The beautiful Begonia sparreana plant creates beautiful pink flowers on bright red vines. You’ll love having this Begonia hanging out in a hanging basket in your home.
A Begonia sparreana needs bright but indirect sunlight to thrive. For soil, you’re going to need a well-draining loamy soil. The soil should always be moist but never saturated.
There are almost 2000 subspecies of the Begonia sparreana. Which means you have a lot to choose from.
The plant originates from Ecuador and other similar warm climates. This is why high humidity and warmer temperatures are critical to its’ health.
Caring for a Begonia sparreana plant is a bit different than other begonias. Especially in the soil arena.
But we’ll walk you through every step of caring for this plant. You’ll have a happy Begonia with beautiful blooming perennials in no time.
- 1 Begonia Sparreana Plant Care
- 2 Common Problems with the Begonia Sparreana
- 3 Tips for an Unhappy Begonia Sparreana
- 4 Varieties of Begonias
- 5 Begonia Sparreana FAQ
- 6 Conclusion
Begonia Sparreana Plant Care
A Begonia sparreana plant needs well-draining soil. Loamy soil is perfect for this particular plant. Loam soil is sand, silt, and some clay.
The sand in the soil mix ensures that excess water can drain to the bottom. It has great aeration because the particles are large.
The clay in the soil mix does the opposite. It holds onto moisture to hydrate the plant.
So, it’s holding onto enough moisture for a happy plant but with the sand, it’s not holding onto too much moisture. This is because the particles in clay are small.
Plus, clay is full of nutrients that your Begonia will love.
And the silt in the soil holds both of these elements together. Silt has medium-sized particles that make sure both sand and clay mix well.
You make check the balance of the three ingredients by touch.
If there’s too much sand in the soil, you’ll feel the harsh coarseness. And it won’t stay in a ball.
If the soil has too much clay, It will stay in a ball and it will harden after a while. And if the soil has too much silt it will create a slimy ball.
The perfect loam soil mix has 40% sand, 40% silt, and 20% clay. And the pH of the soil should be 6 or 7 pH.
When you form a ball with the perfect balance, the loamy soil will create a soft ball. The ball will break apart if you poke it.
The Begonia sparreana needs bright but indirect sunlight. When this plant sits in direct sunlight, the leaves will burn. It can burn holes right through the plant or it can leave nasty scorch marks.
If you use artificial light for your houseplants, place the plant a few inches away.
Whether you use sunlight or artificial light, rotate your plant now and then. This ensures all your plant is getting the light it needs to thrive.
The soil of a Begonia sparreana plant should always be moist. But you want to avoid saturated soil because this will lead to an over-watered plant.
An over-watered plant will have yellow leaves. The growth will slow. When it gets bad enough, your plant will develop root rot, also known as wet feet. Saturated soil doesn’t allow oxygen to get through to the roots. Which causes the roots to start to rot.
Root rot can be fatal to your Begonia plant if you don’t catch it right away. If only a few roots are rotten, you can trim them. But if all the roots are rotten, there isn’t anything you can do to save the plant.
To check if your plant needs watering, stick your finger into the soil up to your knuckle. If the soil is moist down to your fingertip, wait to water it. But if it’s dry, it’s time to water the plant.
During the warmer months, you’ll need to water the Begonia sparreana about twice a week. During the colder months, you won’t need to water it as much. The cold helps the soil hold hydration for longer.
The temperature range for a Begonia sparreana should range between 60F (15C) to 95F (35C).
This plant prefers warmer temperatures. You want to avoid freezing temperatures or frost forming on the leaves. This will kill the Begonia sparreana.
Begonia sparreana plants love high humidity. This is because these plants originate from hot and humid climates.
Most homes don’t have the humidity it takes to make a plant like this flourish. So, you have to create the humidity yourself. This is simple to do and there are several methods you can try out.
The easiest way to create humidity is to use a humidifier. This lets you control how much humidity the room is getting.
Another way to create humidity is by spritzing leaves. Once the water evaporates, the moisture goes straight for the plant.
But if you choose to use this method, you have to be very careful. Spray the leaves sparingly. Otherwise, powdery mildew will appear.
The best method is the pebble tray method. You fill a tray to the top with pebbles. Then you fill the tray with water. Make sure the water doesn’t sit above the pebbles.
Place your plant on top of the pebbles. When the water evaporates, it creates moisture in the air. This goes to your plant right away.
You only have to refill the tray with water once all the water has evaporated.
When a Begonia sparreana is still juvenile, it needs fertilizer with extra phosphorous. Phosphorous ensures that the roots of the plant grow.
Once the plant has matured, it likes fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen. Nitrogen is what creates and maintains a lush, green plant. If the flowers don’t start to bloom, then there may be too much nitrogen in the fertilizer.
