Rex begonia (Rex begonia) foliage comes in all sorts of whirly patterns and shapes; some leaves are variegated, highly textured or wavy. They make wonderful container plants in the shade and can be wintered over indoors in front of a sunny window.
Rex begonias, as well as cannas and coleus, were especially popular during Victorian times, but eventually fell out of favour. As is the case with most trends and fashions, what’s in favour and what’s not is cyclical, and these rhizomatous plants are getting more attention these days, as are coleus and cannas for that matter.
Also called fancy-leaf begonias, they send out the occasional small pink flower, unlike their floriferous cousins, the tuberous and wax begonias. These are grown for their swirly, curvy, spotted or textured leaves that may be silver, burgundy, pink, green or everything in between. I’ve never divided my three-year-old plant (above), but given its lusty growth, it may be time.
For a more detailed look at various kinds of rex begonias and how to care for them, here’s a pdf of an article from Issue 16 of Garden Making magazine to download.