Begonia Cucullata is a delightful and attractive flowering plant that is commonly included as part of decorative flower beds.
With its glossy and succulent leaves, this plant is a favorite of many gardeners as it creates a beautiful mound of foliage wherever it is placed. In this article, our experts list tips and tricks to grow, care for and propagate it.
We tell you little-known secrets on how you can successfully include this in your garden and make your space look attractive. So wait no longer and read on.
- What Is Begonia Cucullata?
- Begonia Cucullata Care
What Is Begonia Cucullata?
Begonia Cucullata, or the Wax Begonia, is an attractive succulent plant with bushy green leaves and white or pink-colored flowers. A classic beauty – it never fails to charm anyone. This begonia origin is from Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, and it can grow 18 inches high and 20 inches wide.
Begonia Cucullata Care
Begonia Cucullata care is easy and being a succulent it will not be taking up too much of your time. Low in maintenance, all that you need to provide is the perfect soil, the right light conditions, adequate warmth, and a certain level of humidity.
This should give you a gorgeous perennial beauty. In this section, our experts delve deeper into each of these aspects so that you can grow a healthy and thriving Wax Begonia.
– Water Requirements
The Begonia Cucullata’s common name is Wax Begonia, and, true to its name, the leaves are glossy and succulent in nature. This also indicates that the plant will not require too much water to sustain its foliage.
Thus water correctly by keeping the soil just moist to keep it blooming and intact throughout the year. Avoid overwatering as the begonia will not tolerate it if it is left to stagnate or remain in the water.
The roots dislike sogginess as this would mean they would not be able to absorb enough oxygen from the soil. At the same time, dry soil too will prevent the roots from taking in nutrients.
This results in a stress condition, and the plant will wilt and look limp. The best practice is to water the plant once a week and increase frequency as the season becomes hotter, scaling back when it is winter.
Additionally, you could do a simple finger test by pushing your finger a few inches into the soil, and if it comes out dry, it indicates that it is indeed time to water the plant.
– Light Requirements
This begonia grows well in bright and partial light to sustain its beautiful foliage. As a tropical flowering plant, it requires at least four to six hours of continuous sunlight that is diffused so that it can produce its vibrant blooms.
The plant will not be able to tolerate over-exposure to sunlight. When the light is low, it will also not react well, so a balance is essential. Moreover, you must avoid subjecting the plant to sudden fluctuations in light as this may result in a shock to the plant.
If you are growing your plant indoors, make sure you move it near to a south or east-facing window. This will give it an adequate amount of bright morning light. In winter, move the plant indoors and grow it under artificial grow lights so that it can sustain its foliage through the season.
– Soil Requirements
The ideal soil for this begonia variant needs to be slightly acidic – between a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. The plant fares well when the soil is well-draining and light. Avoid loamy or clay-like soils as they drain water slowly and put the roots at risk of sitting in water for a long time.
You could increase drainage of the soil by mixing some perlite or peat in it. Alternatively, you could throw in some wood shavings or worm castings to increase aeration. Ensure the pot it is placed in also has proper drainage holes to ensure there is free flow out of water.
– Temperature Requirements
The ideal temperature of the plant is between a range of 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 24 degrees Celsius). At lower temperatures, it may still survive but not produce any blooms.
You may also find that the leaves may also be shed prematurely. In winters, the plant enters a state of dormancy; thus, it is recommended to move the plant indoors when there is frost, chilly winds, or cold drafts.
Also, the plant will not tolerate sudden fluctuations in temperature, and under stress conditions, the leaves may turn brittle and tender. Thus, if you are moving your plant around, you will need to acclimatize it so that they get used to the temperature change gradually.
– Humidity Requirements
Similar to the other variants under the list of begonia classification, the Cucullata too requires an environment with high humidity. The ideal range needs to be between 50 percent to 60 percent.
So if you are living in a dry zone, you’ll have to kick in some extra moisture by either placing a pebble tray filled with water below the plant container or you could group it with other plants to benefit from collective humidity.
