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Begonia Microsperma Complete Care Guide

Begonia Microsperma Complete Care Guide

Begonia Microsperma is a rare Begonia species that is native to the tropical regions of West Africa, specifically Cameroon.

This plant develops small, eye-catching yellow flowers. This rhizomatous plant has textured leaves with tiny hairs.

This species requires special care because it will thrive in high humidity( 60-80%) areas only. For soil, it needs a well-draining mix, so peat-based mixtures are the best options.

As a tropical species, this plant will survive in temperatures of about 50 – 86 degrees Fahrenheit (10-30 degrees Celsius).

According to Hortipedia, Begonia Microsperma is a perennial, and it’s a yellow flowering Begonia. This plant was described in 1895 by Otto Warburg.

This Begonia has an alternative name, ‘Begonia Ficicola.’ This species is classified as a lowland herb, and in nature, it flourishes near waterfall trees or moist rock faces.

This ornamental plant has leaves that are peltate, and the top surface of each leaf has tiny bristle hairs.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, this plant is listed as an endangered and vulnerable species because of mining activity in its native country.

Begonias are mostly well-known as care-free window sill plants; however, Begonia Microsperma is considered difficult to grow by most gardeners.

This guide will help you with all the plant care steps to successfully cultivate a Begonia Microsperma.

You can grow this African species in a greenhouse, terrarium, or even a vivarium.

 


How Not To Kill Your Begonia Microsperma
 

Begonia Microsperma Plant Care Guide

 

Soil

I grow my Begonia Microsperma in a loose but very well-draining potting mixture. You can grow it in either sphagnum moss or perlite. But in my opinion, a peat-based mixture is a perfect match for Begonia Microsperma.

If you want to use sphagnum moss and perlite. Simply soak the moss in water for an hour and take 4 parts moss with 1 part perlite to create a potting medium for your Begonia Microsperma.

Make sure you squeeze the excess water from moss. It is best to place ½ inches of perlite at the bottom of the pot before putting the growing medium.

For terrariums, keep the top open for one or two days. This will ensure the extra moisture evaporates from the potting medium. Else there is a high risk of powdery mildew and root-rot.

These two issues will be discussed in detail in the coming sections.

The potting mixture should have a soil pH between 5 to 7 means it is grown in acidic or neutral soil. Your potting mix should also have low nitrogen content.

 

Watering

Begonia Microsperma has average watering requirements, just like any other indoor houseplant.

As an indoor plant, the potting mixture for this plant should be kept slightly moist. The best time to water this yellow-flowered Begonia is when half the soil has dried out.

I moisturize my plant’s soil with lukewarm water whenever the top few inches start drying out. Remember, you have to water this Begonia from above so all parts of the plant can soak some water.

You should water moderately in the summer season and give little water in winter. In case you are growing it in a terrarium you should water it once or twice a month only.

 

Lighting

Begonias are flowering plants, including the Begonia Microsperma therefore, it requires bright, indirect sunlight throughout the year.

In brief, this plant likes semi-sun or medium-light for optimum growth. Even though good sunlight is absolutely necessary for this species, I always ensure that direct sunlight never touches my plant.

This is important to protect the Begonia Microsperma from sunburns because the excessive sun will scorch the plant. Mine is thriving in a north-facing window.

If you have insufficient sunlight in your house, you can utilize fluorescent lights. Supply the artificial light for about 12 hours per day. The light should be positioned at the height of 20 inches above the base of the plant.

In fact, most gardeners highly recommend growing this Begonia under florescent lights because the yellow-flowered species expect low light.

 

Temperature

The Begonia Microsperma is a warmth lover. At daytime, maintain the indoor temperatures between 50 – 86 degrees Fahrenheit (10-30 degrees Celsius), but for the night the optimum temperature range is 53.6 – 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit (12 – 18 degrees Celsius).

 

Humidity

Humidity is the main consideration for growing a Begonia Microsperma. You have to keep the air humidity level between 60-80% during the daytime and night.

Please remember that it is necessary to grow Begonia Microsperma in a closed environment unless you can maintain the previously mentioned humidity levels.

 

Fertilizer

Begonia Microsperma does not require heavy feeding. A little fertilizer will go a long way. You can use any regular houseplant fertilizer recommended for flowering Begonias. But make sure your fertilizer is rich in micronutrients and trace elements.

I apply a compound fertilizer once a month in growing seasons. This plant should be fed only when it’s growing actively in spring and summer, not in the dormant state in winter.

