Answer: According to the American Begonia Society, "Florida has a climate unlike that of most of the country. Here Semperflorens are grown mostly as annuals during the cool season, reaching their peak in February. Tuberous begonias will not survive our summer heat." Some of the rhizomatous begonias that can be found locally and that do well here are:
B. 'Erythrophylla', known as "Beefsteak", which has large rounded leaves with a bronzy top surface and reddish color underneath.
B. 'Ricinifolia', which has very large leaves resembling those of the castor bean plant. Its stem is reddish colored and delicate pink flowers emerge on an extended stem.
B. nelumbifolia, which has large, rounded leaves that look like those of a water lily and produces large white flowers.
Other interesting rhizomatous begonias suitable for outdoor growing can be seen at the Mounts Botanical Garden, 351 N. Military Trail in West Palm Beach in beds planted by the West Palm Beaches Branch of American Begonia Society.
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