The begonia dregei is prized for its beautiful leaves, flowers, and stem as an indoor plant. When you grow your plants in the right conditions, they will produce beautiful white flowers in summer.
Each plant produces both male and female flowers and the flowers are easy to identify, this plant is easy to maintain as long as you feed and water it by following a strict plant. Keep reading this guide to learn how to grow and care for this beautiful plant.
- What Is Begonia Dregei Plant?
- Begonia Dregei Care
What Is Begonia Dregei Plant?
The begonia dregei is a common begonia plant that is native to South Africa. This evergreen tropical plant with a tuber has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit and is a popular indoor plant. It can also be called maple leaf begonia or grape leaf begonia.
Begonia Dregei Care
This is a relatively fast-growing plant compared to other plants, so you should get a lot of mature dregeis in no time. Some tips to help you grow your begonias with ease are:
– Soil Requirements
When it comes to their preferred soil, the maple leaf begonias are not picky at all. All they need is a nutritious substrate that drains water quickly. As long as it is humus-rich and has a lot of nutrients, the plants do not care if their soil is heavy. However, you want to go for light and lose substrates as they can help you to avoid many problems in the future.
Pour substrate to fill up a third of the pot and then keep the plant on the substrate. You want to be careful with the roots so that you do not damage them. You should then cover the roots with more substrate and carefully water the plant
The suitable substrate for grape leaf begonias has a neutral or acidic pH, which means somehwere between 6.5 to 7.0. Even when it is in a new pot, as long as you keep the plant in a cool spot, it should adapt to its new pot and substrate in a few hours. As soon as the plant is well-anchored, you should shift the pot to your preferred location and the soil, the plant will thrive.
Mulch helps to maintain soil temperature, prevent excess evaporation of water, and control pests and weeds. Mulch is the barrier between the substrate of your grape leaf begonia and the atmosphere, so if you do not want foreign objects to go near your plant roots, use mulch.
You may use organic mulch such as wood shavings, tree bark, and sawdust for your maple leaf begonias. However, note that these are not so suitable indoors as they can decompose and are not so aesthetically pleasing. For the best look, go for inorganic mulch such as marbles and pebbles.
– Water Requirements
You want to maintain a moist substrate for your dregeis as they do not love excessively wet or dry substrates. Ensure that the substrate is sticky so that the plants can get water and nutrients from it quickly.
Use lukewarm water to water the dregeis after the top two inches of the substrate is dry. You can use your finger or a moisture reader to check the substrate before watering.
You should not water your plants in winter or autumn except if you are living in an arid region or you are growing the plant at a spot where it cannot receive rainfall.
– Light Requirements
Like every other plant, maple leaf begonias need light to grow. Without light, the plants cannot produce energy and will die in no time. However, this plant does not need as much sunlight as other plants. As long as you can give it access to at least four hours of sunlight daily, it can thrive.
This plant does not grow best in direct sunlight, so you want to keep it in a spot where the light is either filtered or indirect. If you are increasing the plant outside, you can expand it under a tree. For indoor plants, you can keep them a few inches away from the window.
– Humidity Requirements
Humidity is essential for plants because they use it to control processes such as transpiration and absorption. Therefore, it is only wise that you grow your plants where the humidity is just right for them. As for grape leaf begonia plants, they prefer 60 to 80 percent humidity. The plants will grow well as long as the moisture is above average.
If you are living in an arid region or season, consider buying a portable humidifier for the plants so that you do not need to worry about humidity anymore. You can also make use of water droplets from a spray bottle to increase the humidity for a few hours.
– Temperature Requirements
Temperature is critical to consider as plants rely on it for almost every process that occurs within them. Your grape leaf begonias need 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit to grow. However, the best temperature for them is 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Just make sure that the temperature is not too high or low for the plant.
Try to grow your plants in a natural instead of a controlled environment so that you do not spend so much on regulating the plants’ growing conditions. When considering a plant to buy, buy the ones that can grow well in your region.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Do not joke with the nutrition of your grape leaves if you want them to produce beautiful leaves and flowers. You can make use of a general indoor plant fertilizer for your young plants. However, when they start to grow flowers, you should use a fertilizer suitable for flowering plants. Make use of a liquid or water-soluble houseplant fertilizer.
The fertilizer should be half or quarter strength according to the concentration of nutrients in it. Fertilize the plants once or twice monthly if you are growing them in a nutrient-rich substrate. You should fertilize them two or three times per month in loose substrates.
– Pruning Requirements
Maple leaves are beautiful because you take good care of them. Without your care, they can grow out of shape and ruin their look. This is why you must prune them regularly (once or twice per year). You need to prune the leaves and flowers that spoil the face of the plant.
Asides from excessively growing leaves, other leaves that you should prune as the weak, yellow, and dying ones. These leaves will continue to suck nutrients from the plant as long as they are still attached, hence, what you must do is that you should prune them off. Keep in mind that you should not leave your plants growing out of control, because it will be tiring to you and stressful to the plant.
Grape leaf begonia plants are straightforward to propagate as they have different methods to do so. Note that the best time to start a dregeis is in late spring or summer. If you have the seed or cutting of the grape leaf begonia, use any of the associated methods below:
– Propagating Through Seeds
If you are lucky, your grape leaf begonia plant will produce seeds after flowering. You can either store these seeds in an airtight and dry container for later or you can start them right away. These seeds are tiny, so you need to treat them with care.
When you want to plant the begonia dregei seeds, you should not bury them in the potting mix. Instead, spread them on the potting mix and cover them with a very thin layer of sand.
