This plant starts growing so late in the year – producing its first shoots in late June -that there is always an anxious period of  wondering if it has survived the winter. In fact, as long as it is grown in dry soil it is extremely hardy.  The leaf is olive green on top and burgundy underneath – an unlikely combination that becomes even more striking when the soft-pink flowers appear.  The plant appears to self-seed but I think that it spreads most efficiently by the little bulbils that form in the leaf axils.  They drop to the ground as the foliage dies back.

It grows best in a dry, shady situation and will grow to about 30cm (1ft) tall

begonia claret jug.small