 

Repotting

This Begonia species likes to be repotted after 1 year. I would recommend repotting in the spring season.

 

Pruning

This beautiful species requires minimal to no-pruning at all. However, you may need to prune your plant if it’s diseased, yellowing, or browning.

 

Propagation

 

Stem cuttings

  • Select an actively growing healthy stem on the Begonia Microsperma.
  • Using sharp tools like pruning shears, make a cut below the leaf node.
  • Please ensure that these tools are disinfected using rubbing alcohol or a water and bleach solution. Disinfection is the most critical step in plant hygiene. Do this before and after propagating.
  • Now dip the cutting in rooting hormone and pot it a well-draining soil.
  • Keep the cutting in a bright, indirect sun and wait for the roots to grow.
  • Once established and healthy, your plant is ready to be transferred to a pot.

You can propagate this plant with seeds as well. But take out the seeds before they are ripe. If you wait for the seeds to ripe fully, they become hard and are almost impossible to remove. You should remove the seeds from the pod just when the tip of the seed pod becomes brown.

For leaf cuttings, you have to propagate in spring, whereas for rhizome division, you should propagate in summer.

To grow a full-plant from a Begonia Microsperma cutting, it will take about eight months, so wait patiently and maintain the necessary environment.

 

Blooms

This Begonia blooms beautifully with pretty, bright yellow flowers. Sometimes the flowers have a tint of green and red color.

Each flower features two or three large petals. The good news is this plant can bloom throughout the year. However, my Begonia Microsperma blooms in spring, summer, fall and stops blooming in the cold season of winter.

 

Growth

This species will have green leaves that have a bumpy and hairy texture. The leaves are medium-sized but with an interesting appearance. This is an evergreen species with ovate leaves that are alternate.

The petioles are generally 2-6 inches (6-15 cm) long, whereas the flower stalks are 3.5 inches (9cm) in length. The leaf blades have varying sizes; 4.7-7.8 inches (12-20 cm) in length and 2.7-4.7 inches (7-12 cm) in width.

After good care and attention, the Begonia Microsperma will reach its mature size of 6 inches. This plant has a normal upward growth habit; however, it’s a fast-growing species provided you maintain good plant care.

My Begonia Microsperma had difficulty acclimating to the indoor climate in the beginning but once established, it grows new leaves consistently.

 

Common Problems for Begonia Microsperma

Begonia Microsperma is a robust houseplant, but often it faces some issues, which are discussed in detail below:

 

Thrips

If you notice any white spots on the leaves and flowers of your Begonia Microsperma, your plant is infested with thrips. Additional symptoms include flower buds that do not open.

To control the thrips, the first step is to improve the air ventilation around your Begonia Microsperma. You should also water your plant more often. For heavy infections, you will have to use biological pest control or pesticides.

 

Aphids

Aphids are notoriously known as sap-sucking bugs and often go by the name of greenfly or blackfly amongst various other variations.

These were the biggest issue for me regarding Begonia Microsperma’s care. Distorted leaves, honeydew, or galls on Begonia Microsperma confirm the presence of aphids.

Speaking of appearance, they have antennas, and they may have wings and proboscis that resemble those of a butterfly (star-like) and are used to suck the sap. Aphid’s colors aren’t limited to just green and black. Several other species come in shades of pink, yellow, and white as well.

An average adult Aphid is approximately 1-7mm in size (one-fourth of an inch) with a body shape that resembles a pear.

These annoying pests are most commonly found to infest plants during springtime, being most active in a humid environment and reduce in number as temperature rises.

Since Aphids are light in body weight and have an agile exoskeleton, they can easily be washed off of the plant they reside on.

An infestation of Aphids is hard to overcome since certain species have the ability to grow a pair of wings once a plant is over-populated and can undergo parthenogenesis (practically skipping the egg stage) by giving birth to a live female nymph.

Hence if you house multiple plants, there is a chance of cross-infestation. Moreover, considering these can multiply rapidly, at a rate of 12 offspring per day in an ideal environment.

Signs of Aphid infestation are hard to notice, and often, when spotted, have done irreversible damage; this is due to the fact these cause damage on the bottom of the leaf and not the surface.

In some cases, aphids attack the roots of the plant; in such cases, if the plant is newly potted or a young plant, it will wither and die.

Spotting damage might be hard, but there are certain things you can keep in mind to save your plant in time.

Aphids produce a sticky fluid (honeydew), leaving residues behind; if you find that the plant leaves are sticky upon touch, then there is a more than likely chance that the plant has been infested by aphids.

