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Begonia Nelumbiifolia- Best Care Guide

Begonia Nelumbiifolia- Best Care Guide

The Begonia family plants are known for their unparalleled combination of bright colors and striking appearances.

Most of the Begonia family species originate from tropical and subtropical regions such as Central and South America, Africa, and Southern Asia.

The Begonia Nelumbiifolia particularly makes an excellent houseplant choice for various reasons.

The Begonia Nelumbiifolia is a mesic plant with average watering needs. It grows best in moist, well-draining soils. The Nelumbiifolia requires bright dappled sunlight for survival.

This herbaceous beauty enjoys high humidity and can tolerate a considerable range of temperatures.

The Begonia Nelumbiifolia is mainly grown for its attractive foliage. It has large, smooth, and un-incised leaves. Its flowers, though not the star of the show, are also vivid and eye-catching.

The Begonia, one of the largest flowering plants genera, originates from the family of Begoniaceae plants. Charles Plumier coined the name ‘Begonia’ in the early seventeenth century. The genus has over 1800 species, all different in terms of foliage, blooms, and a few growth habits.

The exotic Begonia Nelumbiifolia species is also known as ‘Lily-pad Begonia.’ In some areas of the world, it represents gratitude or respect. Besides being beautiful and unique, they are also reasonably easy to grow and have average houseplant needs.

The Begonias are “monoecious” in nature, which means that the separate male and female flowers are present on the same plant. Some Begonia species are grown indoors as ornamental houseplants. The other species are cultivated outside in summertime for their bright, colorful flowers, which have sepals but do not develop petals.

The leaves of the Begonia Nelumbiifolia are un-lobed and roundish. Their stems are usually thick and have a short-rhizome appearance or are underground. The lily-pad Begonia’s leaves and flowers are generally fairly large and colorful, giving the plant a lovely overall look.

Other than being an attractive houseplant, it is also known to have some medical importance. Some owners from the old times claim the Begonia Nelumbiifolia plant is also suitable for treating bumps and bruises.

 

 

Basic Plant Care

Soil

The soil composition is one of the main factors for growth determination. For healthy development, the plant must be potted in its preferred soil type.

For the Begonia Nelumbiifolia, the ideal soil nature is moist and well-draining, with some added organic matter. The potting mix should not accumulate too much water and have good aeration.

This tropical beauty likes soil with a pH range of about 6.1 to 7.3 (slightly acidic to neutral). The slight acidity of the soil promotes easier nutrient absorption. Maintain a balance and water the soil only when needed.

To make the perfect potting mix for a Nelumbiifolia plant, add some peat moss and perlite or vermiculite to the soil. Please do not opt for alternatives such as compost or garden soil.

 

Water

The Begonia Nelumbiifoloa is a mesic plant. It has regular watering needs; overwatering, it leads to root-rot and under-watering causes the roots to dry out, which ultimately leads to the plant’s death.

Water your lily-pad Begonia when its soil is slightly dry. However, do not let it dry out completely. To make things easier, you can stick your finger into the Nelumbiifolia plant’s soil to decide whether it needs water.

Insert your finger into the soil. If the top few inches seem dried-out, water your plant. Spread the water evenly for thorough distribution.

On the contrary, if the soil feels excessively wet to the touch or worse, fully water-saturated, let the plant be. Avoid watering it till it’s top 1 to 2 inches dry out. Ensure that you do not overwater your plant as it increases the probability of infection or causes yellow leaves. I recommend using room-temperature water for watering.

If the water in your area is heavily chlorinated, fill a bucket with some water and let it sit for approximately 24 hours. Once the chlorine has settled, then use it for watering.

 

Light

The tropical Begonia Nelumbiifolia naturally grows in relatively warm environments. Therefore, its lighting needs are of a typical tropical to subtropical plant.

The Begonia Nelumbiifolia thrives in bright, diffused, and indirect sunlight. Indoors, it grows very well when placed next to southwest facing windows. If you do not have such a spot in your house, I suggest you tie a cloth to a window and then place your Nelumbiiofolia plant where the light falls. This will only allow filtered light to come into contact with the plant.

However, if you have potted your Begonia Nelumbiifolia outside, place it in partial shade. Remember to keep it away from the direct ultraviolet rays. The direct harsh sun rays may scorch the Nelumbiifolia plant’s foliage.

Alternatively, you can grow the Begonia Nelumbiifolia species in artificial growing lights. You can also place it in the morning or late evening sun for a few hours without causing much harm.

 

Temperature

The Begonia Neelumbiifolia species does well in mild to moderate temperatures. Its ideal range is temperatures close to 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius). This temperature allows the plant to develop to its full potential and also encourages blooms.

If you live in a warm region, this mild temperature range is not much of an issue. However, if you reside in a colder area, you might have to get your hands on a heater or place your Nelumbiifolia plant in a temperature-controlled environment.

