Begonia bipinnatifida is a beautiful type of begonia with leaves that resemble those of a fern.
With the right amount of nutrients, light, and water, you can grow this plant with ease. Keep reading this easy guide to learn all you need to grow your fern leaf begonia.
- What Is Begonia Bipinnatifida?
- Begonia Bipinnatifida Care
What Is Begonia Bipinnatifida?
Begonia bipinnatifida is a begonia with double pinnate leaves having the appearance of a fern. Its leaves can be green, red, pink, or purple and grow to beautify the room. Gardeners and plant lovers are fond of this plant because, it is a beautiful exotic plant.
Begonia Bipinnatifida Care
This may be a rare and beautiful plant, but it indeed is easy to grow. Use the tips below to increase your plant effortlessly:
– Soil Requirements
The first thing that you need to get right when growing your two-pinnate begonia is its potting mix and pot. Its soil or potting mix should consist of one-part regular soil, one-part sphagnum moss, and some extra perlite for aeration. If you are using your regular garden soil, make sure that you sterilize it first. Also, you should sterilize the sphagnum moss if it is not new.
The recommended pH for the begonia plant is pH 6-6.5. If you know that you cannot make the substrate by yourself, you should consider buying a substrate that is suitable for begonia plants from a gardening shop.
As for the pot, you need to make drainage holes below it if there aren’t. These holes will help to discharge excess water so that your plant does not suffocate in the pot. It does not matter if you are growing your fern leaves indoors or outside, you should mulch them. Mulching does not just help to boost your plant’s beautiful appearance, it also helps to keep your plants safe from weeds and underground pests such as fungus gnats and ants.
For indoor plants, you should make use of inorganic mulch such as pebbles, gravel, and leca. These types of mulch will add to the beauty and also prevent weed. As for your outdoor begonias, you may also use organic mulch such as wood shavings if you wish. While organic mulch decomposes, it releases nutrients into the soil for your plants.
– Water Requirements
Two-pinnate begonia plants love consistently moist soil. As long as the soil of the plant is not too dry or too wet, they will grow just fine.
The best times when you water your plants is just after the top layer of their potting mix or soil is dry. A rate of two or even three three times weekly is recommended for watering your fern leaf begonias.
You should increase the plant’s watering rate in the summer months as water will evaporate from the substrate faster. You do not need to water the plant in autumn if you are growing it outside. As for the winter months, the plant will get very slow growth, so you should reduce the watering rate.
If you like, you can water your begonia by misting the leaves. However, only do this in the morning so that the leaves can get dry before night comes.
– Light Requirements
One secret to growing beautiful begonias is that if you want them to produce very beautifully colored flowers, you should grow them in bright light.
As long as your plant has access to the sun, it will show you its colors. You only need to make sure that your begonia has at least six hours of direct sunlight or at least fourteen to sixteen hours of artificial grow light.
Note that over-exposing your begonias to sunlight, especially in the summer months, can lead to sunburn.
– Humidity Requirements
The humidity requirement of plants is worth considering as growing your plants in the wrong range of humidity can harm them. As for the two-pinnate begonia plant, it prefers high humidity, so you should grow it in a room with around 70 percent humidity. The plant will do just fine when you grow it in a room with humidity levels higher than the average.
Do not grow your fern leaf begonia below average humidity. Instead, install a humidifier around the plant so that it can increase the moisture of the plant’s surroundings. You only need one portable humidifier for your plants. However, you can also mist water droplets around the plants’ leaves if you do not want to use a humidifier.
– Temperature Requirements
The two-pinnate begonia is a warmth-loving plant that you can grow at 50 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The best region to grow the plant is any place that falls in USDA hardiness zones 11 above. If you are living in a cold area, you may need to develop the plant in a greenhouse.
You want to grow your plants in a place with a stable temperature. Do not keep the plant close to a heater or any appliance that emits heat. Also, you should shift your begonia away from the sun in the summer months when the temperature is very high.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Just like every other plant, the two-pinnate begonia needs nutrients to grow. If you want to plant leaves to grow very colorful and beautiful, you need to fertilize the plant regularly. However, you do not want to overfeed your begonia so that you do not harm it.
The recommended rate to feed your begonia plants is every two weeks. Make use of a regular liquid or water-absorbable fertilizer diluted to a third of its strength. This means that you should mix one part of the fertilizer with two-part water for your fern leaf begonia.
Fertilize the plant in the active growing season, which comprises the spring and summer months. You should reduce your feeding rate in the fall and stop fertilizing the plant in winter.
– Pruning Requirements
If you do not prune the leaves often, they might grow out of shape and ruin the look of your plant. Pruning the leaves helps you grow your begonia exactly how you want it. Also, pruning helps the plant store energy, especially when you remove weak or dying leaves that were taking nutrients and energy.
You must use sterilized scissors or knives when pruning your begonia plants so that you do not contaminate them when pruning them. Use your tools to keep the plant in shape as well as remove the old and weak leaves below.
After pruning the fern leaf plant, remove the leaves and dispose of them. Do not keep them on the substrate of the plant as they can attract pests and fungi.
Instead of buying another set of plants, you can propagate your mature fern leaf begonias to get more. All you need from a mature plant is its stem or leaf cutting. Assuming that you have the stem cutting ready, these are the two most straightforward methods to propagate the plant with it:
– Propagating By Stem Cutting
When you get the stem cut, wait a day for the cut part to be dry. When it is dry, plant it in sphagnum so that two to three inches of the bottom are buried in the medium. Make sure that you only plant the bottom side of the cutting. With regular watering, the cutting should produce roots in less than ten days.
You can keep the substrate consistently moist for two weeks. Afterward, you want to transfer the rooted plant into the normal potting mix. Also, you should change the watering rate to match the requirement of the plant as discussed earlier.
