Begonia Rex (Painted Leaf Begonia)

Scientific Name: Begonia Rex

Common Name: Painted Leaf Begonia

Begonia Rex care is not easy. The Painted Leaf Begonia is not a plant for beginners and it is known to be very finicky to take care of. If you are able to provide it with the details listed below, you may be able to care for Begonia Rex and grow a thriving houseplant.

To give this Begonia plant the best care, it requires well-draining soil, keep the soil moist by watering often, provide it with bright indirect sunlight, temperatures ranging from 60-70F, and high humidity levels.

Quick Care Overview

Common NamePainted Leaf Begonia
Scientific NameBegonia Rex
OriginEast Asia
Growth RateMedium
IdentificationVariegated foliage in shades of red, purple, silver, and green
HeightUp to 18 inches tall
SoilWell-draining soil
WaterSoil likes to remain consistently moist
SunlightBright indirect sunlight
Toxic to Cats & DogsYes
Toxic to HumansYes
PestsScale, aphids, and mealybugs
DiseasesRoot rot, powdery mildew, leaf spot, botrytis

Below we will dive deep into this Begonia Rex care guide.

Rex Begonia Care

Begonia Rex History

Native to Eastern Asia, Begonia Rex, otherwise known as the Painted Leaf or Fancy Leaf Begonia, is a dramatic and gorgeous perennial plant grown for its unique foliage. Often considered one of the most beautiful houseplants, this plant can come in a variety of colors and is commonly found among houseplant collectors. 

Begonia Rex Identification

Variegated foliage of Begonia Rex comes in shades of red, purple, silver, and green. The Rex Begonia is known for its gorgeous foliage rather than its flowers. Foliage patterns may drastically range from plant to plant. Begonia Rex is a rhizomatous variety of begonia and is often said to be easier to care for than other varieties. 

Begonia Rex Growth Facts

This common houseplant has a shrub-like quality and will grow quickly in the warmth of spring and summer. It is important to keep in mind that most Begonias will only live for a few years when cultivated indoors. 

How Big Does a Begonia Rex Get?

Begonia Rex can grow up to 18″ tall.

Begonia Rex Care

Though not considered an easy to care for plant, as long as you are able to adequately provide for this Begonia’s watering needs, you will be awarded with an abundance of rich foliage. 

Begonia Rex Soil

Begonia Rex will appreciate being grown in well-draining, light, and airy soil. A commercial potting mix with incorporations of peat moss or coco coir and perlite is ideal. 

Begonia Rex Fertilizer

Begonia Rex will benefit from biweekly fertilization. Select a balanced liquid fertilizer indicated for houseplants and dilute it by half. Do not fertilize in the fall or winter. 

Begonia Rex Watering

Rex Begonia likes to remain consistently moist but not oversaturated with water. Let the top one inch of soil dry before rewatering. 

Begonia Rex Light Requirements

Rex Begonia likes to be kept in bright indirect light. While this plant can tolerate lower light conditions, it will thrive when given ample light. Ensure that you do not place this Begonia in too intense of direct sunlight, which may lead to sun scorching. 

Begonia Rex Temperature & Humidity

As a tropical plant, Begonia Rex likes to remain warm and humid. Therefore, this plant prefers to be kept between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit and in rooms with over 50% humidity. 

Repotting Begonia Rex

You should repot your Begonia when you see its rhizome contacting the side of its container. To repot, select a large shallow container that will allow room for the rhizome to spread. Then, replant your Begonia, refresh the soil, tamp lightly, and place in indirect light. Repotting is an ideal time to propagate your Begonia rex through rhizome division. 

Begonia Rex Maintenance & Pruning

Although the Rex Begonia does not require any pruning, you may choose to trim the plant back using sharp, clean shears. Periodically remove any dead, discolored, or diseased leaves. 

Begonia Rex Propagation

Begonia Rex may be easily propagated through rhizome division during repotting. Additionally, you may be able to propagate your Begonia through leaf tip cuttings.

To propagate through leaf tip cuttings, cut a large leaf from a mature plant that has bold veins. Using a sharp knife, cut along the middle of the leaf’s vein. Apply rooting hormone to the cut end of the leaf and inside the cut middle part of the vein. Place the cut end of the leaf into soil and surround with stones to hold the leaf upright. Keep the soil moist, but not overly saturated with water. Within a few weeks, seedings should appear from the cut part of the leaf.  

How to Care for Painted Leaf Begonia

Begonia Rex Toxicity

Toxicity to Humans

Rex Begonia is considered toxic to humans and should never be consumed. It is suggested to keep this plant away from babies and small children to avoid any accidents. 

Toxicity to Cats & Dogs

The Rex Begonia is considered toxic to animals and should never be ingested. However, if you suspect your animal has eaten any portion of this plant, contact your veterinarian and animal poison control immediately. 

Begonia Rex Problems

Begonia Rex Leaves Turning Yellow

Yellow foliage may be due to overwatering, diseases such as root rot, or due to improper lighting. Ensure that you do not overwater your plant or allow it to sit in standing water within the plant’s drainage tray. 

Begonia Rex Leaves Turning Brown

The most common cause of browning foliage when it comes to Rex begonia is due to lack of moisture and humidity. This Begonia likes to remain consistently moist. Alternatively, browning may be due to too much direct sunlight. 

Begonia Rex Diseases

Begonia Rex may be affected by powdery mildew, leaf spot, botrytis. Ensure that you do not overwater your plant and that it has good air circulation. Upon identifying plant disease, isolate your plant and treat with a fungicide, such as copper. 

Begonia Rex Pests

Begonia Rex may be affected by houseplant pests such as mealybugs, scale, aphids, and more. Periodically check your plant for signs of infestation. Upon identifying an infestation, isolate your plant and treat it with a pesticide, such as neem oil or insecticidal soap. 


Can Begonia Rex Take Full Sun?

Begonias like bright indirect sunlight, however if receiving direct sunlight, be sure it comes from an eastern-facing window where the morning sun is less harsh on the plant.

Is Begonia Rex an Indoor Plant?

Begonia Rex can be grown both indoors and outdoors. This plant cannot tolerate freezing temperatures, so if placed outdoors, it should be brought inside for the winter.

How Long Do Begonia Rex Live?

Begonia Rex is an annual plant and therefore will not live forever. Propagating the plant every springtime will help to keep this beautiful plant while others may die off.

How Do You Make Rex Begonia Bushy?

To make a Begonia Rex appear bushy, it’s important to prune the plant and remove any dead leaves. This will help the plant to appear bushy and full.


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