Begonia Dregei is a remarkable herbaceous, shade-loving, and summer-blooming plant that makes an excellent indoor pot display. It is an evergreen, attractive plant that has an upright growth habit and grows conveniently through either seeds or cuttings.
Good care of a plant is vital for the successful growth of the plant. Begonia Dregei requires an average amount of water. Neither overwater it nor underwater. The soil of Begonia Dregei should not be soggy but moist. Provide the plant bright filtered light but never place it in direct sunlight.
It will bloom from mid-summer to winter for a prolonged period. It is an easy to grow pot plant which is mostly pollinated by bees.
Begonia Dregei gets its name from J.F. Drège (1794-1881), a German horticultural and plant enthusiast who found it close to Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. It belongs to the Begoniaceae family and is known by various names, such as Maple-Leaved Begonia, Idula, Dwarf Wild Begonia.
Begonia Dregei’s leaves are slightly serrated and green on top and red beneath. They have two big and two minor tepals in the middle, along with a stamens cluster or a curled pistil, which are bright yellow.
The stem is light green to reddish-green or grey-brown. The leaves are tiny with a blade sometimes with purplish or reddish veins and borders. In winter, when it becomes leafless, the elegance of its swollen and yellow stem is noticeable.
Begoniaceae family occurs in tropical and subtropical regions. These species are present in nature in small and isolated groups, and they effectively hybridize with each other. Begonia Dregei is indigenous to Southern Africa.
This species grows in woodland, on rugged, moss-covered cliffs and steep banks. It is classified endangered in habitat but well developed in cultivation.
- 1 Basic Plant Care for Begonia Dregei
- 2 Common Problems for Begonia Dregei
- 3 Tips for Growing Begonia Dregei
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions about Begonia Dregei
- 5 Conclusion
Basic Plant Care for Begonia Dregei
In order to grow a thriving plant, the soil must contain the right amount of ingredients. Not having proper and fertile soil can affect the growth rate of your plant.
For the Begonia plant, the soil should be moist but not too wet or soggy. If you feel the soil is too dry on touching, the plant requires more water. Whereas if it is wet when touched, the plant received more water than needed.
Put the Begonia Dregei plant outdoor in well-drained, neutral, or acidic soil. Make sure the soil is humus-rich with nutrients. A sandy, loamy, or clayey type of soil will work best.
Create a regular watering schedule for your Begonia Dregei. Before you rewater the plant, let the top few inches of the soil layer get dry.
Giving extra water to the plant can cause root rot, and this results in the death of Begonia plants. Always water the plant in a sink or bowl so the excess water can be easily drained out.
It is a fast-growing plant but does not require much water as compared to other houseplants. If you are a resident in a dry climate, you may have to water it more. Use the bottom watering method to water the Begonia Dregei when the soil has dried out.
When the rest period in winter arrives, give the Begonia Dregei just the right amount of water to prevent the soil mixture from drying out. Reduce the amount of water as the growth of the plant slows down.
For these plants, use lukewarm water. Don’t water the leaves and flowers unnecessarily, do it only for misting once in a while.
Begonia Dregei requires bright filtered light all year round. It can be easily grown under partial shade. Plants grown on a window ledge under sunlight perform best when faced south in winter and east in summer.
Although shaded by hot sunlight, they do need the sun to flower best. Outdoors, it is possible to have morning sun or lightly filtered light using a shade cloth. If the leaves tend to be scorched, shift your plant to a shadier location.
Avoid putting the plant in a heavily shaded spot because otherwise, this flowering Begonia grows more leaves than blooms. If there is no proper light, the germination of the plant is imperfect and irregular. Inadequate light may also result in zero initial growth.
I prefer to use a fluorescent lamp to have better light control. You can set your lamp on a timer, so your plant always has plenty of light for healthy growth.
During the active growth period of Begonia Dregei, average room temperature will work well. Place pots on trays of moist pebbles in temperatures above 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 ° C).
It is preferred to keep these semi-dormant plants at a temperature of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 ° C) throughout the winter. These plants start to dry up at low temperatures, so bring them into the house when the temperature begins to fall below the minimum.
