The spectacular Begonia Boliviensis is a sight to behold with its fiery reddish-orange blooms held among large lush green leaves. This alluring species is also known as ‘Santa Cruz’ and ‘Begonia Bonfire.’
By adding the Begonia Boliviensis plant to your houseplants collection, you will be rewarded with the most beautiful notes of color throughout summer and spring.
The award-winning Begonia Bonfire is a heat and drought tolerant plant. It grows exceptionally well in rich, moist soils and when placed in partial shade.
It is not a fussy plant and has average watering needs. It likes being fed with nitrogenous feeds and placed in moderate temperatures.
The perennial Begonia Boliviensis arises from the Begoniaceae family. The Begonias are the fifth largest genus of flowering plants with over 1700 species.
They are native to the lands of South and Central America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
The Begonia Boliviensis plant’s flowers grow in an elegant cascade-like pattern of vivid elongated flowers.
Its beautiful serrated green leaves provide a striking contrast against the fiery-red flowers, making the plant an excellent houseplant choice.
Begonia Boliviensis Plant Care Instructions
The Begonia Boliviensis plant loves loamy, rich, well-draining soils. An ideal choice would be a soil-less mix that is specifically formulated for indoor plants.
Such soils mostly contain peat moss and vermiculite or perlite and provide an excellent medium for the Bonfire plant to grow in. I would recommend you not to use amendments like compost or garden soil.
The perennial Begonia Boliviensis plant likes slightly acidic soil (6.1 to 6.5) to neutral (6.6 to 7.5). An admirable characteristic of this plant is that it tolerates a wide range of soil pH and can even grow in faintly alkaline soils.
However, for the best growth, you should use acidic to neutral soils that are moist and well-draining.
Most Begonia varieties’ soils’, including Begonia Boliviensis,’ need to be consistently watered. However, too much water can cause water-logging of the stems. Therefore, water when your Begonia Boliviensis plant’s soil seems somewhat dry.
Please only allow the top few inches of the soil to dry out, not the entire plant. Drying out the plant excessively can lead to significant damage.
The Begonia Boliviensis plant likes being watered often; however, do not overwater your plant as it may cause root-rot and fungal infections.
To determine when to water the Begonia Boliviensis plant, check its soil. If the top 1 to 2 inches seem dry to you, water the plant. However, if the soil seems sufficiently moist and watered, give the plant some more time till you water it.
I suggest you maintain a balance between the two extremes of under-watering and overwatering and add water only when necessary. Water plays a massive role in the healthy development of a plant; therefore, avoiding the intense ends of under and overwatering is essential.
Please use lukewarm water with low chlorine content for watering. This will prevent the Begonia Boliviensis plant from temperature shock and toxicity.
If you have access to chlorinated water only, fill a bucket with an adequate amount of water and let it sit for 24 hours. After most of the chlorine has escaped, use it to water your plant.
The colorful Begonia Boliviensis plant enjoys dappled bright sunlight. Exposing it to direct harsh rays of the sun can lead to leaf-scorching. In terms of light, the protective indoors can be a good choice for placing your Begonia Boliviensis plant.
If you are growing the beautiful Begonia Boliviensis plant indoors, put it where indirect, filtered light hits it. Usually, southwest facing windows offer the best sunlight for such light-sensitive plants.
You can also place your Begonia Bonfire just inside your balcony where partial-sun comes into contact with it.
However, if you intend to grow it as an outdoor plant, patios can be a great choice. Please just make sure that it remains in partial-sun always.
Alternatively, you can grow your Begonia Boliviensis plant in artificial growing lights.
The Begonia Boliviensis is a tuberous species originating from the cliff-dwelling genera. It is a particularly water and cold-sensitive plant, and so, requires almost 14 hours of light and moderate temperatures.
After the Begonia Boliviensis plant’s roots develop, please keep it in night temperatures of 56 to 60 Fahrenheit (14 to 16 Celsius) and day temperatures of 65 to 75 Fahrenheit (18 to 24 Celsius).
Towards the end of the growing season, lower the temperature further to 56 to 60 Fahrenheit throughout the day.
Fortunately, the Begonia Boliviensis plant’s desired temperature range is not much of an issue as most households already fall within this range.
However, please ensure that you keep your Begonia Bonfire plant away from direct drafts of winds, which can come in from open windows, air conditioners, heaters, etc.
Please remember that the Begonia Beliviensis is a temperature-sensitive species; therefore, place it in its preferred temperatures for the ideal results.
Undoubtedly, you will be rewarded with beautiful colorful reddish-orange flowers for your effort.
The Begonia Boliviensis plant is a humidity-loving species. Thus, its desired humidity level is considerably high.
