ability to bloom almost all year round without a break do not know analogues. This is not the most undemanding plant, but if you are ready to pay attention to it, it will pleasantly surprise you.
Begonias of the "Elator" group - description of plants
Confusion in the names of the begonia Elatior
The name of the begonia Elatior is familiar to everyone, but you should not confuse it with a specific name. Elatior begonias that are sold as houseplants are not varieties at all begonias high (Begonia elatiorreclassified to Begonia reniformis), and a group or race of hybrid begonias with a complex origin, little resembling one of the original plants.
This is one of two groups of hybrid varieties of beautifully flowering grassy begonias (and completely overshadowing competitors from the group Lorren (Lorraine).
Disputes about how to correctly designate elatiores are being conducted quite actively. Some breeders insist on the wording Begonia x hiemalis, Begonia x hybrida, Begonia x hybrids subsp. elatior. Others insist on a simple trade name Begonia elatior hybrids, Begonia hybridspopular and wording race Elator Rieger (Begonia Elatior Rieger) Most catalogs today prefer not to mention the specific name at all. Be that as it may, recognizing the plants is very easy.
Winter begonias, begonias of the group "Elator" (Elatior) or simply begonias elator - These are hybrid begonias of compact size, capable of blooming all year long and differing in fairly large flowers. They are called winter, because no other species is able to please with abundant flowering in the most cloudy time. But the main advantage of Begonia Elatior often remains unnoticed - it is the most resistant to fungal diseases begonias.
The history of the group of hybrids "Elator" began at the dawn of the 20th century.
Legendary winter begonia hybrids
With the changing trends in the begonia market in favor of beautiful flowering beauties, who began to supplant the once dominant decorative and deciduous species from the shelves, the inimitable begonia Elatior invariably began to fall into the list of the best plants for long and bright flowering.
It blooms almost the whole year, without interruptions, luxuriantly, it offers the brightest palettes of colors and looks flawless with quite ordinary care. Bushes do not disappear from the shelves almost all year round.
Hybrid begonias from the Elator group are stunted, compact, herbaceous plants with evergreen leaves. The maximum height of the bushes is limited to a modest 40 cm, although most elators are 20-25-centimeter compact and lush plants, more like living bouquets.
Despite the presence of several ampelous varieties with drooping, drooping shoots, most Elatior begonias are bushy and upright.
It is difficult to call green begonias from the Elator group ugly. They boast larger and more decorative leaves than their main competitors. Reaching a length of up to 8 cm, with serrated edges, the leaves appear to be impeccable - dense, shiny, darkly colored, and look neat, although the foliage of the elatior is as asymmetrical as that of other begonias.
Despite the fact that all elatori are associated with dark leaves that emphasize the color of the caps of inflorescences, the shades of green in the leaves are different for different varieties. The usual dark emerald, warmer tones of dark colors, fairly light grassy shades or original greens with reddish, bronze, brown bloom allow you to choose a variety as well as the color palette of flowers. The purple leaf begonias of Elator are becoming more and more popular today.
Flowering begonias of the group "Elator"
In all varieties of the Elator group, flowers cannot impress with their size, but their beautiful shape and an unusual amount of the full compensate for this drawback. In addition, small flowers are only in comparison with other plants, because they are much larger than the flowers of other lush-colored species - up to 3–5 cm in diameter.
In begonias of the "Elator" group, the flowers can be either simple or semi-double or densely terry. The shape of the latter is often compared with heads of cabbage, although most of the flowers of individual elatior recall mini-roses. Pointed, giving the flowers a star-shaped appearance or rounded, smooth, jagged or wavy, the petals look like a living atlas.
The color scheme of the Elatior hybrid begonia includes all shades of the warm spectrum - from white to yellow and pink-red. Bright, acrylic, clear shades seem especially modern. Two-tone combinations with a smooth transition of a bright border into the main color are not uncommon, as are varieties in which the buds gradually lighten as they bloom.
Varieties of begonia Elatior
These amazing hybrid begonias produce more than a hundred varieties. Among the begonias of the Elator group there is an internal division into ordinary small-flowered varieties and large-flowered hybrids, which are also called Rigen-begonias. They are more stable and large-flowered, most often terry.
Real varieties for room culture have long been such varieties as:
- dark pink-red with almost purple leaves ‘Grace’;
- snow-white dark-leaf variety ‘White Pearl’;
- dark leaf variety with apricot-salmon hue of flowers ‘Lax’;
- terry dark pink with wavy leaves grade ‘Borias’;
- raspberry variety ‘Berseba’;
- red-orange-yellow watercolor varieties series ‘Bodini’;
- half-terry ampel series with bunches at the ends of shoots ‘Cottage Collection’;
- bright yellow variety ‘Nadine’;
- pink with drop-shaped petals grade ‘Sweet Dreams’;
- semi-double green-and-white elegant grade ‘Clara’.
Choosing varieties is purely by color - both flowers and leaves. In catalogs, they often remain nameless.
