The White Ice begonia show some peculiarities compared to their sisters, the normal begonias. We show what you need to know to plant and care for ice begonias. Have you ever had a close look at the flowers of the Begonia semperflorens? Maybe you have noticed that not all flowers look the same.
Begonias do not believe in too much closeness and separate male and female elements from each other to be on the safe side. For example, some flowers have only male stamens, while the other flowers have only female pistils. But this is not the only thing that makes the ice begonias interesting contemporaries. There are still some surprises in them.
White Ice Begonias: How They Get Their Names
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With the name “ice begonia”, one could jump to the conclusion that it is the only frost-compatible begonia species. But in fact, ice begonias react extremely sensitively to frost. They would hardly survive an outdoor winter in Central Europe.
The name probably comes from the succulent and quickly breaking leaves of the plant. So what would be a more appropriate name? The scientific name Begonia semperflorens sums it up quite well: it can be translated as “ever-flowering begonia”.
And indeed – once the ice begonia has started to flower in May, it won’t stop flowering. Even in a beautiful, bright winter quarter, it will not let itself be stopped. Unfortunately, the numerous small flowers produce very little nectar and pollen and are therefore of little use to pollinators.
White Ice begonias, or perhaps more appropriately also called God’s Eyes or bed begonias, are upright and richly branched plants. Their bushy growth is adorned by medium to dark green leaves. But also dark foliage varieties are available.
Characteristics And Special Features
The well-known white ice begonias actually come from South America. However, they do not exist in wild form, because they are a bred hybrid of Begonia cucullata and Begonia schmidtiana.
With countless varieties and their white, pink, or red flowers, they have easily conquered the hearts of gardeners and the gardens of Europe. Even the leaves differ in color depending on the variety. Not only green is often seen here, but also red and bronze-colored leaves can often be admired.
It is often forgotten, however, that the white ice begonia does not only look good in the bed. On the palate, its leaves and small flowers not only delight the observer but also spoil him with a fresh, lemony aroma. So if you want to serve your guests something special, then the flowers of the white ice begonias are a wonderful enrichment for the salad.
If you prefer to use the plant for decorative purposes, there are numerous possibilities, because it is not only good in beds and borders, but also on balconies and hanging baskets. With a maximum height of 11.8 inches, you will find plenty of space even in small gardens.
The Most Beautiful Varieties Of White Ice Begonia
Everyone has a slightly different taste in what the perfect white ice begonia should look like. Over the years, countless varieties have developed. The variety ranges from simple, unfilled, small flowers to double or bicolored ones. You are also free to choose the color of the foliage.
Not only green-leaved varieties are available, but also varieties with dark or even bronze foliage.
- Ostas H: This variety has small white flowers with numerous yellow stamens and pistils. Its foliage is green.
- Oreb H Pink: The ‘Oreb H Pink’ variety also has green foliage. As the name suggests, its flowers are not white, but an intense pink.
- Cocktail: This group of varieties surprises with dark foliage. The names of the associated varieties are alcoholic drinks. Thus the different sorts of’ Rum’,
- Whisky or Gin have different shades of red, white, and pink.
- Volumia Rose bicolor: This variety comes in two colors. Its white flowers are adorned with a wonderful pink hem and really come into their own. The foliage of this variety is green.
- Doublet: The begonias of this series are especially beautiful because of their double flowers. They are available in all colors and can have both bronze and green foliage.
If you are interested in other begonia species and varieties, you will find them in our overview article.
Planting White Ice Begonias
Plant out the flowering begonias only in mid-May, when the ice saints are over. Then you can be sure that no late frosts will endanger your plant. If you keep a distance of about 20 centimeters between the individual plants, you can plant true seas of flowers. You can even develop patterns and motifs by skillfully combining different flower colors. Since white ice begonias bloom throughout the summer and like it sunny, they are also often planted on graves. You can find detailed instructions for planting begonias here.
Begonia White Ice Cultural Requirements
White Ice begonias are uncomplicated and easy to handle. The only thing you should be careful with is touching them because the fleshy leaves and shoots break easily. Keep the plants moist, but prevent waterlogging. It is best to always wait until the soil has dried above ground before watering again.
White Ice Begonias Care After Hibernate
Although the tropical plants are usually planted as annuals in Germany because of their sensitivity to frost, there is nothing to prevent them from hibernating in the warm. It is a pity for the plant, the resources, and the money that would otherwise be lost. Furthermore, white ice begonias flower during warm hibernation even during the cold months. Simply dig out the root ball of the plant and put it in a pot. Now they can be optimally overwintered at about 60 to 68 °F, for example in a bright stairwell.
Alternatively, in autumn you can cut the plants down to a few centimeters, place the root balls in a box with slightly moist soil and winter them in a frost-free but cool cellar. Only in March should you place the plants in the light and start watering again.