BegoniaThis popular genus offers a wide array of flower and foliage colors. The leaf petioles of one species, Begonia glabra, are used by indigenous peoples of South America, including Ecuador and French Guyana, to treat stomach aches. Crushed leaves have been used to soothe the gums of teething babies. Rex, angel wing and tuberous begonias all make excellent houseplants and, if properly maintained, will bloom almost all year long.
In general, begonias prefer moderate to bright light and adequate moisture (be careful not to overwater). Keep plants away from drafts. Try Rex begonias such as 'Escargot' or 'Raspberry Crush' for foliage interest and angel-wing begonias such as 'Looking Glass' for both foliage and flowers. Zones 10 to 12, depending on cultivar.