Begonia Boliviensis Care Infographic

Begonia boliviensis or Santa Cruz plant of the Begoniaceae family is the definition of beauty as it could be the exact plant that you need in your garden. This is a plant prized for its fiery red or orange flowers and beautiful leaves.

This could be the most beautiful plant that you have seen, you can surely grow your Santa Cruz plant with ease. All you need is to stick to the growth requirements and care tips for this Begonia genus plant written in this article.

What Is Begonia Boliviensis?

The genus “Begonia” is a genus of flowering plants and it happens to be the fifth-largest flowering plants genus with more than 1700 species or representatives. This beautiful genus is indigenous to the regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, South and Central America, and other tropical and subtropical places. 

Begonia Boliviensis Care

Caring for Santa Cruz plants is very easy so long as you are growing them in their preferred growing conditions. Just make sure that you stick to the steps and recommendations. Here are some plant care tips as well as requirements of Santa Cruz plants:

SoilSoil Requirements

potted Begonia boliviensisUnlike most potted plants, you can grow your Santa Cruz plants with loamy soil. The beautiful Santa Cruz accepts soil that is nutrient-rich and well-drained.

When using loamy soil in pots, it becomes a bit compacted and not well-drained, so you will have to amend it with sand, perlite, and other products that can increase its drainage ability. 

Before using garden soil as the substrate for your potted Santa Cruz, you may want to bake it first to eliminate harmful microbes and pests in it.

Also, you want to search for and remove unwanted objects from the soil. Please note that the recommended pH for Santa Cruz plants is 6.5 to 7, so you want to put that in mind when amending the soil.

If you cannot make the substrate by yourself, you should buy a normal potting mix from any gardening store and amend it with compost. 

You want to use mulch for your Santa Cruz plants for reasons such as:

  • Regulates soil temperature and moisture: With mulch on the substrate surface, you can prevent excess sunlight (source of heat) from entering the substrate and also excess moisture from evaporating out of the substrate.
  • Can be a source of nutrients: If you use organic mulch for your Santa Cruze plants, the plants can get extra nutrients as the mulch starts to decompose. Note that organic mulch is not the best for indoor plants.
  • Prevents fungus gnats from going into the soil: Fungus gnats love a damp substrate, so they are attracted to places with Santa Cruz plants as these plants love a consistently moist substrate. Mulch prevents these insects from entering the substrate.

Well, with the size and shape of your Santa Cruz plant, you can stop using mulch when it has become mature because it can cover the substrate by itself. However, you want to use mulch for your young Santa Cruz plants to provide the benefits of mulch.

For outdoor Santa Cruz plants, use organic mulch as they are cheaper and provide nutrients to your plants. As for indoor plants, use inorganic mulch as they are more beautiful and do not decompose.

WaterWater Requirements

With a proper substrate, you can never overwater your Santa Cruz plants. They love regular watering and will appreciate a consistently moist substrate. You can water them five to seven times weekly in the growing season. However, you should reduce the watering rate in the fall and winter.

Please remember that the Santa Cruz substrate must be well-drained. If the substrate is compacted and too heavy, your Santa Cruz plants can get root rot due to overwatering. Also, remember to perforate holes into the container, bucket, hanging basket or pot so that the excess water can flow out easily.

As a helpful tip, do not allow the entire Santa Cruz substrate to run dry.

LightLight Requirements

Santa Cruz plants love a partial shade or dappled bright light. This means that even if they need bright light, they do not grow so well under direct sunlight. If you are growing your Santa Cruz indoors, do not place them directly beside a window or on a windowsill as overexposure to direct sunlight can lead to sunburn in the plants.

You should keep your plant a foot or two away from the window. So long as the room is well-lit, they should grow just fine. In the fall and winter months when the amount of sunlight entering the room reduces, your Santa Cruz plants will grow just fine as they will have a slower growth rate by then.

HumidityHumidity Requirements

Begonia boliviensis needs humidity to help regulate water movement by transpiration. A humid-rich room helps the plant to grow quickly and prettier. This means that you want to grow your Santa Cruz plants in a room with humidity higher than the average. Thus, humidity levels of 50 to 60 percent are recommended for this plant.

You want to keep your Santa Cruz in a room without drafts or strong wind. Also, make sure that the room humidity does not drop below 50 percent for long. To help your Santa Cruze plants, consider installing a portable humidifier around them so that you do not need to worry about the humidity anymore. 

