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Begonia Listada Plant Care Best Practices

Begonia Listada Plant Care Best Practices

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If you are looking for a special Begonia to add to your collection, a Begonia Listada might be what you are looking for. This special little plant is native to Brazil and it shows in its interesting foliage.

Its leaves are velvet to the touch and have a striking, vivid, bright green stripe in the middle of its dark green leaves, encompassed by a beautiful lighter margin.

The underside of the leaves is a rich mahogany color, and if you treat this plant well you might even have the pleasure of seeing it flower in white blooms.

It is a delicate and demanding plant that isn’t for everyone and will require some trial and error to find out how to keep it healthy and beautiful.

In this article, you are going to find out how hard it is to take care of a Begonia Listada if it is right for you and your home, and how to propagate it once you inevitably fall in love with it and want more!

Begonia Listada Plant Care Best Practices 1

Begonia Listada Basic Plant Care Instructions


If you live in a part of the world where the conditions are just right, you can plant a Begonia Listada outdoors. It requires a well-drained humus-rich neutral or acidic soil and will not tolerate even the slightest bit of waterlogging

If you are like me and you do not live in a tropical high humidity environment you are probably thinking of potting this plant and keeping it indoors.

In this case, the best place for your Begonia is indeed a terrarium or humidity dome because of its humidity requirements.

When grown indoors the best soil mix you could pick is a loam-based one. This means you should mix equal parts of sand, silt, and clay soil.

This will ensure enough aeration because the varied size particles enable oxygen to flow freely through the soil, clay and loam will retain the nutrients very well and create just the right amount of water retention while not getting soggy.


Place your Begonia Listada next to a south or east-facing window where it can have partial to total shade with enough indirect light. It will not tolerate direct sunlight and will suffer from sunburns. It does well in artificial fluorescent light.

One important thing to note is that when you notice the leaves of your Begonia Listada reorienting themselves toward the light source you might be tempted to turn the pot as you do with most houseplants to make the plant look even.

Do not do that with the Begonia Listada! The stalks are so terribly delicate they might break as the plant readjusts and you might lose leaves. So either afford your Begonia Listada a light source from above or just do not try to fix it when it moves.


Since the Begonia Listada is a tropical plant it comes as no surprise that it likes humidity. This gives many houseplant collectors a headache since we all know how hard it is to get the watering and humidity just right for our green friends that are far away from home.

The Begonia Listada likes its soil moist but not soggy, so try to water often but in little amounts, when and how much will be totally dependent on the other conditions you offer the plant.

If it is in a terrarium you will have to water less, if you are trying to make it work with just a humidity dome you should water at least once a week.

It is very important to avoid water logging with this plant as it is not very tolerant of wet feet. Also, make sure you are not watering with cold water. This plant needs lukewarm water that preferably comes from an aquarium or is distilled to avoid mineral buildup.


The Begonia Listada is just as finicky with temperature as it is with soil and water.

The ideal temperature during the day for this plant will be around 66 F, but if should tolerate temperatures between 50 and 86 F as long as the temperature is constant and there are no drafts or sudden changes.

If you shock your plant with inappropriate temperatures or sudden shifts it will drop it’s leaves dramatically letting you know you are doing something wrong.


You should strive to offer your Begonia 60 to 80% humidity during the day and 80 to 100% humidity by night.

When it comes to high humidity plants I often outline various ways of increasing the humidity in your home but honestly, with the humidity requirements being so high, I would be a liar if I said a humidity mat or regular misting will be enough for the Begonia Listada.

At the very least offer it a humidity dome but ideally, the Begonia Listada would be cultivated in a terrarium or a greenhouse.

Believe me when I tell you placing it in a terrarium will solve most of the requirements that seem high maintenance with this plant.

The humidity will be constant as well as the temperature, and you won’t have to water as much since terrariums are more often than not pretty self-sustaining.


Like most Begonias, the Begonia Listada responds well to frequent fertilizing and will reward you with flowers and a dense bushy appearance if done right.

Always fertilize after watering to avoid fertilizer burn, and fertilize once a week or every two weeks with a balanced 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer diluted to half or a fourth of its strength.

Try and adapt to your plant’s responses, if you notice the leaves getting pale you might try to increase the strength or frequency of fertilizing. Stop feeding it in October and let it go dormant until February when you can resume the same feeding schedule.


Ok so you’ve mastered the care of your Begonia Listada and you are ready to propagate it. The good news is this process is easy and nothing like all the trouble your Begonia Listada has been giving your care-wise.

It is easily propagated by stem or leaf cuttings and the steps are explained below.

  • Choose a healthy leaf. One leaf can produce multiple plants if you cut it into post-stamp size pieces that each have a vein running down the piece
  • Prepare your medium, which should be compost-based growers mix or any nutrient-dense medium with smaller particles and evenly moisten it
    place the leaf pieces upright into the compost making sure the vein is in contact with the soil.
  • Carefully and lightly water again so that the soil settles around the cutting nicely.
  • Place the container with the cuttings in a plastic bag to preserve moisture and keep an even temperature and place it in a bright warm place.
  • Keep an eye on these cuttings until they set root. This could take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months until the cuttings are stable enough to be repotted, so have patience. Once you see new growth and the cuttings have set stable roots you can repot them as you would an adult plant.

