It’s no secret that Begonias make ideal houseplants. They’re not difficult to care for and are highly-versatile.
One Begonia species that I am particularly fond of, is the Begonia bogneri. Its care requires temperatures between 50° to 86°F (10° to 30°C) and well-draining soil that is rich in humus. Indirect sunlight to partial shade. Water your Begonia bogneri when the soil is about to dry out. Keep humidity above 60% and use a diluted fertilizer about once a month.
Bogneri was discovered by Josef Bogner, a plant inspector of the Munich Botanical Garden in Madagascar in 1969 according to the American Begonia Society.
Whether you prefer to place them in a hanging basket or grow them in pots, they’re sure to add a wow factor to any space.
With its stringy leaves and radiant flowers, this plant will stand out regardless of where it’s placed.
If you’re looking to make this a part of your houseplant collection, here is a comprehensive guide on how to care for Begonia bogneri.
- 1 Begonia Bogneri Plant Care Guide
- 2 Common Problems with Begonia bogneri
- 3 Tips to Keep Begonia bogneri Problem-Free
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions about Begonia bogneri
- 5 Conclusion
Begonia Bogneri Plant Care Guide
Any soil that’s rich in humus and drains well is suitable for growing Begonia bogneri. Proper drainage is a particularly important trait as it allows excess water to be drained but still retains a bit of moisture. The substrate or potting mix you use should also provide good aeration.
I like to plant my bogneri in a blend of peat moss and perlite. The peat moss provides an excellent medium for growth as it only releases moisture and nutrients on an as-needed basis.
Perlite is another great addition that helps to improve this substrate’s drainage.
Like most tuberous Begonias, the bogneri requires partial shade and indirect sunlight to grow. Its leaves are delicate, so they should never be exposed to direct sunlight.
If subjected to such intense light, they will get scorched, which will in turn cause the leaf edges to dry and turn a brown color.
To avoid this, place your plant a couple of feet away from a window. If placing directly on a windowsill, then place it behind sheer curtains to avoid direct exposure.
In the event that you don’t have a suitable location near a window, you can use artificial light fixtures as a substitute.
I have found that fluorescent grow lights work particularly well for my bogneri. Here are some advantages of using these lights:
- Emit little amounts of heat, which makes them safe to be set up as close to the plant as possible
- Provide the right intensity of light, which is ideal to support the growth of foliage and stems
- They have no glare, meaning they are friendly to the eyes. This is a crucial aspect if you plan to set it up in a public area or a room that is used frequently such as the living room
- Versatile; they offer a lot of flexibility in that they can be set up horizontally or vertically
The amount and frequency of watering will depend on the area where you are growing your Begonia bogneri. I like to grow mine indoors, so I can enjoy its aesthetic beauty. As such, I don’t need to water it too often; only when the soil dries out.
Conversely, if you’re growing your plant outdoors, you will likely need to water a little more often. But this will depend on the weather.
If it’s too sunny, it means the potting medium dries out quickly; hence the need to water regularly.
As a highly-adaptable plant, the Begonia bogneri can also be kept in sealed containers. This is an excellent option for gardening enthusiasts, who travel often. In such an instance, you only need to water your plant a couple of times in a year.
In case water molecules condense inside the sealed jar after watering, it means you’ve added too much water.
You will have to act fast to prevent the root tuber from rotting. So, to get rid of the excess water, place paper towels at the top of the potting mix to absorb it.
You can also leave the container open for a short while to facilitate quicker drying.
For optimal growth, you want to maintain a temperature of 50° to 86°F (10° to 30°C) during the day, and 12° to 18°C (54° to 64°F) at night. It’s crucial that you keep an eye on temperature changes; use a thermostat to check this metric from time to time.
Ensure that you’ve not placed your Begonia in an area that’s exposed to extremities. Extreme temperature changes can cause the foliage and flower buds to start dropping.
The Begonia bogneri requires a higher humidity level than what an average air-conditioned home offers.
To be specific, you should maintain no less than 60% humidity. Considering the relative humidity in most homes ranges between 40 and 50%, keeping this plant moist can be a bit of a challenge.
So what I usually do is to place my bogneri in strategic locations, whenever the indoor air gets too dry (for instance, in winter). These include areas such as the bathroom or kitchen.
If you prefer to keep your plant in the living room, then consider placing it near a saucer filled with water. This helps to keep the air around it moist as the water gradually evaporates.
Important to note though is that you should never set your pot directly in a water-filled saucer. Doing so can cause its tubers to become too wet and end up rotting.
I also wouldn’t recommend misting. While this practice can indeed increase moisture in the air, it makes your plant susceptible to powdery mildew, a fungal infection that mainly affects Begonias.
This Begonia species is not a heavy feeder, so avoid going overboard with the fertilizer application. Do not overfeed and don’t apply too frequently either, as this can lead to fertilizer burn.
When it comes to fertilizer needs, Begonia bogneri requires a little bit of every nutrient. So in addition to the usual NPK (nitrogen – phosphorus – potassium) macronutrients, look for a fertilizer with a few micronutrients as well. The micronutrients include calcium, magnesium, and copper.
For my bogneri, I usually apply a liquid fertilizer as it’s easier to work with. Before application, I like to dilute the fertilizer in the ratio of three parts water to one part fertilizer. This way, it’s not too strong for my delicate plant.
For the same reason, I prefer to apply the fertilizer on the plant’s base as opposed to misting directly on the leaves.
I fertilize my Begonia bogneri about once a month is Spring and Summer and reduce to every 6-8 weeks in autumn and winter.