The perennial Begonia Boliviensis plant thrives at a humidity level of 85 to 95 %, which is pretty high for average households that have a humidity level of approximately 50 to 60%.
However, luckily, there are several ways you can maintain the humidity levels for your precious Boliviensis plant.
If you have other houseplants, simply put them together in one room for a greater humidity level. Similarly, you can mist your Begonia Boliviensis plant’s surroundings (no direct contact) for it to absorb the moisture from the environment.
You can also use a humidifier and maintain the desired humidity level for your Begonia Boliviensis plant.
Another easy way is to place your Boliviensis plant in a tray filled with water and pebbles. However, ensure that the plant does not directly come into contact with the water.
If you wish to see bright, cheerful blooms hanging from your Begonia Boliviensis plant, you will have to work for it. The Boliviensis plant likes to be well-fed with fertilizers that are high in nitrogen for avid growth.
You can use a good-quality 1:1:1 fertilizer that is specially manufactured for Begonias. Use a regular powder fertilizer or diluted fertilizer about every three weeks during the growing season of summer and spring for optimal growth.
However, I recommend that you lessen the fertilizer application frequency in the late autumn season to once a month. When the winter arrives, cease fertilizing the plant altogether because the Begonia Boliviensis plant does not actively grow in the colder seasons.
Please do not starve your plant nor over-fertilize it. The former will significantly slow down the Begonia Boliviensis plant’s growth, and the latter will cause nutrient-toxicity. Both are equally dangerous.
I suggest you follow the same feeding schedule the following spring.
Although the Begonia Boliviensis plant has considerably large blooms and leaves, fortunately, it does not require frequent repotting.
I suggest you repot your Begonia Boliviensis plant approximately every two years to a larger container than the previous one. Please ensure that the container you choose has good drainage and plenty of space for the roots to grow in. If the plant is root-bound, its growth rate will slow down significantly.
Please ensure that the Begonia Boliviensis plant’s new potting mix is moist and does not hold too much water. A suggestion is to opt for a fibrous compost mix or a loamy potting soil.
Please remember that the container should allow good aeration and not restrict the plant’s root development.
The Begonia Boliviensis plant, with its vivid fiery red blooms against lush green leaves, looks beautiful when placed in baskets and containers.
You can either hang the plant from a basket and place it in your balcony or simply pot it into a fancy dark-colored container for the full effect of its colorful features.
The vibrant Begonia Boliviensis plant is certainly pleasing to look at; however, hazardous growth or infected dull leaves can make it look unattractive.
In both the conditions, pruning the Boliviensis plant becomes necessary. For pruning, take a pair of pruning scissors or shears and cut down a few dull-colored leaves. However, be careful not to over-prune or damage the plant’s other healthy vines.
Similarly, if a leaf seems to be infected with fungal disease or infection, get rid of it by cutting it off the plant. This will minimize the spread of infection to other leaves or vines.
Also, please ensure that you use clean and germ-free gardening equipment on your plants only.
The flame-like Begonias Bonfire plant grows best from stem cuttings, which root quickly when kept under partially-shaded and humid conditions.
The cuttings may need a little monitoring once potted; however, they grow faster and ideally when treated with rooting hormone powder before planting.
Stem Cuttings Method
For this, you will need a healthy Begonia Boliviensis plant, some water, fertilizer, rooting powder, a pair of scissors, and a potting container. I suggest you water the Begonia Boliviensis parent plant the night before. This will hydrate the plant‘s stems and foliage. Now, follow the steps below:
- Fill a 4-inch container with an equal mix of perlite and milled coir or peat. Add some water, moisten it thoroughly, and then wait for about half an hour for the excess water to drain out of the pot.
- Select a 4 to 6-inch long stem cutting. Preferably, it should be with a diameter of less than 1/4 inch with no flowers. Ensure that you do not choose a damaged or unhealthy stem.
- Cut the chosen stem cutting about 1/8 inch below a pair of leaves with clean scissors.
- Please remove all the leaves that are present along the lower half of the stem-cutting. Also, pull off any flowers or buds.
- Now, dip the severed end of the stem-cutting into rooting powder/hormone. Gently blow on the immersed end to get rid of the excess powder.
- Make a hole in the prepared potting mix and ensure that it is deep enough to hold the lower half of the stem-cutting.
- Next, put the hormone-coated Begonia Boliviensis plant’s end into the planting hole. Carefully push the potting mixture around the stem to hold the cutting firmly. Add some water around the base to further upright and settle the prepared potting mix.
- Place your potted stem-cutting into bright-indirect sunlight. You can place it next to a lightly-shaded window or a partially-covered outdoor patio.
- Please mist the stem-cutting every day for sufficient hydration. Keep the soil moist; however, avoid over-watering as the young Begonia Boliviensis plant will easily rot.