TemperatureTemperature Requirements

You need to first consider the temperature needs of your Santa Cruz plant before you bring it home. This is a heat-loving plant and it is also a drought-tolerant plant. During the day, make sure that your Santa Cruz grows in a room with 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, the room should be at 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

To help save you the burden of always checking the room temperature, only grow your Santa Cruz in the recommended USDA hardiness zones. This plant grows best in USDA zones 8 to 11. If you do not live in places that are classified as zones 8 to 11, you should consider looking for other Begonia boliviensis varieties or another plant that is suitable for your zone.

FertilizingFertilizing Requirements

You need to feed your Santa Cruz plants with a balanced fertilizer. These plants need equal amounts of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus so that they can grow beautiful leaves and flowers throughout the growing season. You can feed them occasionally, for example, every three weeks in the summer and spring months.

If you do not want to spend a lot of money on your Santa Cruz fertilizer, you can buy soil amendment products to amend the substrate so that it becomes nutritious. Examples of these products are compost, coffee grounds, and bone meal. You can use rotted manure indoors.

GroomingPruning Requirements

Now, it is very important that you properly prune your Santa Cruz plants when they grow uncontrollably. While this plant is super beautiful, it can lose its beauty when you do not properly prune the leaves and stems so that it can stay in shape. You should prune your Santa Cruz plants twice or three times per year using sterilized tools.

As a fast-growing plant, Santa Cruz will soon grow larger than its current pot. Even though you can prune it above the substrate so that it can stay beautiful, the roots will continue to grow. If you notice that the roots are shooting above the substrate or your plant has stunted growth, it is time to repot it. Transplant your Santa Cruz to a slightly larger pot.


The Santa Cruz plant may look like it is a complicated plant, but it is super easy to grow and propagate. So long as you follow the propagation steps and make use of sterilized tools, you should face no problem while propagating the plant. Note that there are many ways to propagate your Santa Cruz plants. However, we will discuss the two most common and easiest methods.

– Propagating by Stem Cuttings

You know how Santa Cruz plants grow. They have a lot of stems that produce leaves and flowers, so all you need to propagate the plant is a healthy stem. Using a sterilized pruning knife, collect a stem that is at least 6 inches tall. Wait for a day for the cut to be dry and then you can plant it.

If you want to increase your chance of successfully propagating your Santa Cruz by stem cutting, you may want to buy a rooting hormone from any gardening store and use it to encourage the fast growth of your Santa Cruz roots. Your cutting should start growing in a few weeks, just make sure that you water it regularly.

– Propagating by Root Division

What happens when you do not want to cut your plant stems, but you still want to propagate the plant? Well, there is another way to propagate your Santa Cruz asides from stem cutting, but note that this method is not as easy as the former. You will have to bring out the entire plant from its substrate to reveal the roots.

This is the best method of propagating your Santa Cruz especially if you want to propagate it while repotting it.

When you reveal the roots, you can see the stems and their roots. All you have to do is to locate the roots of a healthy outer stem and collect the stem while carefully untangling the roots.

There should be minor cuts on the roots, so wait a few hours before replanting your Santa Cruz. Please make sure that you plant your Santa Cruz in a new substrate afterward.

Common Problems 

When growing some Santa Cruz plants, you might encounter any of the following problems if you are not careful enough:

– Overwatering

When the humidity is very high, you may see wet and brown patches on your Santa Cruz plant leaves. These patches are a sign of root rot which indicates that you are overwatering your plants. Remember that you do not need to water your plants in the fall. Only water them when the substrate is dry and rainfall does not fall on them directly.

In case your plants are suffering from root rot or powdery mildew, you need to remove them from their current substrate. Use clean and running water to rinse the Santa Cruz roots before planting them in a new substrate and container. It would also help when you prune the affected leaves and roots from the plant.

– Not Watering Enough

Note that even though Santa Cruz can get root rot when you overwater them, these plants love regular watering. This means that you should water them regularly. Then, how can you prevent overwatering? Well, you can prevent overwatering in your Santa Cruz plants by amending their substrate so that it is well-drained.

If you do not give your Santa Cruz plants enough water, they can die by wilting. You should see that their leaves are becoming pale and the plant looks generally weak. You may also notice that the plant which was standing firm in the morning is drooping at noon when the atmosphere is hot.

– Insufficient Light

You know that Santa Cruz plants do not grow so well when you expose them to too much direct sunlight. Even though they prefer indirect or dappled sun, you want to make sure that they still get direct sunlight. When you are growing your Santa Cruz in dappled sun or shade, make sure that they get up to six or more hours of light.

If your Santa Cruz plants have insufficient light, you should notice that they are etiolated and do not grow as quickly as they should. You should also see yellow leaves and the flowers dropping. You only need to give them more sun exposure to correct this and they should be normal in some weeks.