If you are lucky enough to own this plant, then consider propagating it, and doing so in the right way.
To achieve this, simply take cuttings of whole sections of the leaves. Next, place them in a suitable rooting medium.
I like using a potting mix containing four parts sphagnum to one part vermiculite. The latter ingredient helps to improve drainage, thus, prevent rotting which can be caused by a soggy medium.
After propagating, you should notice root development in the next three to four weeks. Within two months, you will have baby plantlets, which are ready to move to pots, containers, or an outdoor garden.
Size-wise, a healthy bogneri grows to about 7 cm in height and 5 cm in width. Also, it’s a slow-growing plant so plant it early if you want it to bloom by spring or summer.
The Begonia bogneri doesn’t need to be repotted too often. The recommended frequency is once every two years. Repotting this plant confers several benefits including:
- Providing more room for growth
Improving air circulation to the root system
Preventing roots from becoming bound, as this would impede any further growth
Also important to point out is the ideal size of container for repotting. The key here is to keep it small and simple.
If you use an overly big container, the potting mix will end up retaining water for too long, and this can cause root-associated diseases.
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Few things make me happier than rare plants blossoming in December, I tell you. These tiny begonia blossoms are so precious! 💚🌱🌸🌱💚 Also this little darling need a bigger home. Just like we do. 🏠 #begoniabogneri #begonia #begoniaflower #tropicalplants #greenhouse #crazyplantlady #växtgäris #plantlover #plantlove
Common Problems with Begonia bogneri
The biggest issue with the Begonia bogneri entails leggy growth. If you’re not providing your plant with sufficient amounts of light, it will start growing towards the light source; hence, become leggy.
If you notice this problem with your plant, simply prune off the leggy section. Then, start providing adequate amounts so it can grow upright as it should.
Leaves turning color
Another problem you’re likely to encounter with this species involves scorched leaves. Being a shade-loving plant, the bogneri’s leaves can get damaged quickly if exposed to intense sunlight.
You may also notice the needle-like leaves turning a shade of brown. Often, this indicates that you have added too much water.
If over-watering is not the cause, the other likely culprit is temperature. Specifically, high temperatures can also cause the leaves to turn color.
Pythium root rot
If the potting medium or garden where you are growing your bogneri lacks proper drainage, it can lead to Pythium root rot.
On the same note, bogneris which are planted in well-draining areas that receive heavy downpours are also susceptible to this disease.
To know whether your Begonia is affected by Pythium root rot, look for orange or yellow patches that form in irregular patterns.
Using a well-draining potting mix is the key to preventing this condition.
Another common disease that affects the Begonia bogneri is powdery mildew. Caused by the Odium begoniae fungi, it causes whitish, thread-like growths to form on top of leaves. These growths can also develop on its stems and flowers.
The worst thing about this disease is that it spreads very easily. If it’s even a little windy, the powdery growths will be carried from one plant to another.
To avoid an infestation, ensure there’s ample space between all your indoor and outdoor plants.
Furthermore, get rid of any diseases leaves, stems or flowers as soon as you notice them. If the disease is at the early stage- where you can see a powdery mildew- water the plant to prevent spread.
Insects that suck sap are problematic for Begonias, and the bogneri is no exception. The most common of these pests include aphids, whiteflies, and thrips.
With all of these pests, the most effective and simple homemade solution is insecticidal soap. To make my insecticidal soap, I add one tablespoon of soap to a gallon of water. You can reduce the amount of soap if you are using less water.
And, if you notice any damage on the leaves, consider diluting your homemade insecticide a little more (by increasing the ratio of water).
I also like to incorporate about two tablespoons of cooking oil, to help the treatment stick on the plant.
Tips to Keep Begonia bogneri Problem-Free
Is this your first time to grow the Begonia bogneri? Well, there are a couple of things you can do to ensure it stays alive. These include:
- Keeping it in a partially-shaded spot
- Allowing it to dry between watering sessions
- Maintaining the right temperature, that is, 10°- 30°C (50° – 86°F) during daytime and 12° – 18°C (54° – 64°F) at nighttime
- Providing a humid environment; should be 60% or more
- Using a properly-draining potting mix to prevent tuber rot
Frequently Asked Questions about Begonia bogneri
Does Begonia bogneri like full sun?
No, on the contrary, it thrives in partial shade. While it requires light to grow healthily, too much sun can scorch it. So consider exposing it to the morning sunlight, which is not too intense, for 4 to 6 hours. If you prefer to grow your plant outdoors, be sure to place it in a spot that’s either shaded or receives filtered sunlight.
How can I encourage my Begonia bogneri to bloom again?
The Begonia bogneri is considered a temporary houseplant because it’s not easy to grow in the following season. However, there are a few measures you can take to ensure it blooms again in the following year.
Once it begins to flower, reduce the amount and frequency of watering. This way, the plant will be just slightly moist, but not overly dry.
Next, place it in an area that doesn’t receive too much light. Within one and a half to two months, the plant will start dying back, meaning its leaves will drop but its root system will remain solid.
Trim off any remaining foliage and leave 3-inch stems. When the new growth starts developing, remove these stems from the original plant and plant them in a new pot with a fresh mix.
Discovered in Madagascar, Begonia bogneri is one of my favorite houseplants for a couple of reasons.
For starters, it looks stunning! Its uniquely-shaped foliage and vibrant flowers are a beauty to hold. It’s also a low-maintenance plant.
If you get the conditions right- soil, watering, light and humidity- you are on your way to creating an incredibly beautiful space with this plant.