(Image credit IG so0tie)
The Begonia goegoensis is a rhizomatous Begonia first discovered in Goego, Sumatra. It is a rare plant with distinctive rounded leaves with a quilted green and bronze pattern framed by lighter, almost spiderweb-shaped veining.
The leaf’s underside is a deep red color, and with such a striking appearance, you might be wondering why it isn’t more popular with plant collectors.
Begonia goegoensis care consists of using a porous mix using peat moss, perlite, and some vermiculite. This plant needs bright indirect light and watering every 3 to 4 days. Keep temperatures at 70 to 75 degrees F (21°C-24°C) for the best growing conditions and humidity at around 70%. Use liquid organic fertilizer at 1/4 strength every 2-3 weeks during spring and summer.
The reason is it’s high humidity requirements that make it a perfect candidate for a terrarium, but a not so easy to care for houseplant.
Sumatra has around 80 to 120 inches of rainfall every year, and the temperatures range between 57 and 80 degrees F and a cost consisting of mainly mangrove swamps and bogs.
That all being said, if you have your eyes set on this rare Begonia beauty, we have collected all of its care requirements that you need to follow to keep your Begonia goegoensis alive and thriving.
- 1 Plant Care for Begonia goegoensis
- 2 Common problems with Begonia goegoensis
- 3 Tips to keep your Begonia goegoensis problem-free
- 4 Frequently asked questions about Begonia goegoensis
- 5 Conclusion
Plant Care for Begonia goegoensis
In its natural habitat, a highly active volcanic area, the soil mostly consists of decomposed rock. This is why I suggest a light and porous soil mix.
I would mix one part growers mix, one part peat moss or leaf mold, one part perlite, and some vermiculite. While you are mixing, check the consistency, and adapt the recipe as needed, making sure the soil is fast draining.
This is very important as Begonia goegoensis has shallow roots and hates wet feet.
Your Begonia goegoensis will like bright but indirect light. If you are keeping it outdoors, it can tolerate around four hours of filtered sunlight (emphasis on filtered).
Otherwise, it should be in the shade. It can quickly experience some sunburn when exposed to direct sunlight, which you want to avoid considering how stunning the leaves are.
It will do best in a terrarium under fluorescent light, somewhere around the bottom of the terrarium where it isn0t too close to the lightbulbs.
Watering Begonias is always tricky. Many have succumbed to over-loving, overwatering plant parents, and since the Begonia goegoensis is so rare, you probably want to avoid that.
Your first line of defense against overwatering is the soil you choose, and if you have selected the right one, you should be able to water your Begonia every 3 to 4 days or more as needed.
It would be best if you waited for the top half-inch of soil to be dry before watering (somewhere to about your first knuckle).
You should also water it with distilled, rain, or aquarium water when possible to avoid mineral buildup in the soil.
Your Begonia goegoensis will do best in warmer temperatures. Ideally, it should be kept at 70 to 75 degrees F (21°C-24°C).
This is easily achievable in a terrarium or greenhouse. Still, if you live in a temperate climate, you should be aware that the Begonia goegoensis might drop its leaves when exposed to colder temperatures, drafts, or sudden temperature fluctuations.
Providing humidity that is high enough for your Begonia goegoensis will be pretty hard if you don’t have a terrarium or greenhouse.
Ideally, it should be grown in a terrarium with around 70% humidity, and this is where it can thrive and show the full beauty of its leaves.
Some say they can do well in 50 to 60% humidity indoors, but be aware they might need to acclimate to such conditions slowly and step by step.
Wherever you buy it from (online or from a local grower), I can almost guarantee it grew in high humidity.
You can cover it with a humidity dome or plastic bag initially and expose it to lower humidity gradually.
The same goes for transplanting it from a terrarium to a pot. It would be best if you opened the terrarium bit by bit instead of taking it out right away.
If none of this is possible, you can try to put it in a bathroom, as they do well in low light conditions too, and the bathroom is the most humid part of most people’s homes.
I suggest you fertilize your Begonia goegoensis with a liquid organic fertilizer diluted to a fourth of its strength and pour it a bit further away from the stem after watering to avoid fertilizer burn at the roots. You can do this every 2 to 3 weeks during the growing season.