Alternatively, you could mist the plant regularly. If you growing indoors, you could either use a humidifier around the plant or again choose a pebble tree to add some moisture.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Like the begonia coccinea, begonia foliosa, begonia sizemoreae, begonia bogneri, or the polka dot begonia, the Cucullata too fares well when it receives occasional top-level feeding. This will also give it an additional boost to produce healthy blooms.
Use a good quality 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer diluted to 1/3 of its strength and applied once every three weeks. The ideal time to fertilize it is during the growing months of spring or summer. Additionally, you can also consider slow-release pellets applied at the base of the plant. Avoid fertilizer burn by scheduling your fertilizing just after watering the plant.
Regularly prune the plant by removing spent flowers and dead and decayed branches. This will not only boost growth, but it will also encourage the production of fresh blooms in the season ahead. Always sterilize your garden pruners and knives before you snip anything to prevent the spread of fungal diseases.
Begonia Cucullata propagation is an easy process, and you could create your offset of the plant with just a few basic gardening tools. It is hassle-free, and you would not need expert gardening skills to succeed.
In this section below, we’re going to explain how you can easily create a healthy and flowering new begonia plant by using stem or leaf cuttings from a mature and healthy plant and a few other basic things, so read on and wait no longer.
– The Right Season To Propagate
The right season to propagate the begonia is in the warm months of spring and summer, when the plant is also in its growing phase. You can utilize the warmth of the season to ensure the roots establish themselves healthily and aid your plant in sprouting fresh growth. Avoid the winter months as the plant anyway enters a state of dormancy, and it will be difficult for it to gain strength and establish thriving roots.
– Tools Required
Keep the below-mentioned tools ready at hand to make your process easy. Before you begin your process, ensure you have sterilized all your equipment with a diluted solution of isopropyl alcohol. You will need a:
- Container or a pot to place the cutting
- Garden pruner
- Plastic sheet with holes to provide humidity
- Appropriate potting mix
Propagation via stem and leaf cuttings is an easy process and faster in comparison to using seeds. Here are the details of the steps to be followed:
- Select a healthy mother plant from which you will source a stem or leaf section. The source plant needs to be pest, bacterial, and fungal disease free. With the help of a sterile pruner, gently snip away a leaf or stem section. Make sure the cut section has at least one node intact.
- Place the cut section in a jar of water. If you are using a leaf section, allow the cut end to callus for a few days.
- Leave the jar of water with the cut section in a warm place, under bright light and undisturbed. You could also cover it with a plastic sheet and inject some moisture around it. Remove this sheet after a few days to prevent the risk of over-humidity. You will also have to change the water every few days to prevent it from becoming murky.
- In a couple of days, you will notice that this section will begin developing its own nascent and juvenile roots. Once the roots have developed, you can move the plant to a bigger pot and place it in the potting mix. Keep the soil lightly moist and in a warm place, providing it with adequate light as per the details in our care section.
It will take a couple of more months for new growth to occur and the plant to establish itself into an adult plant. The process of propagation through leaves is similar to stem cuttings. The only difference is that once you pick a leaf cutting, allow it to callus for a few days; as mentioned earlier, before you place it in water.
The plant is easy to maintain, but it is not devoid of its share of problems. In the section below, we are going to talk about the most common challenges that may be of concern to you, and we’re going to provide you with some quick fix solutions to deal with them.
– Powdery Mildew
Powdery Mildew is a white and round fluffy spot that may occur on foliage. It is an infection that can spread very fast, and if left unattended, it can kill s plant in its entirety.
Powdery mildew is quite common in houseplants, especially on flowering plants, and the begonia is no exception. The best way to tackle this solution is by applying a mixture of baking soda with water and wiping the mold with a damp cloth.
For major infections, you could also use organic solutions of neem oil. You can prevent the occurrence of powdery mildew by avoiding over-watering the plant and by placing it in a well-ventilated spot. Overcrowding of plants, dingy corners, and soggy soil are perfect conditions for this infection to spread easily.
