Begonia Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

The begonia is a flower that people often overlook. It’s attractive and hardy, which has led to it being a popular plant in gardens and parks. Many of us will regularly pass by begonias without really knowing that we’ve seen them. But when we look closer, we can recognize just how lovely the begonia is.

The meaning of the begonia can be confusing. It’s frequently associates with darker things. The begonia might be given as a warning, or as an indication that someone should proceed with caution. However, it can also represent gratitude, peace, and giving thanks. 

Begonias are a popular flower to grow, especially as people can propagate them from cuttings. This has led to many growing them all over the place! With this guide, we urge you to take a closer look at the begonia, and find out more about its history and symbolism. 

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What Does The Begonia Flower Mean?

Begonia is a term that can be applied to a great range of species in the family Begoniaceae. This has possibly led to the diversity of meaning attached to the begonia. To some, the begonia is seen as a warning. It means something bad might be on its way, or that you have to be cautious. 

But to others, the begonia is about gratitude. It expresses hope and thoughtfulness, and can be a way of saying “Thank You”. 

Etymological Meaning Of The Begonia Flower

Begonia is a term many used for an incredible number of flowering plants. With over 2000 plant species within the genus, you can find some wonderful variety across the family.

The name Begonia was chosen in honor of Michel Bégon, a former governor of Haiti (at the time known as the French colony of Saint-Domingue).

The term was proposed by French botanist Charles Plumier, who the genus Plumeria was named for. Begonia became the widely used term in 1753, when it was adopted by botanist Carl Linnaeus.

Symbolism Of The Begonia Flower

There are so many varieties of begonia that they have managed to attract a whole range of symbolism. A begonia given to someone serves as a warning, or a sign of caution. But they can also indicate respect and gratitude.


First, the darker meaning of the begonia. Traditionally, this flower is as a symbol of warning. It is a way to tell someone that they needed to watch their backs. The begonia wasn’t necessarily a threat, but instead a gesture that things aren’t always as they seem.

While this might put you off planting a begonia, don’t throw away your seeds just yet! The begonia also symbolize gratitude and respect.

A begonia can mean understanding, and even forgiveness. This has become the primary symbolism of the begonia, and a gesture made with begonias can be meaningful and heartfelt.

Although the symbolism of warning still clings to the begonia in some cultures, many largely overlook it nowadays. Instead, the begonia has mainly come to symbolize respect, gratitude, and thankfulness.

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Begonia Flower Color Meanings

Begonias come in some incredible shapes and sizes, and also a wide array of colors. The specific coloring of the begonia can deeply impact the meaning.

Yellow flowers are fun and cheerful, and this meaning is true for the begonia. Yellow begonias are also a symbol of hope, many can use it to mean contentment as well.

Overall, the meaning of a yellow begonia is happy, and there are many occasions when this will make a wonderful gift.

White flowers symbolize innocence and purity, and are often spiritual. White begonia can also take on the meaning of peace and forgiveness. You may give this to show gratitude to a person, or to thank them for their efforts.

White begonias are frequentl in arrangements for people struggling with illness. These delicate blossoms show both hope for the future, and an understanding of current difficulties. 

Purple begonias are rare, but the colors range from bright and pinkish to a subtle shade that’s almost blue. A purple begonia is a sign of respect or gratitude.

Purple flowers typically symbolize respect and wisdom. Combined with the meaning of gratitude, a purple begonia can express your incredible respect for a person. 

Blue and purple begonias are unique, and with their astounding colors they really stand out from the crowd. People can use it to symbolize individuality, and those with an intriguing personality.

Red is the color of passion. Red begonias typically represent love and romance. The explosive bloom of the red begonia can represent a deep well of emotion. This is a gift for a serious relationship, or an expression of romantic passion.

Pink begonias are playful. They symbolize a younger love, but can also symbolize a gesture of frivolity. 

Begonias also have the meaning of warning, and this is true for most of the colors. If you wanted to indicate this older symbolism, you may choose a red or yellow begonia to show someone that they should exercise caution.

A pink begonia can potentially symbolize caution to someone who doesn’t take things seriously.

Meaningful Botanical Characteristics Of The Flower

The flowering part of the begonia can be incredibly showy, with bold colors and riotous petals. But it isn’t just the flower that displays some unusual patterning. It can be eye-catching and colorful, and they also come in some strange shapes. 

One of the reasons the begonia has become such a widespread species is the ease with which many can grow it. Begonias can be planted from seeds. But they also grow successfully from cuttings.

You can even start the cuttings in a glass of fresh water to grow the roots, before transplanting them to the soil. A gift of a begonia cutting can be a heartfelt gesture of thanks.

There are a massive number of cultivars and hybrids in the begonia genus, and some of them have wildly different characteristics. The showy flowers and attractive leaves have led to the creation of many begonia hybrids.

Another reason for the number of cultivars is that they hybridize even species from different continents.

One of the reasons we have so much symbolism surrounding the begonias is the diverse cultures in which it grows. Begonias occur in South and Central America, Africa, and even parts of Asia. They like warm and damp climates best. If growing at home, keep the soil moist, and plant in partial shade. 