You can also use worm castings and mix them into your soil mix when planting.
You can propagate your Begonia goegoensis by rhizome division, by leaf cuttings, and by stem cuttings. If you can provide high humidity, you will not have trouble propagating this plant.
I go over each of the processes below, and you can decide which one is for you. All of them have their pros and cons.
Propagation by division of rhizomes
Rhizomes are thick and fleshy root systems that develop horizontally. Kind of like ginger roots, your Begonia goegoensis has shallow and chunky roots that produce shoots that grow into stems.
You can propagate your Begonia by dividing these rhizomes, and this will be especially convenient if you want to propagate while you are repotting. You will be uprooting your plant anyway.
I outline the simple process below:
- Once you dug up your plant, scrutinize the root system. It is vital that when you divide the plant, you leave enough roots for the plant to survive; otherwise, the propagation will not be successful. A good rule to follow is that a separated, new root ball should be a minimum of one-quarter of the size of the original root system. Divide your rhizome in half and then see if you can afford to halve these two again and so on.
- Prepare your new Begonia goegoensis locations by digging up holes where you want to plant it. You can put these rhizomes right back into the ground. Just be mindful that you are plating them the right side up. The roots should point downwards, and the shoots should point upwards.
- Water well and keep moist until the plant establishes itself.
Propagation by stem cuttings
You can propagate your Begonia goegoensis by stem cuttings, and this is the most common method houseplant collectors tend to use as it is the simplest.
- Cut a stem with at least one leaf. Make sure it is healthy and pest free.
- Put this stem into the water so that the leaf is not in contact with the water, and enclose this in a plastic bag for humidity.
- Change the water every time too much of it evaporates, or it becomes murky.
- After a couple of weeks, there should be a couple of inches of roots.
- Prepare a new home for your cutting. Use a denser hummus rich growing medium for your Begonia cutting and moisten it evenly before putting the cutting in.
- Place the cutting in the soil gently and cover the roots with the soil.
- Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy, and enclose this in a plastic bag again. Remember to air this regularly to avoid mold and fungus issues.
- When you notice new growth, your plant has more than likely established itself, and you can treat it like an adult plant.
This is a pretty simple method with good chances of success. To increase them even more, instead of propagating by water, you could opt for a propagation box instead of water and enclose your stem in moist sphagnum moss.
A propagation box will keep the humidity and temperature high and even, and using moss instead of water might lower the chances your cutting will rot.
Propagation by leaf cuttings
If you can gather the nerve to cut up these stunningly beautiful leaves, you can indeed propagate a Begonia goegoensis by leaf cuttings.
It requires more steps and has fewer chances of success, but it can result in many more Begonia babies than the rest of the propagation method described.
- Choose a healthy leaf and cut it up into thumbnail size pieces. Ensure each of them has some veins, as this is where the new roots will pop up from.
- Place these cuttings in between two wet paper towels and enclose this all in a ziplock bag. Keep this in a warm place and wait for the cuttings to root.
- When the cuttings have rooted, you can place them onto moist and humus-rich soil. Wherever you are planting them, be it a pot or a tray, enclose this in a plastic bag or put it in a high humidity environment. Soon you should start to see new growth peeking from the cuttings. This is also the stage when many of your cuttings might give up and rot, so don’t be alarmed if it happens.
- When you can see new growth and roots taking to the soil, your cutting has become a plant, and you can treat it as such, but keep in mind young plants are extra susceptible to pests and disease.
A Begonia goegoensis can grow up to 12 to 18 inches in height. It has a bushy growth pattern and most likely won’t become huge, although this depends on the conditions you give it.
I suggest using shallow clay containers for your Begonia goegoensis because of it’s shallow roots and water requirements. This way, you will avoid standing water at the bottom of the pot, and the clay will absorb some extra water if you tend to overwater your plants.
Since they don’t grow very fast, you can expect to repot this plant every two years or so, barring any root rot problems that might force you to do it sooner.