– Over-Fertilizing

The leaves and flowers of your plant are equally beautiful, so you want to feed your plants with a fertilizer that has equal proportions of the major nutrients so that your plant can stay pretty and grow healthy. However, you may sometimes over-fertilize your plant and this can burn the plant leaves.

If you notice that the edges of your Santa Cruz leaves are brown and flaky, you may be feeding the plant with too many nutrients.

One way to quickly correct this is by flooding the Santa Cruz substrate with clean water (make sure that it drains quickly). Avoid overfeeding the plants by only feeding them occasionally instead of regularly.

– Sunburn

Do not grow your Santa Cruz plants under direct sunlight for long. If your plants must receive direct sunlight, it should be only in the morning or evening.

Make sure that you shade them from the afternoon sun, especially in the summer months. Begonia boliviensis can get sunburnt when grown under six or more hours of direct sun daily.

One way to tell that your Santa Cruz is sunburnt is by observing brown leaves and drying flowers. Also, the plants will consume more water than they usually do. They can also get stunted growth or start to wilt. You should shade your Santa Cruz if you notice these signs.

Now you know some problems that you can encounter when growing Santa Cruz and how to prevent and avoid them. You are now ready to grow some Santa Cruzes.

Vivid Red Flowers of Begonia boliviensis


– Where To Find Begonia Boliviensis Plants?

This is a very beautiful plant, so you can be sure to find it in local flower shops as well as online gardening stores. Well, search for Santa Cruz plants locally before going online so that you can physically examine them before buying and bringing them home. You want to make sure that you are buying a healthy plant.

You should buy a fairly matured Santa Cruz in the spring months or other months in the growing season so that you can observe the leaves and flowers. Select the variety with your preferred flowers and examine the leaves for spots and cuts.

– How Can I Identify Santa Cruz Plant?

You can identify Begonia boliviensis by its fiery reddish or orange flowers that grow amongst large green leaves. The Santa Cruz plant has vivid elongated flowers with an elegant and cascade-like pattern. Its flowers can grow two to three inches long while the entire plant itself can grow to 16 inches in length and 20 inches in width.

Other common plants in the genus are begonia veitchii, begonia bogneri, polka dot begonia, begonia bangsamoro, and begonia cucullata. Begonia boliviensis, which is a species in the genus, goes by other names such as ‘Santa Cruz’ and ‘Begonia Bonfire.’

The leaf and flower coloration contrasts each other to produce this majestic sight in your garden. If you want to upgrade the looks of your garden from zero to ten, this is the plant for you. This plant blooms from spring to frost, so you get to have a beautiful sight in your garden in your most active seasons of the year.

– What Are the Uses of Begonia Boliviensis?

If you have a flower or potted garden and you simply want it to be more beautiful, the Begonia boliviensis plant is right for you.

You can grow it on your patios as well as in little pots indoors. However, remember that the striking color of this plant (red) matches only a limited background, so you want to keep the plant in a place where its color will be appreciated.

Begonia boliviensis is truly beautiful and you’d surely want to grow it. Well, it is super easy to grow so long as you feed it with the right nutrients, water it when you should, and grow it under the right conditions in terms of temperature, humidity, and light. Continue reading to find out how to grow your Santa Cruz with ease.

The flowers of your Santa Cruz plants are surely the main feature. This means that you need to make sure that the plant continues to bloom and that the bloom stays as beautiful as possible. The best way to care for your Santa Cruz bloom is to feed the plant with a balanced fertilizer or one rich in phosphorus.

So long as you grow your Santa Cruz plant in the right conditions, the bloom should do just fine. As for the leaves, you also want to make sure that they stay green and beautiful. You should prevent pests such as caterpillars from eating the leaves. Also, remember to occasionally mist your Santa Cruz leaves with water droplets.

Flowers in Begonia Boliviensis


The Santa Cruz plant is easy to grow and care for, right? While you are ready to grow your Santa Cruz, please remember the following points from this article:

  • Use a balanced fertilizer to feed your Santa Cruze plants so that they will have a balanced growth between their leaves and flowers.
  • While this plant prefers very high levels of humidity, it can grow perfectly fine between 50 and 60 percent humidity.
  • You need to regularly prune your Santa Cruz plants so that they can stay beautiful and in shape.
  • The recommended USDA hardiness zones to grow your Santa Cruz plants are zones 8 to 11.
  • For indoor plants, make use of inorganic mulch. You can use organic mulch for outdoor plants.

Carefully make sure of the recommendations and follow the steps listed in this article to grow your Santa Cruz plants with ease.

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