How To Care For A Rieger Begonia Like A Pro

Last Updated on August 27, 2022

Rieger begonias are a very popular flowering houseplant. Get some helpful advice and tips on how to care for them here.

Rieger Begonia

Rieger Begonia Care: Tips And Advice You Can Use

A popular indoor flowering plant that gets a lot of searches on this site is the Rieger begonia. They have become a very popular houseplant over the past few years.

They are not only beautiful but also extremely easy to care for. However, many beginners get confused with its care requirements.

In this article, I’ll share tips for successfully caring for a Rieger begonia. You’ll learn how to properly water, fertilize, prune, and re-pot these plants. I’ll even tell you where to find the best Rieger begonia plants.

But let’s begin here.

What Exactly is a Rieger Begonia?

Rieger begonias (Begonia x hiemalis), also known as Elatior begonias, are tuberous begonia hybrids that produce lush dark green foliage and clusters of colorful flowers in a wide range of colors, including red and orange, yellow, peach, pink, and salmon.

Many people contact us for information on how to care for these attractive houseplants, so I thought I’d share this short video that gives you helpful care tips and advice.

You’ll like this video if you love these colorful, winter-blooming indoor plants and want actionable care information. Watch and see if you agree.

houseplant secrets

I hope you liked the video and got some valuable tips from it. Rieger begonia plant care is pretty easy.

Here’s a quick recap of the steps you need to follow to keep your Rieger begonia plant in tip-top shape.

Tips On Caring For Your Rieger Begonia

rieger begonia basket

Light and Water Requirements

Rieger begonias like indirect light. Keep them near a sunny, south-facing window, but avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause the leaves to burn.

As with all houseplants, regular watering is essential to keep a Rieger begonia in tip-top shape.

When watering, add water to the base of the plant. Avoid getting water on the leaf surfaces. Doing so will help to prevent ugly water spots and the possibility of fungal disease.

The soil should be kept moderately moist. Water thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to the touch. It’s okay if the plant does dry out a bit, but once you set a regular watering schedule, you shouldn’t have to worry about that.

Don’t drown your Rieger begonia! Overwatering can lead to root rot and mildew, causing those beautiful leaves to turn yellow and wilt. Save your plant by removing any affected leaves and only watering them when the soil is dry.

Rieger begonia "Camilla 98"

Temperature and Fertilization

Tuberous begonias, which include Rieger begonias, prefer cool temperatures, 65-70° Fahrenheit (18-21C) during the daytime and 60-65F° Fahrenheit (15-18C) at night. Avoid excessively hot or cold locations.

Rieger begonia plants don’t need to be fed regularly; they should be fertilized once a month when they’re flowering using a high-phosphorus fertilizer. Be sure to trim off any dead flowers and withered foliage.

I use a high-phosphorous liquid plant food rather than a soluble fertilizer because I don’t have to mix it before applying.

Ensure the soluble or liquid fertilizer is diluted to one-quarter strength if watering weekly or half-strength bi-weekly.

If, for whatever reason, your plant feeding schedule is erratic, use a slow-release fertilizer instead.  These fertilizers gradually release nutrients over time, so you won’t have to worry about feeding every week.

Begonia hiemalis

Common Pests 

Rieger Begonias are susceptible to common pests. Be on the lookout for spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and scale. These pests suck the sap from the leaves, causing them to wilt. To check for infestations, look under the leaves where the pests like to hide. You’ll also notice slightly sticky leaves from the pests eating the sap.

If you find an infestation, isolate the plant and remove any dead leaves. Then, spray the plant with a gentle insecticidal soap. You can also use a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water. For scale, use a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol to wipe the affected leaves 

Repotting and Propagation

Because they are winter-flowering begonias, many people discard them after they finish blooming indoors.

A tuberous begonia like the Rieger is not tricky to propagate or get to rebloom.

After the flowering period, it is recommended to decrease watering until the soil is nearly dry to the touch and discontinue fertilization.

You can restart it by cutting back the original plant to within 3 inches of the crown, making sure to leave several of the old shoots.

The plant can then be repotted in a mixture of sandy soil and peat moss or use an African violet potting soil mix.

Begin watering again and resume fertilizing monthly.

If you don’t want to keep the original plant, remove the new shoots when they get about 3 inches tall.

Pot them in a damp half-and-half mix of sand and peat moss, covering at least one node on each stem cutting by the soil.

Check the cuttings for root growth in about four weeks. Once roots are present, the stem cuttings can be potted into a shallow 6-inch (azalea) pot, using three (3) cuttings per pot. Hanging baskets and larger containers will need more cuttings.

Once the cuttings are established, pinch back the tips. Doing so encourages them to branch out.

yellow rieger begonia flowers

Where You Buy A Rieger Begonia Matters

Be choosy when purchasing these tuberous beauties because the quality can vary widely.

Tuberous begonias like a Rieger begonia are widely available in late fall and early winter at many floral outlets.

But to get the highest quality plants, I recommend buying one from a local florist, garden center, or greenhouse. Those are my trusted sources.

The plants they carry will be more likely to have been grown under ideal conditions and cared for better than those purchased from a source shipping them nationwide. 

You don’t want to end up with a less healthy plant that’s more difficult to care for.

Rieger begonia "Peggy"

Thanks For Staying With Me

I’m pleased to have you on my website. I’m Greg from Greenfield Flower Shop. I’ve shared many useful videos for you on this website, many of which cover topics related to succulent plants, orchid plants, and plant care tips.

But having been said, that’s not how it started. Okay, so right off the bat, I have a confession I have to make. The truth is that the production of this site was a selfish act on my part.

My floral industry colleagues have produced many solid “how-to” videos, and a site where I could curate, comment on, and share my favorites with others is what I was after.

Of course, I see this site as an opportunity, too. I’m just “keepin’ it real” with you.

I enjoy the sponsorship revenue this site provides. I hope you’re cool with that.

As you can likely tell, I don’t pull any punches. Any possible monetary benefit is incidental, and I’m not here to sell you anything.

If something from any of my sponsors interests you, that’s great! But if not, you won’t hurt my feelings.

I appreciate your visit and would love to see you here again.

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Til next time,

Greg Johnson
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