Growing conditions for indoor begonias Elator
Stable warmth and good soft lighting - that's all that begonias need for relentless flowering. These are gentle and not tolerating drastic changes in cultural conditions.
Winter begonias remain primarily indoor plants. But they are increasingly being grown for gardening purposes - decorating balconies, terraces, pottery gardens and even open soil. They are used in urban landscaping and transferred to sites - like plants blooming for one season. As a perennial, this begonia is saved only in a room format. But in the interior it can be thrown away immediately after flowering.
Lighting and placement
Despite the abundant flowering, the elatior groups are not sun-loving begonias. They need to be protected from direct sunlight, choosing secluded, with scattered, but still bright lighting places. Light penumbra is the best choice for them.
It was no coincidence that the Elatiors received their name in winter begonia. These are plants with a pronounced short day, thanks to which they bloom most luxuriously in the coldest time of the year. Plants for flowering in spring and summer require control of daylight hours 8-10 weeks before flowering.
Illumination with shading for two months allows the plant to achieve lush flowering at any time, but during the preparation period, the daylight hours should be exactly 9 hours a day. Natural conditions in October-December are already sufficient for winter flowering of begonias.
One of the secrets of spectacular flowering Elatior class begonias is lighting stability. From the moment of budding to the end of flowering, it is better not to rotate the bushes and displace them in relation to the light source, not to transfer them to a new place or to new rooms.
Therefore, you need to choose a place for this plant carefully, considering the location of the blooming begonia in the interior and making sure of the comfort of lighting for further growth a few months before the start of the main "show".
Temperature and ventilation
Any beautiful flowering begonias should be protected from heat. But the begonias of Elatior will prefer very stable and moderate temperatures within the range of 16 to 21 degrees Celsius even in summer. Any excess of 22 degrees reduces the flowering period and requires control of air humidity.
Heat leads to a loss of terry and elongation of the plant, especially if temperatures exceed 28 degrees in fresh air. At the same time, during the budding period, the temperature is critical: the better the indicators stabilize at a value of 20 degrees or a little higher, the begonias will bloom more magnificent.
If it is possible to control temperatures more strictly, you can use the secret for flowering Elatior begonias as long as possible: increase temperatures by at least 3-4 degrees at the budding stage and lower them to cool at the flowering stage.
The minimum temperatures that elators can tolerate are about 12 degrees. But without a trace of cold for them will not pass. Plants will even prefer to spend a dormant period at a temperature of 16 to 18 degrees. If the plants continue to bloom in winter, then this decrease is unacceptable.
For almost all new varieties of begonia Elatior content is preferable even in the midst of winter at a temperature not lower than 20 degrees. The minimum indicators at which flowering continues are 18 degrees heat. Moreover, any temperature fluctuations have an extremely negative effect on flowering.
These plants need to be protected from any sharp jumps in temperature, especially sharp cooling and drafts. The more stable the environment, the more abundant and longer the bloom of the elators. Even from a period of active development to a dormant period and vice versa, plants should be transferred gradually, with intermediate transitions.
Elatior hybrid begonias adore fresh air. Frequent ventilation with protection of the plant from drafts is a prerequisite for plant health. Drafts, especially cold ones, cause droplets in the begonias of the Elator group.
All elators successfully bloom in the fresh air. Plants can be taken out to balconies and to a garden, placing in the protected places and in partial shade, not in too bright sun. But it is worth being prepared for the fact that after returning to the rooms, in the absence of a soft translation into new conditions, flowering in the rooms may not continue.
Winter Begonia Care at Home
These plants require quite ordinary, accurate care. By protecting begonias from extremes, overflows or drought, pollution and depletion of the soil, their relentless flowering can be guaranteed. These varieties of indoor begonias need only attention.
Watering and humidity
Accurate but plentiful watering is a common requirement for all elators during the period of active growth. Stagnant water, too wet a substrate for these plants is most often fatal, but they also can not stand drought.
To admire the relentless flowering of Elatior begonia, you will have to constantly control the soil moisture and not allow it to dry completely, only slightly drying the upper third of the substrate in containers.
To avoid the risk of waterlogging, it is better to immediately drain the water from the trays and constantly check the degree of drying of the substrate.
During dormancy, these varieties of begonias require a completely different approach. After flowering, the plants are smoothly transferred to a new irrigation regime, drying the earthen clod stronger (almost completely) and watering them sparingly enough. But all the same, the complete drying of the substrate for elators is unacceptable. If plants bloom all year round, including in winter, watering should be regulated according to temperature changes and maintain the same humidity.
Despite the fact that any begonias put up fairly well with the dry air of living rooms, maximum flowering from elatior can be expected only at average humidity, without extremes. Spraying is acceptable, but only foggy and very neat, not affecting the buds and flowers.
To stabilize the conditions for these flowering begonias, it is better to install simple humidifiers - trays with wet moss or pebbles, small fountains. You can group plants with hygrophilous crops, for which additional measures are being taken to increase air humidity.