When setting up your garden, make sure you are choosing a well-draining and elevated area, and try to calculate how wide all of your plants are going to get.
– Pest Infestations
The most common pests that attack the plant are slugs, mealybugs, and whitefly insects. These common house garden pests love to chew on the succulent leaves of the begonia and can end up causing real damage to the foliage. The best way to tackle slugs is to set up a polenta trap. This is done by filling a shallow container with moistened polenta and placing it under the plant.
The slugs will find their way to the trap and gather around it in clusters to feed on it. At this time, remove the plant and place it in another spot in your garden.
This is a natural and organic way; however, you can also opt to spray a pesticide over the affected area. For mealworms, aphids, and whiteflies, use an organic pesticide or blast a jet spray of water until all of the insects fall off the foliage.
Isolate the plant as soon as you spot any form of infestation to prevent its spread to nearby plants.
– Yellowing and Dropping Leaves
An overwatered plant will result in leaves turning yellow and dropping before their time. The plant does not like to stay in water for long as this prevents the roots from taking in oxygen.
It results in a stress condition in the plant, thereby causing the leaves to turn yellow and become weak. Keep your soil just slightly moist, and the best way to do it is to do a finger test before you water the plant.
Maintain a proper watering schedule, and you should be able to manage the situation easily. If the plant has been in soggy soil for a while, consider transplanting it as soon as possible into fresh and well-draining soil to enable the plant to cope better. Also, do not over-mist the plant, as excess humidity around it can cause the leaves to drop too soon.
– Root Rot
Root rot is yet another condition caused by overwatering of the plant. When the soil has excess water, it becomes a breeding ground for the growth of fungal diseases, bacterial growth, and algae. This leads to the roots rotting and foliage reacting to the stress by turning brown and also wilting. If you suspect root rot, the first thing to do is to remove the plant gently from the soil and snip away any blackened sections.
Transplant the plant into fresh soil that is well-draining and care for it as per the details mentioned in the care section. Monitor your watering schedule, and you should see your limp plant come back to life soon.
Like most begonia plants, this variant, too, is mildly toxic to humans and animals. The plant contains calcium oxalate, and this crystalline substance tends to cause irritation. Also, the underground parts of the plant are poisonous. Thus it is advisable to keep them away from pets and kids to prevent accidental ingestion of the plant.
If accidentally ingested by humans and animals, apart from the unpleasant sensation in the throat and mouth, they cause intense burning and irritation on the lips, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, drooling, and digestive disorders. It is rarely fatal; however, the unpleasantness can last up to a few hours. If your pet or children have taken it in large quantities, call a medical professional for advice.
– Do Begonias Come Back Every Year?
Most begonias are annuals and only last one season. Some, however, like the Begonia Cucullata, are perennial, coming back year after year.
– Should I Deadhead Begonias?
It is recommended to prune and deadhead begonias. It promotes a bushier plant with more flowers – it helps encourage the plants to produce more flowers.
Having read how to grow this attractive plant easily, you surely would be motivated to include it in your home or garden.
Let us summarize our learning from this detailed guide in the section below:
- The Begonia Cucullata plant is an easy-to-care-for and low-maintenance succulent that is known for its attractive flowers. Commonly used in flower beds, this plant comes with charming blooms along with glossy leaves.
- This evergreen and perennial plant requires well-draining soil and partial and bright light to sustain its foliage. Under high humidity and temperatures, it can spread out its bushy foliage and produce healthy blooms.
- The plant requires to be fertilized with a liquid formula or slow-releasing pellets to boost its blooms and retain its perennial growth.
- You can easily propagate the plant using stem or leaf cuttings, and with just a few basic tools, you can succeed.
- You’ll have to keep pests at bay and maintain good plant hygiene to avoid common challenges. Additionally, monitor the watering schedule, and you will be able to solve most of the problems of the plant.
Now that you have read and understood how easy it is to grow this attractive plant, you can include it in your garden beds and make them look more beautiful. So wait no longer and let this delightful plant enter your home and heart to charm you.