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BG is one of the fastest growing in the collection💛🌿 After dividing it into four separate plants (two of which went off to new homes last month), my remaining two are in a race to outgrow each other 💚 So far so good with keeping both alive & thriving 🙂 #sootiegogo . . #begonia #begoniagoegoensis #rhizomatousbegonia #begonias #begoniasofinstagram #gorgeous #pretty #beautiful #begoniabrigade #aussieplantclub #tassels #tasselpot #stunning #plantsofinstagram #indoorplants #houseplants #livingwithplants #plantaddict #instaplant #plantstagram #plantstyling #instagram #brisbane #brisbaneplants #urbanjungle #urbanjunglebloggers #houseplantsofinstagram
Common problems with Begonia goegoensis
Like most Begonias that like high humidity, your Begonia goegoensis is susceptible to the usual, humidity loving diseases and pests. Let’s go over them and what you can do to either avoid them or get rid of them once they appear.
Root rot is the most dreaded disease a Begonia can catch, which is especially true for rhizomatous Begonias. When we notice the consequences of root rot at the top of the plant, is it most likely already too late to save it.
To make sure, you should dig the plant out and wash the roots to check if they are healthy. If you notice brown and dark areas, you should cut them away, together with any affected stems.
Then repot the plant into more aerated, sterile soil and try being more mindful of your watering schedule.
By now, we probably already know these white, round fluffy spots mean trouble. The sooner you spot them, the better, and speed will be vital in maintaining as many leaves as possible, especially with such a beautiful plant like the Begonia goegoensis.
If left unattended for too long, the tissue beneath the spots will die off, and you will have to remove the entire leaf.
If you catch it soon enough, you can use a mixture of 1 tablespoon of baking soda, ½ teaspoon of liquid soap, and a gallon of water and wipe away the mold from the leaves.
I would suggest a neem oil or store-bought fungicidal treatment right after and regular checks to ensure you got it all.
Whiteflies like warm and humid environments, so it is no surprise you might notice them pestering your Begonia goegoensis. They will suck on the juices of your plant and even spread to the plants nearby, and if you don0t catch them enough, you might have a considerable infestation to deal with.
As soon as you notice these white or bright green flies on your plant, usually around the stems and new growth and the underside of the leaves, you can go ahead and blast them off with a shower or watering hose.
After that, I suggest either neem oil or insecticidal soap and repeated treatments until you are sure they are gone.
Tips to keep your Begonia goegoensis problem-free
- Keep it in a humid but well-ventilated environment
- Water regularly but do not overwater
- Provide a well-draining soil
- Plant in a shallow pot
- Keep out of direct sunlight
Frequently asked questions about Begonia goegoensis
Why are my Begonia goegoensis leaves curling up and have dry edges?
This is usually a sign of underwatering and drought. Consider watering more often and increasing the humidity around your Begonia. This will not fix the leaves that are already dry but will help the ones that grow next.
Why are my Begonia goegoensis leaves yellowing and dropping?
This is more than likely a sign of overwatering or even root rot. Consider watering less, and if the problem persists, check the state of the roots to make sure they are healthy.
If just got my Begonia goegoensis in the mail and it is dead, what should I do?
With the Begonia goegoensis being such a delicate plant, these things happen sometimes. Before you buy, you should check the company’s policy on returns.
Sometimes they put a disclaimer for extra delicate plants warning you they will not accept returns. Either way, contact them and see if there is anything you can do. Also, your plant may have dropped all of its leaves, but it doesn’t mean it is necessarily dead.
If the roots are still alive and not rotting, leave it and see if it puts out new growth once used to its new home.
Like all Begonias with leaves this stunning, the exotic look of the Begonia goegoensis comes with a little bit of a price. If you can provide it with a humid and well-ventilated environment, you might be able to keep it beautiful and healthy, but be careful with ventilation and pests that like moisture.
Plant it either in a terrarium, a greenhouse, or a shallow pot and water regularly, and your Begonia will put out it’s magnificent, quilted, mosaic leaves that will wow anyone that sees them.
If you already have one, show us! We will be happy to see such rare and particular plants. Keep us posted with your urban jungle pictures in our Facebook group.