These plants are better to keep clean to maintain health and prevent problems with pests and diseases. Dust and dirt on the leaves of begonias from the group "Elator" should not accumulate. At the same time, washing is unacceptable, the bushes must be carefully cleaned by hand, carefully handling the leaves.
With any "water" procedures on the begonias of Elator, it is better to monitor the quality of the water. Its temperature should always exceed the room temperature by several degrees. Water should be soft, filtered or prolonged sedimentation. When watering begonias Elatior, you need to be very careful and try not to soak not only the flowers, but also the leaves.
Fertilizing and fertilizer composition
No matter how magnificent the flowering of Elatior begonias does not seem, you should not feed them as well as flowering summers. Top dressing for these begonias can be carried out only during the period of active growth, halving the standard dose for top dressing, with a frequency of 1 time in 2-3 weeks.
For elators use special fertilizers for begonias or flowering plants. They do not like organic fertilizing and universal preparations.
This is one of not so many plants that do not like plentiful feeding, which can also be grown on long-acting fertilizers. Capsules or sticks introduced into the soil make it easier to care for the Elatior group begonias.
Pruning and shaping Elatior begonias
The main method for forming begonias of the Elator group is simple pinching of the tops of the shoots. It is enough to stimulate the growth of new branches, and to maintain a compact form. In fact, even the removal of fading inflorescences remains almost a plucking.
If plants are grown as perennials, then after flowering, the plants are pruned for preservation for the next year. This procedure is carried out immediately after transplantation. Cardinal pruning to short stumps allows begonias to go to the resting stage with careful watering and without top dressing and quickly recover when signs of growth appear. If the transplant is postponed until spring, then it is better to wait a bit with pruning.
Transplant, containers and substrate
Begonias of the "Elator" group are transplanted immediately after flowering. Plants are carefully transferred to a fresh substrate, with signs of decay, removing damaged roots. Transplant timing depends on when the plant has flowered. If the transplant is postponed until spring, then it has been carried out since April.
Capacities for elators must be compact. Plants are grown in classic slightly tall, upwardly expanding pots with a diameter from the "starting" 10 cm to 14 cm for large bushes. Increase capacity by 1-2 cm.
Experimenting with the substrate for begonias Elator is not worth it. They can bloom magnificently only in a high-quality substrate with controlled characteristics. For begonias of this group, only special substrates for begonias are used - moreover, it is advisable to look for soils for flowering, rather than universal begonium types of earth mixtures.
If the soil mixture is composed independently, it is worth choosing a complex combination of leafy land with peat and sand with small additions of turf and humus soil (12: 10: 4: 1: 2) with a pH value of 6 to 6.5 or a mixture of different types of peat with inert additives. Peat in the composition of the soil is required.
When transplanting begonia Elatior, you can’t deepen the root necks and ram the soil around the plants, leaving it loose and adding more as it shrinks. A neat transplant without unnecessary contacts is the best option. After transplantation, light watering is carried out.
Diseases, pests and problems in the cultivation of begonia Elatior
Under the right conditions and good care, begonias Elatior never get sick. They are much more stable than all beautiful flowering begonias. In fact, they can only suffer from rot due to inaccurate watering and dampness.
When taken to the garden or placed on balconies, Elatior often suffer from powdery mildew. Fighting fungicides on flowering begonias is useless, it is better to destroy the affected bushes as soon as possible. Occasionally, aphids also threaten plants in the open air, which is better to fight with insecticides.
Propagation of indoor begonia Elatior
Charming flowering begonias propagate in the same way as everyone else. Elatiors are very rarely grown from seeds due to the loss of varietal properties of the offspring, but when buying individual varieties from trusted producers or bright mixtures, only pleasant surprises are most likely to be expected.
Seeds are sown superficially, they are very small and require prior mixing with sand or sowing on sand. Germination requires a high temperature of 25 degrees and bright lighting. Plants develop slowly, dive them 2-3 times, several plants are placed in containers for a more decorative effect.
Very lush elatior bushes are most often in clusters of several separate plants, and they willingly release lateral shoots. Separation is a very simple way to breed and renew these hybrid begonias. It is carried out during transplantation, carefully, removing all dry and damaged parts of both roots and shoots.
But still, the main method of propagating begonia Elatior remains cuttings. Non-flowering, vegetative shoots are chosen for him. You can cut green cuttings in spring and summer. Apical and stem cuttings are rooted in sand or any light / inert substrate disinfected to protect plants from rot.
For begonias Elatior, a temperature of about 20 degrees is necessary. Rooting does not occur quickly, up to 1 month, plants require light substrate moisture and careful handling.
Propagation by leafy cuttings for elatior is very rarely used, but if all the rules are followed and very carefully moistened, new bushes can be obtained in this way. Petioles with a length of about 3 cm are carefully buried in the substrate in the same way as ordinary stem cuttings. Rooted leaves in 2-3 months.