There are over 1,500 species and over 10,000 hybrids of begonia in existence today. Talk about beaucoup (bow coo) begonia! New cultivars are added every year and 2009 was no exception. That year, Gryphon, a new variety of begonia hybridized by PanAmericanSeed, was introduced. So, what is a Gryphon begonia? Let’s learn more about how to grow a Gryphon begonia plants.
In mythology, a gryphon is a creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. Don’t worry, Gryphon begonias don’t literally look like that – that would just be weird. So why is this begonia being named after a gryphon? It is because this begonia embodies the same underlying qualities that the mythical creature possesses, namely its majestic beauty, strength and durability. Is your interest piqued?
Alternately known as Pegasus™ in some sectors, the Gryphon begonia (USDA hardiness zone 11-12) strikes a dramatic pose and adds a tropical flair to any shade garden or container planting. Gryphon begonia is prized mainly as a foliage plant because it seldom blooms – the appearance of bright pink flowers may only happen when grown under a day length of eleven hours or less.
This plant is universally described as having 10-inch (25 cm.) wide, thick, glossy deeply cut star- or maple-shaped leaves. Its mounds of leaves are variegated silver and green with a hint of maroon in the veins and a maroon underside. It reaches a height of 14-16 inches (36-41 cm.) and spans 16-18 inches (41-46 cm.) across.
And, as if this plant’s aesthetics weren’t enough to sell it, Gryphon begonia also boasts versatility as a “garden-to-house” plant, meaning it can easily transition from being an outdoor plant into an indoor houseplant and vice-versa. Care must be taken, however, to bring containers of this tender perennial inside before it is subjected to frost.
Let’s talk about Gryphon begonia care. Gryphon begonias have a reputation as an easy-to-care-for, low maintenance plant and can be grown from starter plants or seed.
For a garden planting, after the threat of frost has passed, it is advised to plant your nursery plants 18 inches (46 cm.) apart in a location that receives shade to part shade. The soil in this location should be characteristically rich and well draining.
Gryphon begonias have low water requirements and do not like to be over watered so once they are established, an occasional watering to keep the soil slightly moist should be sufficient. When growing Gryphon begonias, you may want to consider placing mulch around the root zone to retain moisture. Fertilizing is not necessary for Gryphon begonia care but, for an extra boost, an organic fertilizer can be applied every two weeks.
Gryphon begonias are said to thrive better and are even livelier in container plantings. It is often used as a thriller in the center of “spiller-thriller-filler” containers surrounded by smaller plants. However, it can thrill just as effectively in a solo planting. It is recommended, when growing Gryphon begonias, to plant them in a soilless mix comprised of peat moss and perlite or vermiculite.
Place the container, which should have adequate drainage, in a location that receives bright filtered light. Do not expose the container to direct sunlight. Water the Gryphon begonia only when the surface of the potting mix feels dry to the touch.
Virtues: We love ‘Gryphon’ begonia for its large, palmate, rich green foliage that’s splashed lavishly in silver. The undersides of the bulky leaves and the slender stems are an eye-catching deep orange-red hue.
Common name: ‘Gryphon’ begonia
Botanical name:Begonia xhybrida ‘Gryphon’
Flowers: ‘Gryphon’ begonia seldom blooms. Its flowers are small and white to blush in color. This lovely plant is grown for its alluring foliage.
Foliage: Enormous, maple-like dark green leaves streaked in a striking silver top red-orange stems.
Habit: With an upright, mounded habit, these majestic, fast-growing plants typically grow 12 to 16 inches in height with a 16- to 18-inch spread.
Season: When grown outdoors in garden beds, ‘Gryphon’ begonias will fill your garden with heaps of summer interest. However, these magnificent plants thrive when grown in containers indoors and outdoors, and can supply your home with year-round color if they’re grown as a houseplant.
Origin: First introduced by PanAmericanSeed.
How to grow Gryphon begonia: These low-maintenance plants are successful in most well-drained soils with minimal watering. They can be fed with an organic fertilizer every two weeks, however it is not necessary. They do not do well when exposed to direct sunlight and need full to part shade in order to prosper. They can be grown in garden beds but are said to be livelier when grown in containers.
|Plant Habit:||Herb/Forb |
|Life cycle:||Perennial |
|Sun Requirements:||Partial or Dappled Shade |
Partial Shade to Full Shade
|Minimum cold hardiness:||Zone 10a -1.1 °C (30 °F) to +1.7 °C (35 °F) |
|Maximum recommended zone:||Zone 11 |
|Plant Height :||12-18 inches|
|Plant Spread :||12-24 inches|
|Flower Time:||Summer |
Late summer or early fall
|Uses:||Suitable as Annual |
|Wildlife Attractant:||Bees |
|Propagation: Other methods:||Cuttings: Stem |
|Containers:||Suitable for hanging baskets |
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Begonia 'Gryphon' is a fast growing hybrid Begonia that can attain heights of 36". It has tropical appearing, large deeply lobed leaves with silver veining. This is an easy to grow, drought tolerant plant that requires bright shade.
It's the only Begonia I couldn't kill in my less than perfect (for Begonias) conditions. I'm impressed how strong and tough she is, not to mention vigorous and showy. Easily can make a large specimen plant if given enough space.
Gryphon Begonia's attractive deeply cut lobed palmate leaves remain silver in color with distinctive grayish green veins throughout the year. It features dainty clusters of shell pink orchid-like flowers with creamy white overtones at the ends of the stems from late summer to mid fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.
Gryphon Begonia is an herbaceous annual with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.
This is a high maintenance plant that will require regular care and upkeep, and usually looks its best without pruning, although it will tolerate pruning. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration
Gryphon Begonia is recommended for the following landscape applications
Gryphon Begonia will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 24 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 18 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. Although it's not a true annual, this plant can be expected to behave as an annual in our climate if left outdoors over the winter, usually needing replacement the following year. As such, gardeners should take into consideration that it will perform differently than it would in its native habitat.
This plant does best in partial shade to shade. It requires an evenly moist well-drained soil for optimal growth, but will die in standing water. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone over the growing season to conserve soil moisture. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid. It can be propagated by cuttings however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.
Gryphon Begonia is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor containers and hanging baskets. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.