As a thumb rule, the temperature for Begonia Dregei must be around 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit but never under 50 degrees Fahrenheit or over 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Begonia Dregei requires a moderately humid environment. The air humidity should be around 60-80% during the day and 80-100% at night.
This Begonia species require a high humidity level, so to increase the indoor humidity, you can keep the pot into a pebble tray or saucer. Fill the tray with water, and be sure about putting the pot on pebbles and not into the water.
Another method to increase the humidity is by using a humidifier. You can also keep Begonia Dregei in your bathroom or kitchen because the moisture level is high in these two places.
Never place the plant near the heat sources as this can cause temperature shock.
During the active growth period, fertilize your Begonias with a controlled liquid fertilizer throughout the summer. Regular fertilization during the growing season will, of course, promote better bloom, particularly for potted plants.
Avoid applying the fertilizer directly onto the foliage as the direct contact with strong fertilizer can damage the stem and leaves of your plant.
Apply liquid houseplant fertilizer according to the instructions on the label. But I generally fertilize my Begonia every two weeks.
The Begonia Dregei is preferred to be grown in a shallow pot. But every spring, move your Begonia Dregei to one larger size pot.
Use either a peat-based mixture or a combination of equal portions of a soil-based mixture with rough leaf mold. Sprinkle some mixture mentioned earlier around its tuber and roots when repotting, then nimbly press the soil to settle the mixture.
The tuberous swelling should be kept at an equal level of the mix when you repot it.
You can easily prune your plant by cutting its unwanted and dead blooms. To save the plant from losing its energy, trim the deadhead.
Once a month, squeeze the stem to get rid of dead parts and encourage the healthy growth of Begonia Dregei.
Begonia Dregei plants are typically propagated in the late spring or summer from 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) long tip cuttings of new shoots.
- Firstly trim the cutting below the leaf. Dip it in a rooting hormone powder to help it root faster.
- Then plant it in a small pot that contains equal parts of the moistened potting mixture.
- Next, put the pot in a plastic bag or propagating case and allow it to grow in bright filtered light.
- When the rooting occurs, treat the rooted cutting as a mature Begonia Dregei. Transfer it to the prescribed mixture for mature plants only when it grows to a height of 6 inches.
- Seeds can also be used to grow Begonia Dregei. The new seedlings quickly develop the swollen base. The seeds should not be buried when sowing, as they are very tiny. The best time to sow seed is in early spring or summer.
- Mix the seeds with a small amount of sand before you sow them.
- Seed trays are sown in any standard germination medium—preferably equal ratios of peat and perlite or vermiculite and perlite.
- A light mist spray on the surface will adequately settle the seeds.
- Keep your tray in a moist and warm environment but not under direct sunlight.
- Transfer the young plant into a small pot when you see the first few small leaves.
- You can use the potting mixture previously discussed in the soil section.
The blooming season is early summer or late spring. The inflorescence is found in the upper axils of the leaves. The flowers are white or pink in color with yellow pistils or the stamens which are dangling.
The male and female flower of Begonia Dregei occurs individually but on the same plant. Male flowers are generated by two tepals that are white, oval, or kidney-shaped.
The female flowers have bracteoles missing or barely present, and the tepals have the same color as the male ones. The female flower has five petals, whereas the male flower consists of two petals.
Begonia Dregei flowers are aromatic and produce a lovely display. For almost the whole year, Begonia Dregei plants have small white to pinkish flowers with a bright yellow center.
Begonia flowers are safe to eat and very high in vitamin C. Their sweet/delicate flavor comes from the oxalic acid they carry, the same chemical that gives the flavor to rhubarb and spinach. The oxalic acid is toxic, and so Begonia flower should be consumed in a moderate amount.
They perform best when grown in an environment similar to their natural habitat. It is about 19-39 inches( 0.5-1 meter) high and approximately 4-19 inches( 0.1-0.5 meters) wide, with the base of the stem enlarged. It takes about 2-5 years to grow to its ultimate height.
It has small and uneven leaves with green or reddish leave stalks, and there is a variety of leaf sizes and forms from one plant to another.