Check if the plant has developed roots after approximately two weeks by lightly tugging on the stem’s base. Notice if the cutting has anchored itself to the potting mixture by roots. Transfer it into a 6-inch pot filled with more potting soil after two more weeks.
The Begonia Boliviensis plant owes its popularity to its beautiful scarlet fiery-red blooms. It makes a striking and eye-catching combination with its arrow-shaped, neatly-serrated green foliage.
The flowers generally sprout in pairs or threes on short stems and are composed of four-pointed segments. The leaves have an elongated appearance giving the plant an elegant and classy look.
The Begonia Boliviensis plant has a moderate growth rate when placed in ideal conditions. It grows to a height of about 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 centimeters) and has a spread of about 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 centimeters).
For the Begonia Boliviensis plant to produce its characteristic reddish-orange blooms and somewhat pointy green leaves, it is essential to place it in its favorable environment. Failure to do so will result in disorganized or slow growth.
Common Problems for Begonia Boliviensis
One of the most common problems for Begonia Boliviensis plants is Powdery Mildew. It is a fungal infection that appears when a plant is exposed to high humidity or excessively dry conditions for an extended period.
It begins as a white or ash-grey film over the Boliviensis plant’s leaves’ upper and lower surfaces and mostly affects the older foliage.
Powdery mildew tends to limit new growth and disrupts the plant’s arrangement overall. It may also lead to blackening of the leaves. Furthermore, due to the severity of infection, the flower buds also do not open.
Luckily, the solution to this problem is quite easy; spray your Begonia Boliviensis plant often with insecticidal spray or wash the Bonfire plant’s leaves with insecticidal soap to get rid of the infection.
A common attacker of the Begonia Bolivinsis plant is aphids. They often appear as clusters on the Bolivinsis plant’s young shoots and flower buds or underneath its aged foliage. When infested by aphids, the leaves tend to twist upon themselves or bend at unusual angles.
Aphids can also restrict new growth, slowing it down considerably. To make things worse, they may also produce a honeydew substance, which provides the ideal environment for sooty mold fungus to thrive upon.
This can cause greater damage to the Boliviensis plant.
To eliminate aphids, an immediate fix is to use insecticidal spray or soap. Ensure that you thoroughly mist/wash your plant with it to get rid of them entirely.
Whiteflies affect several plants, including the Begonias. They are insects that can continuously appear and disrupt a healthy plant.
To check if your Begonia Boliviensis plant has been infested with whiteflies, give your plant a fine shake and wait for a few seconds. If the whiteflies are hiding in it, they will start swarming in the air.
They often reside in the leaves’ bottom area. Thus, it may be hard for you to spot them initially, which is usually why by the time you notice a problem, significant damage has already been done.
The whiteflies feed on the plant’s nutrients and weaken the plant, making it more susceptible to other diseases. They may also leave behind honeydew, attracting other insects to the plant.
Use insecticidal spray or soap to get rid of them.
Snails and Slugs
A common issue for Begonia Boliviensis plant owners is snails and slugs. This problem does not occur as frequently as others; however, the plant is susceptible to occasional attacks.
The snails and slugs are often active on wet and humid nights. They mostly feed on decaying plant leaves and stems.
To check if these insects have infected your plant, look for silvery trails that appear as gold dust on your plant. If you see any such trails, your plant has most probably been attacked by snails and slugs.
You might also notice a few holes in your Bonfire plant’s leaves, and its baby-leaves chewed off at the base.
To clear off the snails and slugs, remove any rocks, pipes, pots, or any similar decorations you have placed near your plant.
The snails may use these for shelter during the daylight.
Tips for Growing Begonia Boliviensis
- Preferably keep your plant in horizontal airflow to minimize the occurrence of diseases.
- Pinch your plant every one week after propagation to about three nodes, but do not let it develop a fifth node as it may lead to dormancy.
- Place your plant in bright dappled sunlight.
- Water it only when needed.
- Grow in moist, well-draining soil.
Frequently Asked Questions about Begonia Boliviensis
How do you care for Begonia Boliviensis?
Please place it in well-lit and partially shaded areas and water only when needed. Also, keep your plant sufficiently fertilized and protect it from temperature extremes.
Are Begonia Boliviensis plants toxic?
The Begonia Boliviensis plants can be highly toxic to animals. Therefore, keep them away from pets and infants.
How often do Begonia Boliviensis plants bloom?
They bloom through late spring to fall.
For how long does a Begonia Boliviensis live?
It usually lives for 2 to 3 years.
The Begonia Boliviensis plants are a beautiful species with unique and colorful blooms and foliage. They are easy to care for and can light up the dullest rooms with their fiery red blooms.
However, they are poisonous to animals; therefore, ensure that you keep them away from the reach of babies and animals.
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