As sometimes happens, you can be part of a trend that you aren't aware of. Last winter I started becoming interested in the many different leaves of Begonias. A plant associated with my mother's generation, I started to see unusual ones here and there that were stunning. In June LaCombes flower boxes, in friends houses climbing to the ceiling, these were not my mother's varieties. They over flowed with abundance, they didn't need a lot of sun and each flowered in a different and sometimes crazy way.
When I would go to Skillins Greenhouse in the winter, they had cute little 2" plugs of a huge variety of rex begonias with different leaves and textures. I would buy one a week on my way home. A friend gave me a cutting of a huge gorgeous plant in her studio, a begonia! I started to pay attention and before I knew it I had a collection. They rooted in water, they divided easily and those leaves! Dark green, red, speckled, ridged, lime..every color of the foliage rainbow!
Varieties that I have thus far:
River Nile: gorgeous lime leaves with dark fringe
Rex: this variety has red speckled leaves
Escargot: Grey green and dark swirls on the leaves
Iron Cross: Lime crinkle leaves with burgandy tracing
Strawberry: An old fashioned begonia that has babies like a spider plant
Deco Checks: Red and speckled
Ginni: Dark green leaves with white spots, will get very tall, bright pink flowers
Erythrophylla: or sometimes called Beefsteak, with glossy dark leaves that are round.