Tubers can be initiated in a warm greenhouse from spring time or in an unheated environment a month later. A sprout must occur before planting the tuber in soil. If your tubers appear slow to grow, switch them to a warm, dark place.
You can plant the tuber when the sprouts appear. Harden off and plant it out once the chance of frost has passed. It can take about three months from tuber planting to full bloom. So tubers must be started at least one month indoors just before the frost date.
Common Problems for Begonia Dregei
Begonia Dregei is particularly vulnerable to powdery mildew. It is a fast-growing fungal disease in the Begonia plants. The top surface of the leaves will grow white, powdery, and thread-like. The mildew feeds on the leaf cells, which leads to poor growth but does not kill the plant.
Manage this disease by limiting watering to the morning, so that water on the leaves evaporates easily. Increase the circulation of air around the plant. Good fungicide can be used to treat severe cases of powdery mildew.
Pythium Root Rot
It attacks the stem and root bases of adult plants. Plants affected by this will have a wilted appearance at first, then there is yellowing on the lower leaves. With the progression of the disease, the roots and stem start to turn black and mushy, which ultimately leads to plant death.
This disease can be regulated by using the sterilized potting mixture. You can also use good quality fungicide.
Bacterial Leaf Spot
Water-soaked regions covered by yellow rings appear on the leaves if your Begonia Dregei is infected with leaf spot. Plant starts dying by shedding one leaf at a time.
When the infection is identified, eliminate and kill any infected leaves or stems and spray the plant with neem oil or any other horticulture oil.
Rhizoctonia Crown Rot
It can be detected by the presence of a brownish mold that is spreading from the soil to the stem base. This ultimately leads to the collapse and death of the plant. This only appears in plants that are damaged or kept under high temperature.
Maintaining the right growing conditions and keeping the plant hygienic will prevent the regrowth of the fungus. Several fungicides are also available for the treatment.
All species of Begonia plants are vulnerable to these bugs. If the infection is localized, eradicate the insects by wiping it with a swab of cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol. You can also consider the method of dipping the Begonia Dregei plant in soapy water and alcohol.
Whiteflies invade the underside of the topmost leaves and, if disrupted, fly quickly around the top of its host plants.
Subsequent sprays of insecticidal soaps or white oil will eliminate the infection of whiteflies. Make sure you are applying the spray on the undersides of the leaves.
Tips for Growing Begonia Dregei
The following tips mentioned will help you in growing a successful plant:
- Start your Begonia Dregei indoor, and then when the outdoor temperature gets perfectly warm and humid, transfer it to the patio or garden soil.
- Furnish your plant with well-drained soil.
- Plant your Begonia Dregei in highly fertile soil as the plant requires good nutrients.
- Feed the Begonias Dregei with 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer every three weeks.
- Always remove the dead flower head so the new blooms can grow.
Frequently Asked Questions about Begonia Dregei
How often should I water the Begonia Dregei plant?
You can do a simple test by putting your finger in the soil, and if it feels dry, you should water it. Don’t let the soil dry out completely. But avoid overwatering the Begonia Dregei.
How long does Begonias Dregei live?
The Begonia Dregei can often last for up to 4-5 years if they are taken good care of. They are supposed to rest in winter, and so they don’t make a good winter plant.
Does Begonia Dregei need shade or sun?
The plant will grow best in partial shade. You can also put them in direct sun for a few hours or in filtered sunlight for the majority of the day.
Why does my Begonia Dregei keep on dying?
There can be two reasons for its death. Either you are overwatering the plant or your soil is dry. Another reason can be keeping the plant in the sun for a more extended period, which makes the leaves dry, leading to the death of the plant.
Do Begonias bloom more than once?
Once the plant starts to bloom, it continues to bloom from summer till the winter season.
Begonia Dregei has a leathery appearance. This plant is outstanding for a bonsai pot. To create a bonsai-like plant, reveal the stem base so that it bursts out of the soil. With all of its small leaves and a good branching pattern, it looks like a miniature tree, even if their stems are not at all woody.
You can put it on your tabletop to serve as an attractive centerpiece. The interesting part of Begonia Dregei is that it easily crosses over with plants from different floriculture. Begonia Dregei is rewarding and easy to grow as a pot plant.