The Begonia Nelumbiifolia cannot survive in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, for a happy Begonia Nelumbiifolia, ensure that the temperatures are favorable.

 

Humidity

As Begonias arise from tropical regions, they prefer high humidity. The Begonia Nelumbiifolia thrives in humidity ranging from 70% to 90%. These humidity levels are considerably high for an average household; therefore, it may be challenging for you to grow a Nelumbiifolia plant.

Fortunately, there are several ways you can bring up the humidity level in the house. If you reside in a dry area, mist your Begonia Nelumbiifolia every other day. However, please do not do it regularly as the Begonias’ leaves are prone to powdery mildew.

Also, refrain from using tap-water for misting because the high alkalinity of certain tap waters may cause the Begonia plant’s leaves to drop.

Besides that, you can also place your plant on a tray filled with water and pebbles. Ensure that the plant’s foliage does not touch the water directly. Alternatively, you can put all your houseplants together for a more humid environment.

 

Fertilizer

No living being can survive without food. Similarly, feeding the Begonia with its ideal fertilizer is necessary for healthy growth and development. The Begonia Nelumbiifolia’s feeding needs are not too different from its fellow species.

This herbaceous beauty thrives on fertilizers with consistent and balanced nutrients. A good-quality fertilizer for your Nelumbiifolia is one that has a 1:1:1 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These macronutrients will help the plant develop lush foliage and beautiful blooms.

I recommend you to feed your Begonia Nelumbiifolia plant every two to three weeks. You can add a dash of fertilizer every two to three weeks consistently, or you can simply use a slow-release fertilizer. If you plan to opt for the latter, apply the fertilizer at the start of the growing season of summer and spring.

Please avoid over-fertilizing your Nelumbiifolia plant as it may lead to toxicity, which can irreversibly damage the plant.

 

Repotting

The lovely Begonia Nelumbiifolia plants enjoy being root-bound. Their roots absorb nutrients better when they are slightly tight and close together. Therefore, you do have to repot your Nelumbiifolia too often.

It is best to repot your lily-pad Begonia when its container is entirely filled with its roots. To check this, you can gently remove the plant from its pot and see if there is some loose soil. If you notice some loose soil, carefully pot the Nelumbiifolia plant back into its container and let it grow a little more.

Check after a few days or weeks again to see if there is any loose soil. If the Begonia Nelumbiifolia plant’s roots hold all the potting mix, it is time to repot it.

Although its roots may be fully grown, you do not always have to replace it in a bigger pot. If your Begonia falls over, it means there was a surplus of soil and nutrients. In such a situation, repot it into a smaller container.

However, this will not always be the case. If its roots have outgrown the container, repot it to a bigger pot. The new pot can be about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) bigger in diameter. Set its soil well and add some water, and your Nelumbiifolia will grow happily.

 

Pruning

If your plant has grown humongous or unruly or been attacked by a fungus or disease, it is best to prune it. The Begonia Nelumbiifolia may grow large or out of shape. When this happens, it is time to tame it with a pair of pruning scissors/shears.

It is best to prune the Begonia Nelumbiifolia plant in areas with warm climates during the spring season. In cold regions, pruning it during fall gives the best results. This is done mainly for easy fitting of the Nelumbiifolia plant indoors, away from the harsh winter temperatures.

Please make sure you clean and sterilize your gardening tools like the pruning shears before using them on any of your plants. This will minimize the probability and spread of infection.

 

Propagation

The Begonias are one of the easiest plants to propagate. They do not require much fussing, and their propagation only needs a few things. You can even skip rooting powder or hormone as these plants thrive even on their own.

Before pruning, I suggest you clean all your gardening equipment with a plant-specific cleaning solution or rubbing alcohol. Please wear appropriate clothing as things may get messy.

 

Leaf Cuttings Method

Follow the steps below:

  • Fill a container with a potting mix containing organic, well-draining soil mix.
  • Add some water to this container to form a soggy potting mix.
  • Now take a healthy Begonia Nelumbiifolia and cut a young and healthy leaf right from the plant’s base. Cut off the leaf’s stalk.
  • Make a few slashes on the underside of the cut leaf along its central/main vein.
  • Next, pin this slashed leaf down on the prepared firm potting mix.
  • Allow the potting mix’s warmth and moisture to promote growth at the slashed/damaged parts of the vein.
  • After some time, several young plants will begin to form on each leaf.
  • Soon, new roots and plants will grow along the vein from the base of each cutting.
  • Next, you can either tease the new plantlets apart and grow them separately or transfer the entire group of plantlets to a pot so they may develop into a bushier pot plant.

You can mist the prepared potting soil for extra moisture but do not fully-saturate it. Also, do not allow water to stand upon the soil or the plantlets. This can increase the probability of disease.