Do not pour water into the pot as you can displace the seeds. Instead, you can pour water on the pot or tray saucer so the potting mix can absorb it. If you do not have a saucer, water the seeds by misting them. Note that you should start the seeds in late winter or early spring so that they can have enough roots to adapt to the hot summer months.
– Propagating Through Cutting
Instead of waiting for the seeds, you can easily get new grape leaf begonia plants with the cutting of a mature plant. As long as you can get at least six inches of a branch with leaves from another begonia, you can get a new plant. This process is safer, faster, and easier.
When you collect the cutting using a sterilized tool, wait until the cut heals or callouses and then you can plant it. If you want to speed up the process, dip the bottom part of the cutting into a potassium-rich rooting hormone before planting it in a suitable potting mix. You just need to place it in a cool and well-lit plant and then water it regularly afterward.
In less than two weeks, you should see a bulge at the bottom end of the stem or tuber forming. You should also notice new leaves growing. These are signs that your grape leaf begonia cutting has rooted successfully and growth has begun.
While you are now a pro in growing this plant, continue reading to learn some problems that you should avoid or fix:
Here are some problems that you can encounter. However, note that these problems are very easy to prevent or fix:
Even though the grape leaf begonia plant loves a consistently moist soil or potting mix, you do not want to grow it on a soggy substrate. The tuber of this plant will start to decay if you grow it on a substrate with too much water. Also, the roots and leaves will begin to deteriorate. This means that the plant has gotten root rot.
Overwatering is the primary cause of root rot and you can tell that your plant has root rot when you see that it is dying slowly leaf by leaf. This usually happens when you do not follow a strict watering schedule, so the best way to prevent root rot is to plan when you must water the plants. Make sure that you make use of the watering tips discussed earlier.
If your plant has root rot and is dying, the first thing to do is to carefully remove it from the soil. Examine the roots, prune off the dying ones and gently rinse the healthy ones. Also, remove the weak and dead leaves from the plant. When it is dry, plant it in a new substrate and keep it in a cool place until it starts to grow.
Another watering problem that you can encounter when growing your maple leaf begonia is when you wait until the soil is parched before you water the plant. While you may not quickly see the symptoms of dehydration, this problem can kill the plant if you do not quickly water it.
Some ways to tell that your begonias are dehydrated are when their leaves are turning yellow and falling, the substrate is completely dry and you can see a physically weak plant. You do not need to repot the plant in this case. Instead, water it regularly as discussed earlier. If this is happening in summer, you should shift the plant to a cooler spot.
– Insufficient Light
Something confusing about the maple leaf begonia is its light requirements. As a plant that tolerates a wide range of light exposure, this begonia usually finds itself growing in spots without enough light. If you are growing begonias, you want to make sure that they get at least four hours of sunlight daily.
You can keep them in spots where they are slightly shaded from the sun, especially in the hot afternoon summer sun. However, you must remember that they need light to grow, so you do not want to grow them in a room with no light.
If you do not have access to enough sunlight in your room, you should use inflorescent light to support the plant. Make sure that it gets at least eight hours of this light so that it can thrive. One of the most common ways to tell that your plants need more light is when their leaves are losing their color and not falling off the plant.
Unlike other types of houseplants, the grape leaf begonia plant loves fertilizer with low strength. If you zealously give it more nutrients than it needs, you may be killing it as this can lead to the burning of the plant. This means that the plant will not get enough water from the substrate and you will soon find the leaves wrinkling and turning brown.
Remember that you only need to fertilize your plants in their active growing season and cut back on their feeding in other months, especially winter months. You want to follow the directions that come with the product and make sure that you give your plants only what they need.
Note that if you do not want to fertilize your plants, you can grow them on a nutrient-rich substrate and they will do just fine. Amending their soil with compost can save you a lot of money and time.
Some pests that frequently attack maple leaf begonias are mealybugs, aphids and scale. You can also see caterpillars and fungus gnats on plants that grow outside. Always remember that pests are disastrous, so you want to take them away from your plant, as far away as possible. You should make use of pesticides if need be.
Some signs that pests are attacking your plants are when the leaves and flowers have bite marks or holes inside of them and when you see the pests on the plant.
A natural repellent for pests such as scales is the neem seed oil. Applying this oil to the leaves of your begonias can prevent many types of pests. You can also use soapy water occasionally, especially if there are a lot of pests in your garden (i.e., for outdoor plants). If you can find fungus gnats around your plants, the best way to remove them is to cut back on your plant watering rate.
When it is summer, you may likely see burn marks or tips in the leaves of your grape leaf begonias. This simply means that the plant is exposed to too much sunlight and a very high temperature. Another way to tell that your plant has sunburn is when the substrate dries up very quickly.
Sunburn can kill plants, so you want to remove them from the scorching heat of summer. As long as your plants have four to six hours of sunlight daily, they can grow just fine. You can even grow them in a shaded place such as below a taller plant.
The first thing to do when your plants have sunburn is to transfer them to a cooler place and then water them with lukewarm water. You should also remove dead leaves if any and wait until they start to produce new leaves.
While growing the begonia dregeis may be difficult for some, you can now easily grow it because of this easy guide. Please remember the following:
- Make sure that the begonia substrate is nutrient-rich so that you do not have to spend too much on fertilizing the plants.
- The ideal temperature and humidity to grow your plants are 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit and 60 to 80 percent humidity.
- You can propagate your grape leaf begonia plants by using their seeds or cutting.
- You want to use half or quarter-strength fertilizer for your plants. Do not fertilize them outside their growing season.
- Use neem seed oil or soapy water to prevent pests such as scaled from attacking your begonia leaves.
What are you waiting for? Make sure that you grow your begonias like a pro just as this easy guide has taught you.
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