Begonia grandis , or hardy begonia, is one of my favorite perennials. Last fall when a gardener friend offered to give me a few plants from her garden, I instantly said yes! I had known about Begonia grandis for awhile but hadn't gotten around to planting it in my garden. Now, a year later, the plants are filling in nicely around the base of my Limelight hydrangea.
Hardy begonia is listed as a Plant of Merit with 4.5 stars out of 5 on the Missouri Botanical Garden's website (mobot.org). According to mobot's website, the hardy begonia is hardy to Zone 6 however I have seen it listed in other resources as hardy to Zone 5. It survived winter in my Zone 5 garden and I have witnessed it surviving year after year in a client's garden that is also Zone 5.
Hardy begonia can get 1-2 feet tall and has pink blooms from July to October. My favorite characteristic though, is the pronounced red veining on the underside of the heart-shaped foliage. Like the annual begonia, hardy begonia performs best in part to full shade and in average to moist soils. It mixes well in a woodland garden setting with plants such as hostas and ferns. The plants can self-seed but not aggressively. It's native range is from Malaysia to China and Japan.