Over time, the honeydew begins to turn black once mold begins to form, providing a more visible sign of infestation.

This blackening of the honeydew blocks light from reaching the leaf and hinders the process of photosynthesis, eventually resulting in the plant’s death.

 

Mealybugs

If your plant develops waxy fibers or honeydew on the leaves and stems, mealybugs have been feeding on it. They can be easily eliminated with insecticides or biologically using ladybirds.

 

Vine Weevils

These are small, dark-colored beetles that feed on houseplants. The Vine Weevils larvae will feed on anything from seedling, roots, cuttings to tubers.

You will have to handpick these insects to destroy them. But make sure you improve plant hygiene. To completely eliminate these insects, you can use the help of insecticides or biological control insects.

 

Botrytis

If your Begonia Microsperma has rotten leaves, stems, or flowers, it is infected with grey mold, also known as Botrytis. You should immediately remove the infected parts of the plant and destroy them.

Avoid injuring your plant while pruning or trimming because this increases the risk of infection. I would suggest using a regular fungicide and improving plant hygiene to prevent future infections.

 

Powdery Mildew

A few months ago, my Begonia Microsperma developed a white powdery coat. On research, I found out that this is powdery mildew. I immediately removed all the infected leaves and stems to destroy them. I also made sure the roots are always moist but stopped watering the plant from above.

 

Tips for Growing

  • Avoid rotating the Begonia Microsperma if you are growing it on a windowsill. This is because the flower starts relocating itself towards the light source, which may result in the breaking of the stems.
  • This plant has delicate stalks; therefore, handle carefully while pruning or propagation.
  • If your Begonia Microsperma is sitting in a pot outdoors, make sure it is protected from rainfall.
  • This species requires excellent drainage as a potted plant; make sure the pot has at least one drainage hole.
  • Maintain high humidity around this plant as this is a humidity loving Begonia.
  • It is best to position this plant a few feet away from a sunny window.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Begonia Microsperma

 

Is Begonia Microsperma edible?

This plant is non-edible; therefore, your pets should never feed on any part of the plant.

 

Can I grow the Begonia Microsperma in terrariums?

This Begonia species can be grown in high humidity locations like terrariums or vivariums.

 

Will this plant take over my indoor space?

This is a small-sized Begonia that grows to a maximum size of 6 inches only so it won’t take over your indoor space.

 

My Begonia Microsperma has started to wither and discolor; what is wrong?

Withering and discoloration of Begonia Microsperma are mostly caused by fungi, bacteria or stagnant water. Make sure your plant is not infected or staying water-logged for too long. It is better to remove the infected parts. High soil pH is another reason for bleached leaves on this Begonia.

 

My Begonia Microsperma has yellow leaves; how can I fix it?

Yellowing of leaves occurs on this species due to excessive sunlight. Shift your Begonia to a shady place and make sure it never receives direct sunlight.

 

My Begonia Microsperma was originally planted in sphagnum moss, but it has a very slow growth; what should I do?

You can either refresh the potting mix or replace the sphagnum moss with a 100% clayey substrate. Some growers have reported that Begonia Microsperma grows fast in this medium.

 

How would you describe the flowers of Begonia Microsperma?

The flowers are described as relatively large and golden yellow.

 

Is this plant the same as Begonia Buttercup?

Begonia Buttercup is a separate plant that is a hybrid of Begonia Prismatocarpa and Begonia Microsperma. Buttercup is smaller in size compared to Microsperma.

 

What is the difference between Begonia Staudii and Begonia Microsperma?

These two species are very similar, but Begonia Staudii has a finer leaf surface. Staudii also has a taller growth habit compared to Microsperma.

 

Why is this plant called Begonia Ficicola?

This plant was given this new name in 1954 by Edgar Irmscher because it was found growing on a ficus tree. But Begonia Microsperma is the valid name for this species.

 

Will this plant survive in full, direct sun?

I would not suggest that as direct sun will definitely burn your precious Begonia Microsperma.

 

Can Begonia Microsperma attract any wildlife?

When grown in outdoor gardens, this plant attracts wildlife like bees.

Conclusion

With its cheerful yellow blooms and bumpy green leaves, Begonia Microsperma is my new favorite. This houseplant loves growing in terrariums. Even though this golden Begonia requires special care while growing, but it eventually rewards you with its bright blooms and foliage.

This African species has distinctive foliage, so you will love it if you like collecting plants with unique foliage. Other close relatives of this species are Begonia Scpagera and Begonia Staudii.

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