Only fertilize during the warmer months or the plant’s growing months.
There are two main ways to propagate a Begonia sparreana. You can either propagate using the root division method or the leaf cutting method.
We’ll walk you through both propagation methods below.
The Begonia sparreana plant doesn’t grow to be very tall. It won’t grow to be taller than 12 inches. In most cases, it doesn’t come even close. This is because it vines out instead of growing up.
You’ll need to re-pot your Begonia sparreana about once a year. Otherwise, it becomes root-bound and starts to stress out. A stressed plant is vulnerable to everything and anything.
A good way to decide if it’s time to re-pot is to check the drainage holes of the plant pot. The roots will start to stick through the drainage holes. This means they need more space to branch out.
When you go to re-pot your plant, make sure you use a plant pot that’s only a bit bigger than the original. When the roots have too much room, it stresses out as well.
Begonia Sparreana Propagation Steps
You have two choices when it comes to propagating your Begonia sparreana. The best method is the root division method. This produces the healthiest plants.
If you’re not comfortable with the division method, you can use the leaf cutting method.
Using Root Division
- First, you have to dig up your Begonia sparreana plant. You have to be super careful so you don’t damage the roots.
- Now it’s time to clean the roots. This allows you to see what you’re doing so you don’t hurt the roots in the process. Run a faucet over the roots to get all the soil off. But make sure the water isn’t on full blast.
- If there are any damaged roots, you need to remove them. This keeps the original Begonia healthy. It also makes sure the new plant isn’t rendered by the damaged roots. To do this, use a pair of sterilized pruning shears. You can use isopropyl alcohol to sterilize the shears.
- You should be able to divide the roots by hand. But if you’re nervous doing it by hand, use a pair of sterilized pruning shears.
- Lay the new roots on a paper towel. They need to dry out before you plant them.
- While you’re waiting, get the plant pot ready. The plant pot should have drainage holes. Make sure you’re using well-draining loam soil.
- After the roots are dry, you can go ahead and plant them. You want the roots all the way under the soil.
- It’s time to care for your new plant like you do the original Begonia sparreana. The soil should always be moist and there should be high humidity. It needs bright but indirect sunlight. Rotate the plant so the sun hits all areas.
Using Leaf Cuttings
- You have to get an adequate Begonia sparreana leaf cutting (or flower cutting). The leaf cutting should have three inches of the petiole attached. The petiole is the thin stem that connects the leaf to the rest of the plant. You want to use a pair of sterilized pruning shears to get your leaf cutting.
- Once you have your leaf cutting, dip it in rooting hormone. This helps promote rooting on the leaf cutting.
- You need to get your plant pot ready for the leaf cutting. The plant pot needs drainage holes to make sure excess water doesn’t sit at the bottom. Use loamy soil to keep it well-draining.
- Now it’s time to plant the leaf cutting in soil. You don’t want to only stick the leaf cutting into the soil. It needs to sit at a 45-degree angle. Pack the soil tight to keep the cutting standing up.
- Trapping moisture will get your new plant growing faster. It’ll get the roots growing and branching out. To trap moisture, wrap the leaf cutting with plastic wrap. If the plastic wrap doesn’t stay on its own, you can use tape to hold it to the cutting. Keep the plastic wrap on until at least three new leaves have grown.
- All that’s left is to care for your new Begonia sparreana plant. Sit it in either a north or east-facing window so it gets indirect sunlight. Keep the soil moist at all times.
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Common Problems with the Begonia Sparreana
Like any indoor plant, there are a few pests that gravitate towards the Begonia sparreana.
One plant pest you might find in your Begonia is thrips. Thrips are tiny little creatures with wings. According to the University of California, thrips measure to be less than 1/20 inch long.
Thrips like dry air so if you keep the room humid, they shouldn’t be an issue.
Thrips feed on the sap from your plant. This means it steals the hydration and nutrients in the sap. These elements are important to keeping your plant healthy. They’re also needed to help the plant go through photosynthesis.
The worst part about having an infestation is that they carry several plant diseases. They bite into a plant with a disease and then migrate to a new plant. When they go to feed on the new plant, that disease is transferred.
Spider mites also enjoy the Begonia sparreana plant. Spider mites aren’t actual insects but arachnids instead. They have eight legs and are hard to see.
To check if you have a spider mite infestation, place a piece of white paper under the plant. Then shake the plant. Be gentle. The spider mites will fall onto the paper.
Like thrips, spider mites feed on your plant’s sap. When an infestation grows too large, your plant can become damaged. In the worst case scenario, they can kill your plant.