Begonias also make fantastic houseplants, and are best in dappled shade. Mostly flowering in the summer, they bring the sunshine indoors.

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Special Occasions For The Begonia Flower

The bright variety of the begonias means there are many occasions when the flower makes a suitable gift. 

One of the best reasons to give begonias is as a “Thank You”. Begonias are an expression of gratitude, and can also be a sign of respect. Purple and yellow begonias particularly links with this symbolism.

Purple begonias can express thanks to a person you greatly respect. Yellow begonias are a symbol of joy, which is particularly appropriate when showing thanks.

White begonias are a peaceful flower. They’re a good choice of flower if you’re asking for forgiveness, or making an apology. But they also feel hopeful. Many can give white begonias to say congratulations, and associates with a pregnancy announcement, or a new birth.

Flowers are traditional anniversary gifts, and red and pink begonias are a joyful expression of love. Red is most appropriate for established relationships, and pink symbolizes new love and young love. Some species of begonia flower early in the year, and can make lovely gifts for Valentine’s Day.

The meaning of caution and warning isn’t quite so closely linked to the begonias anymore, but you might still give this flower as a warning. For example, if you were worried that a friend was acting in haste, or trusting the wrong person.

A vase of potted begonias can help to get your point across, while still offering hope.

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Flower Cultural Significance

Cultures often used the flower to express a warning, or even as a symbol of sorrow. Despite the cheerful blooms, these cultural connotations have caused many to overlook the begonias at times. 

In North Korea, the begonia has become a symbol of former leader Kim Jong-il, particularly the cultivar Kimjongilia. Japanese botanist Kamo Mototeru created this hybrid cultivar in honor of Kim Jong-il in 1988.

A bold red bloom, the Kimjongilia symbolizes wisdom, justice, loyalty, and as a gesture of friendship from Japan. The flower blooms in February. There’s also a song called Kimjongilia, written about the virtues of the flower. 

Begonias have become very popular with gardeners, leading to the creation of the American Begonia Society. Founded in 1932, the club has worldwide membership and is responsible for the registration of begonia cultivars. They also release a bi-monthly magazine called The Begonian.

In the past, they sometimes used the soft petals and leaves of begonias as a method for polishing swords. Perhaps this use contributed to the meaning of caution?

Flower Facts

There are over 2000 species in the genus Begonia. Within this, there’s an incredible amount of variety. Some begonias look almost nothing like other begonias!

The Begonia genus is part of the family Begoniaceae. There’s just one other genus in the family: the Hillebrandia. Endemic to the islands of Hawaii, Hillebrandia is made up of just a single species.

Begonias can be anywhere from 8 inches high to 2 feet tall, due to the massive species range. 

The American Begonia Society classifies the begonias into several groups. Among them are Cane begonia, shrub-like, and tuberous. 

Begonias may be popular plants for gardens, but they aren’t particularly good pollinators. If you want to plant it, try growing some bee-friendly plants alongside. Look for companion plants that bloom at a similar time, and attract plenty of pollinators.

Growing begonias from cuttings can be quite simple, but growing from seed is much more difficult. In fact, the seeds of the begonias are some of the smallest around.

Typically, begonia seeds are coated to become pelleted seeds, so they’re easier for the gardener to handle.

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Flower Uses

Begonias are attractive flowers, and they tend bring life to a garden. Because they’re hardy, many often used begonias in landscaping. An ornamental plant, it is a summer flower with vivid coloring and some showy characteristics.

Because of their height, color, and leaves, begonias are popular choices for hanging baskets. If you do choose to plant begonias this way, keep an eye on the light source. Begonias can burn when left in direct sunlight. 

Begonias are popular with gardeners who enjoy experimenting with cultivars and hybrids. Compared to other plants, hybridizing the begonia is relatively easy, leading many gardeners to attempt their own creations. 

Described as having a sour taste, people in some parts of the world eat begonias. But only eaten in small amounts, as large quantities are potentially toxic. Begonias contain oxalic acid. 

What Is The Symbolism Of Flower Tattoo?

There’s a wealth of beauty and color to the begonia, allowing you to create a unique design. These flowers are well suited to tattoos, because they have just the right balance of complexity and simplicity. A begonia tattoo can mean a great deal of things, with the meaning special to each person.

Begonias are often used as a symbol of gratitude and respect. A begonia tattoo can be a way to symbolize a person you hold in high esteem, and care deeply for. 

The symbolism of the begonia can seem dark at first. They’re associated with warning, and of being cautious. Some may stay away from this lovely flower because they see it as an omen of bad things.

But it represents so much more than that. With a variety of unique characteristics, it can be an expression of many positive emotions.

Final Thoughts

The symbolism of the begonia can seem dark at first. They have been associated with caution, and a warning that things may not be as they seem.

Some may stay away from this lovely flower because they see it as an omen of bad things. But begonia represents so much more than that. Begonia symbolizes respect, and giving thanks.

The modern meaning of the begonia is closely linked to gratitude and hope, making the begonia a gift for many special occasions. With a variety of unique characteristics, the beautiful begonia is an expression of positivity.

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