– Propagating By Stem Cutting in Water
The former method of propagation is easy and guaranteed to work, but you may want to see the roots growing so that you can have the assurance that everything is going as planned. If you’d like to monitor every step while propagating your begonia bipinnatifida plants, you may want to propagate them in a glass of water.
You only need to keep three to four inches of the stem cutting in water inside a clear glass cup. You should change the water in the glass cut every two or three days so that it can stay clean. In five to seven days, you will notice roots growing in the stem cutting.
After seven to fourteen days, you can transfer the fern leaf cutting to its potting mix and water it regularly as discussed earlier. Now, you can grow and propagate your fern leaf begonias with ease.
This plant is easy to grow, but you may face a few challenges when growing it. Here are some examples as well as their solutions:
– Chlorosis of the Leaves
Chlorosis in two-pinnate begonia plants and you can tell that they have it when their leaves become pale or colorless. Chlorosis can have a lot of causes, but the primary reason is due to insufficient light. You want to remember that this plant gets its colorful leaves when it grows in at least six hours of direct sunlight.
If the light is not enough, the colors of the leaves will slowly turn green and in time, they will lose their pigmentation. As long as your two-pinnate begonia plant is not yet dying, you can fix chlorosis by taking it outside or exposing it to more sunlight. If some leaves are too pale, you should prune them so that they do not consume energy from the already weak plant.
Chlorosis can be caused by overwatering as well as feeding problems; therefore this is a general problem.
– Root Rot
Root rot is a fungal attack on your begonia by fungi and other decomposing microbes. Root rot may be very easy to avoid, but it can kill your plants if you are not careful enough. The primary cause of root rot in the fern leaf begonia is when you give it more water than it needs. While the soil remains wet, the roots will start to die and decompose.
The best way to avoid root rot is to strictly follow your watering schedule. Do not water your begonia until the soil is almost dry and do not water it if the humidity is too high. Also, you do not need to water the plant in the rainy months.
If your two-pinnate begonia has root rot, you can tell by the paleness and drooping of the leaves. You should also notice that the plant is slowly dying. In this care, you should remove it from its substrate, use sterilized garden scissors to cut the dead roots, and rinse the healthy roots with clean and running water. Prune the dead leaves as well and then plant the begonia in a new potting mix.
– Leaves Turning Dark
You may notice that the leaves of your begonia are turning dark but do not know the cause. Well, this can be due to feeding them with a fertilizer that is too rich in nitrogen. Mature two-pinnate begonia plants need less nitrogen and more other nutrients as they have passed their vegetative stage. Feeding them with more nitrogen will lead to this problem.
While you do not need to worry too much about your begonia turning dark, this problem can spoil the look of your plant. If the leaves are turning dark, you only need to change the fertilizer to another one that is suitable for begonias.
To help the plant to get its beautiful coloration back, you should flood the potting mix with water to wash off the previous fertilizer before you feed the plants again. You only need to flood the potting mix once. Note that you can use the same brand of fertilizer, just go for a product with a lower amount of nitrogen.
You need to grow your two-pinnate begonia plants in a place where they can receive six or more hours of sunlight daily. However, do not over-expose them to the sun because it can burn their leaves (i.e. they get sunburn). As long as your plants get around six hours of sunlight daily, they will grow to be very colorful.
You can tell that your fern leaf begonias have sunburn when the leaves turn brown and flaky. You should see their edges falling off and the plant will look highly dehydrated. Note that sunburn mostly happens in the summer months. Don’t worry, you can still fix this before it gets out of hand.
You should shift the two-pinnate begonia a few feet away from the source of light and then water it. You can water it through the roots or by misting water on the leaves. Just make sure that the plant still has four to six hours of sunlight while you fix it.
Without nutrients, your fern leaf begonia plants will get pale leaves, stunted growth, and might die. However, feeding them with too many nutrients can also lead to death. The symptoms of overfeeding your two-pinnate begonia plants are similar to sunburn, so you can only tell that you are overfeeding them if they are getting these symptoms after you feed them.
Unlike feeding the plants with a product that is too rich in nitrogen, this problem can kill them. This is why you must fix it immediately. The best way to fix this problem is to cut back on your feeding rate. However, you also need to flood and drain the potting mix with clean water so that excess nutrients can leave.
The presence of pests is a general problem for so many types of plants. If you are growing your fern leaf begonia indoors, you may see very few to no pests around the plant as pests may not have access to the plant. However, you still need to be watchful as pests such as mealybugs, aphids, caterpillars, and others can destroy the beautiful plant.
The best way to tell that there are pests attacking your begonia is when you see them yourself. However, you can also tell when you see their bite marks or irregularly shaped holes on the leaves. Pests do not just spoil the appearance of your plant, they can also cause the death of the plant if left untreated.
For your indoor plants, you want to spray their leaves with soapy water or safe chemical pesticides to get rid of or prevent pests. You should also pick and dispose of every pest that you see around your plant. Now you can easily grow your two-pinnate begonia and are ready to fix problems that you face along the way.
Now you know how easy it is to grow the two-pinnate begonia plant. Please remember the following tips to grow your plant effortlessly:
- Make sure that the potting mix of your two-pinnate begonia is made of sterilized sphagnum.
- To help the colorful leaves of your begonia to stay beautiful, make sure that you prune off the dead and weak ones. Also, keep the plant in shape.
- Grow your plants at around 70 percent humidity. Also, the temperature should just be the average room temperature.
- You can use stem cuttings and leaf cuttings to propagate your begonia. Just make sure that you can get them to root.
- As long as you can give your begonia plant just the right amount of water, temperature, light, and nutrients, you can grow it without problems.
When you decide to start your fern leaf plant journey, remember to use the easy tips in this article.