Be mindful of the fact that in the beginning stages of growth all plants are at their most vulnerable.

They are prone to molding and rotting and pests love soft new growth so do everything that is in your power to protect the cuttings and adjust your watering and placement if needed.

If you are propagating in a terrarium it will be even easier, just place the cuttings in the terrarium in the warmest most humid spot and wait for them to put down roots and become a plant.


This plant is not big, it grows in a bushy pattern, and in the most perfect conditions after about two to five years of growth, it could reach a maximum of 3 ft in height.

When you first plant it, I suggest you pinch off any early flower buds, this way the plant will get bigger faster if that is your goal.


A Begonia Listada should grow well in any kind of pot but I suggest a clay or terracotta pot for the best results. Clay absorbs moisture and it might help you if you are having trouble with root rot and wet feet.

If you are a creative type and you want to go the extra mile these plants can also grow on tree bark of wooden boards covered in sphagnum moss. Just place the begonia on the moss and secure it with some transparent nylon thread.

Remember that in this situation you should water your Begonia Listada more often since the roots are basically out in the open.

Common problems with Begonia Listada

The main issues you are going to face with the Begonia Listada are connected to the high humidity it requires. High humidity attracts pests and diseases and this plant is especially intolerant to root rot.

You should look out for powdery mildew, stem rot, root rot, and insects like mealybugs and thrips. Below I am going to outline the biggest threats to your Begonia Listada and how to face them and keep your plant healthy.

Root rot

Root rot is a common issue with tropical plants that we grow indoors. This is because they need more moisture but also a well-aerated growing medium that will not cut off oxygen for the roots.

A dense medium and over-watering will result in fungal and bacterial issues in the roots that will quickly show in the foliage as wilting and yellowing and will ultimately kill a plant. As I said before a way to prevent this is a good soil medium and mindful watering, but what to do when you are already in trouble?

Take the plant out of its pot, remove any dead and unhealthy roots (any black or brown of weird-looking roots), wash them well, and re-pot the plant in a sterile and fresh soil mix with more perlite or orchid bark to increase airflow and decrease moisture retention.

Powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that shows as circular white fluffy spots of mildew on your Begonia Listada’s leaves. It thrives in low light and low air-circulation environments and will even appear in low humidity.

The spores spread fast to other plants so it is crucial you get a handle on it as soon as possible. Firstly you should isolate the infected plant, stop misting it, and wipe the affected leaves to remove the mildew. If any area is too affected cut I off.

There is a simple home remedy for this, you should mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda, ½ teaspoon of liquid soap, and a gallon of water and apply it to the top and bottom of the leaves. This is the safest and least toxic recipe, but you can choose a store-bought anti-fungal treatment and use it as per the directions on the bottle.


Mealybugs love Begonias, so don’t be surprised if you find any on your Begonia Listada too. Don’t be scared either because these are fairly easy to get rid of. Firstly you should remove the ones you see with a q-tip dipped in alcohol. If you do this regularly it should be enough for a light infestation.

If they are coming back persistently you should also consider an insecticidal soap treatment which will most likely do the trick.

Tips to keep Begonia Listada problem-free

  • Place it in an enclosed terrarium with extremely high humidity
  • Keep the soil moist but not soggy
  • Do not expose it to sudden changes in temperatures or drafts
  • Do not turn the plant as it adjusts its leaves position according to the sun
  • Fertilize often but in small amounts

Read about the Chinese Perfume plant care next.

Frequently asked questions about Begonia Listada

How should I decide when to water my Begonia Listada?

If you are growing your Begonia Listada in a pot and you are a beginner, I recommend getting a humidity meter.

You stick the device in the soil and it shows you the level of humidity in it. When it shows moist this is usually good, wet is too much, and dry is, well, too dry. Pair this with sticking your finger in the soil and this way you will get to know the moisture levels by heart (or finger, haha).

Begonia Listada likes a moister soil, but never let it get soggy. I would let a maximum of one inch of the topsoil to dry before a moderate watering. Water with less water more often, and maybe even try to water from below so that you avoid fungal issues.

My Begonia Listada dropped its leaves, why did this happen?

If your Begonia Listada has been exposed to a sudden temperature change, temperatures lower than 50F, or higher than 86F this might be the cause. This is a delicate and finicky plant that will not tolerate anything but it’s perfect conditions.

Another cause might be that you have rotated the pot when you noticed the leaves readjusting to the light. The stems of this plant are so delicate they can break while doing so and fall off.

I just got a Begonia Listada in the mail, how should I proceed?

Unpack your Begonia Listada right away. Observe it and act accordingly. If the plant is dry water it with distilled or aquarium water, with as little manipulating of the plant as possible delicately pot it in a pot and place it in a warm humid area with bright indirect light.

If the plant is wet or moist leave it be for a while. Do not fertilize freshly shipped plants, let them acclimate to your home for about a month before feeding.

The Begonia Listada is a beautiful tropical plant that looks like it has jewels instead of leaves. It will be a great addition to any tropical and weird plant lovers’ collection.

It looks like it’s from another planet, and it’s demanding nature will not be the greatest fit for everyone, but if you are up for the challenge the Begonia Listada might just thrive under your care.

Give it a well-aerated soil medium, extremely high humidity and regular watering, even temperatures and just enough light and you might be one of the rare people that can say they mastered the Begonia Listada.