The roots mostly appear in 3 to 4 weeks. The young plantlets may take up to 6 to 8 weeks to form and be mature enough to move into separate containers or a garden.

 

Blooms

The beautiful lily-pad Begonia has showy white flowers. They are unique and attractive; thus, they are a favorite of countless houseplant owners worldwide. The Nelumbiifolia plant flowers do not grow very large but have a decent size of about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters).

The Nelumbiifolia species produce flowers throughout the summer till the first frosts in the chillier seasons. Place your Begonia Nelumbiifolia in bright dappled sunlight for about 4 to 6 hours every day to be rewarded with some dazzling flowers.

 

Growth

The perennial Begonia Nelumbiifolia plant has a moderate growth rate. When placed in the right environment, it can reach a height of about 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 centimeters). It can grow as wide as a good 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 centimeters).

By nature, the Begonia Nelumbiifolia plant is an evergreen species. When its natural habitat is imitated well, it grows beautiful lush green leaves with flowers.

 

 

Common Problems for Begonia Nelumbiifolia

 

Aphids

Aphids may attack your Begonia Nelumbiifolia plant. The aphids tend to form clusters on baby shoots and flower buds or underneath old foliage. If infested by aphids, leaves often twist upon themselves or are distorted.

They may also affect new growth, slowing it down significantly. Aphids produce a substance called honeydew, which provides a favorable environment for sooty mold fungus to grow. This can cause significant damage to the plant.

To get rid of aphids, use insecticidal spray or soap and use it thoroughly on your plant.

 

Mealy Bugs

A common problem for several houseplant owners is mealybugs infesting their plants. Their favorable conditions include high humidity and mild temperatures. The mealybugs feed on the plant’s juices and excrete a sticky liquid called honeydew, which attracts ants. The honeydew also provides the ideal medium for sooty mold growth.

They adversely affect new growth, distorting it to a great level. Mealybugs also form a whitish covering on the leaf axils. Close inspection further confirms their presence. Use an insecticidal spray to eliminate mealybugs and use sterilized gardening tools.

 

Snails and Slugs

Snails and slugs are not as common as the other problems; however, they can occur from time to time. These pests are most active on wet and humid nights. They feed off decaying leaves and stems.

If you notice silvery trails that appear as gold dust on your plant, chances are your plant is infested by snails and slugs. You might also see some holes in your plant’s leaves, and the seedlings chewed off at their base.

To get rid of them, remove any rocks, pipes, pots, or any such things close to your plant. The snails and slugs may use these for shelter during the day.

 

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungus that often appears when the plant is exposed to high humidity or dry conditions for an extended period. It presents as a white or ash-grey film over the leaves’ upper and lower surfaces, usually the older foliage.

Powdery mildew may inhibit new growth and distort the plant overall. It may also cause the blackening of the leaves. Moreover, the flower buds may also fail to open.

The solution to this seemingly serious problem is simple; spray your plant often with insecticidal spray or wash the leaves with insecticidal soap.

 

Tips for Growing Begonia Nelumbiifolia

The following are some essential tips:

  • Place your Begonia Nelumbiifolia in bright, dappled sunlight.
  • Use lukewarm and chlorine-free water for watering.
  • Use a balanced liquid fertilizer as feed.
  • Let the Nelumbiifolia plant be somewhat root-bound.
  • Keep the plant away from direct sun rays as the leaves may burn.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Begonia Nelumbiifolia

 

Why is my Begonia Nelumbiifolia plant wilting?

Ensure that you pot your Nelumbiifolia in moist and well-draining soil. Do not let the soil be excessively dry nor fully soak it with water. Place it in bright, diffused sunlight for the best results.

 

How often should I water my Begonia Nelumbiifolia plant?

As a general rule of thumb, water it when the soil’s top few inches seem dry. Use your fingers to assess the water content. However, do not overwater the plant as it may lead to root-rot.

 

What is the best fertilizer for my Begonia Nelumbiifolia plant?

A fertilizer containing an equal ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium is ideal for Begonias.

 

How long do potted Begonias last?

Even with excellent care, Begonias do not last for more than 4 to 5 years. Mostly, they live for 2 to 3 years.

 

How do you keep a Begonia Nelumbiifolia plant blooming?

Use good quality fertilizer and grow the plant in optimum conditions. Fertilize the plant when you plant it first and then every three weeks.

 

Conclusion

The Begonia Nelumbiifolia plant is an excellent houseplant choice. It has it all; lush green foliage, beautiful flowers, and easy care.

It can undoubtedly bright up any room. However, it is toxic to pets, especially its tubers. The Nelumbiifolia plant may also cause allergic reactions in humans.

Thus, shower your Nelumbiifolia with love while keeping it away from children and your furry friends.

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