Mealybugs are always a possibility with any indoor plant. These insects are soft-bodied and they’re covered in white fluff. The white fluff protects them from predators.
Mealybugs like to hide under the leaves and feed on your plant. They also steal the sap. So, they steal all the important stuff your plant needs to thrive.
When they feed, they leave a sticky residue behind. This residue is called honeydew and it’s the waste from the feedings. Honeydew attracts ants and can even cause sooty mold.
Treating plant pest infestations doesn’t have to be difficult. Our favorite way to treat plants is with neem oil. This all-natural oil isn’t known to hurt plants but it suffocates pests.
You want to dilute the neem oil with water in a spray bottle. Then spray your Begonia down with the oil. Within minutes you’ll see plant pests popping up deceased. All you have to do is wipe the dead bugs from your plant.
You’ll want to repeat this process in about three days. This ensures you get all the pests plus any new ones that hatched.
Tips for an Unhappy Begonia Sparreana
All Begonia plants are vulnerable to plant disease. But if you catch these plant diseases early, they can be easily remedied.
Here are a few issues you may come across with your Begonia sparreana plant.
Your Begonia Sparreana Plant’s Leaves are Curling
When the leaves on a Begonia sparreana plant are curling, there’s a humidity issue. You want to up the humidity in the room.
If you need to create humidity fast, a humidifier is your best bet. The only issue is that they can be pricey. Otherwise, the pebble tray method is your best bet.
So you can always measure the humidity in the room, install a hygrometer. Hygrometers can be stuck almost anywhere and they’re pretty accurate devices. You’ll always know if you need to up the humidity with one of these devices handy.
Your Begonia Sparreana Has a Powdery Substance on the Leaves
The powdery substance found on a Begonia sparreana is powdery mildew. This can be caused by several factors. But the main factors include poor lighting or over-watering.
First, check the soil to see if it’s saturated. If the soil is saturated (not moist), change the soil out. Otherwise, your plant will continue to sit in all that moisture.
Before you water your plant from now on, make sure you always check the soil. You can do this by sticking your finger into the soil. Only water the Begonia if the soil is dry.
If the soil isn’t the problem, make sure your plant is getting enough light. Place it in a west or south-facing window instead. But use sheer curtains so the sun isn’t blaring down.
Or move your Begonia sparreana plant closer to the artificial light you’re using. Make sure you don’t place it right under it.
When your plant has powdery mildew, you will need to remove the infected leaves. If you don’t, the mildew will start to infect the other leaves.
Your Begonia Sparreana’s Leaves Have Brown or Black Spots
A Begonia sparreana plant with brown or black spots has Leaf Spot Disease. Leaf Spot is caused by fungi or bacteria.
When it’s not treated, it can spread to the rest of your plant. Which is why you need to remove any infected leaves right away. Change out the soil for drier soil.
When a plant has Leaf Spot, it’s being over-watered. As we’ve stated, over-watering a plant can cause so many problems for your plant.
We can’t repeat enough how important it is to check the soil before you water the Begonia. It doesn’t take long and you can always tell by touch.
It might help to make a watering schedule. You’ll still want to check the soil but after a while you’ll get an idea of when your plant needs water.
Make sure you water your Begonia sparreana plant less during the winter months.
Varieties of Begonias
There are so many Begonias you can pamper in your home. Some of these plants produce flowers while others don’t. Either way, you’ll find one that suits you.
Here are some of our favorite Begonia species.
The Begonia brevirimosa is a fun plant. It does produce little perennials. But it’s not the flowers that intrigue us. It’s the cool black and red leaves.
This Begonia plant produces pretty little white flowers between the leaves. The leaves are an oval shape.
The Begonia boliviensis plant has thin leaves. But the flowers stand out. These flowers are bright and funky orange.
This plant is also called the “Iron Cross Begonia”. This is because in the middle of the green leaves is a design. The design is in the shape of an iron cross.
Begonia Sparreana FAQ
Is the Begonia sparreana toxic?
Yes, the Begonia sparreana is toxic to both pets and people. The leaves are covered in calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals affect the throat and breathing.
Can I plant a Begonia sparreana during winter?
We don’t suggest planting a Begonia sparreana in the cold months. This is because frost makes the leaves delicate. It’s too easy to harm your plant in the process.
Why won’t my Begonia sparreana flower?
If a Begonia sparreana plant doesn’t flower, the biggest reason is the fertilizer. You might not be fertilizing your plant enough. Or you’re not using the right type of fertilizer. Keep in mind, some plants flower slower than others.
The Begonia sparreana plant is gorgeous. If you’re looking for a flowering Begonia, you’ll want one of these plants right away.
All this Begonia needs is a bit of love and care. In no time you’ll have those buds flowering.