Begonia listada has large leaves with a bright green line running down its center. Coupled with its elegant white flowers that bloom during spring this plant will give your living space a certain funk and coolness that no other plant does.
To grow the most healthy Begonia listada, you must properly fulfill all its care requirements.
- What Is Begonia Listada?
- Begonia Listada Care
What Is Begonia Listada?
Begonia listada is also known as the Striped begonia and is a native specie of Brazil. It is an evergreen succulent with a shrub-like growth habit. It produces beautiful bright-green, velvet-textured leaves that are mahogany on their lower sides. In spring, this plant produces small white flowers.
Begonia Listada Care
This flower is not particularly difficult to take care of. Very simply put you can ensure it has indirect, bright light, keep it warm and have the proper humidity levels to keep this plant happy all year round.
– Water Requirements
Water your Begonia frequently using only a small to moderate amount of water. This is because it likes its soil to be moist but not soggy most of the time. You will have to water once a week during hot and dry summer and less frequently during winter.
It is best to use distilled water for the health of your flowering plant. Municipal tap water use causes too much salt and mineral build-up in the soil and the plant’s leaves. So, use distilled water at a lukewarm or room temperature.
It is safer to check how dry the soil is each time you water. We love using a moisture meter for this task. A moisture meter reading of two or less within the top three inches of the soil is your green signal to go ahead with watering.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a moisture meter to check your soil’s dryness levels. You can make do with just inserting a stick within the top three inches from the top. The plant is ready to be watered if it comes out with dry soil crumbs.
– Light Requirements
Listada Begonia is not a plant that can tolerate direct beams of sunlight. However, it does need bright enough light for most of the day to grow and produce flowers. Ensure it gets this light indirectly, filtered, or in a dappled manner.
It would be best to have a shaded spot within a yard to keep this plant safe. The leaves of a tree provide the best and the most natural shade.. that this plant uses in nature.
Inside the house, the best light is either through an eastern-facing window or a southern-facing one. The light from the latter window during the mid-day can get a bit intense, and you will have to place a curtain over it. If you are keeping this plant away from the window in a corner, then you should keep rotating it so that all sides get equal light.
Nowadays, growing a Begonia without access to natural light is possible. You need a couple of full-spectrum LED grow lights that you can install in the light fixture above where this plant is kept. Turn these lights on for the amount of time specified by their manufacturer.
– Soil Requirements
In an outdoor environment, the best soil for begonia is humus-based soil with good drainage. If you want to grow it indoors, a different potting mix will need to be made. Mix equal parts of silt, clay, and sand to make the perfect soil.
The pH of your soil needs to be slightly acidic for a begonia to absorb nutrients through its roots. Dissolve some of your potting mix in water and then put a litmus paper in it to see what results in it comes up with. Alkaline soil can be easily made acidic by gradually adding some organic ingredients.
Do not use metal pots to plant the begonia, as it gets hot and cold quickly. It allows zero air circulation through the soil. Clay and terracotta pots are the healthiest options. Drainage holes at the bottom of the pot must be adequate.
– Temperature Requirements
The range of temperature a begonia can tolerate is from 50 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature needs to be around 66 degrees. A begonia can be quite picky when it comes to its temperature requirements.
Naturally, a, even in the form of cold air drafts for a very short period. This means that the plant must be kept away from cold air vents if it is grown indoors.
– Humidity Requirements
You need to strive for 60 to 80 percent humidity and 90 to 100 percent humidity during the day. This is going to be your hardest begonia challenge to date.
Only a humidifier can provide such high humidity levels to the Begonia listada. However, you will need a separate room to put the plant and the humidifier in. It will just be too uncomfortable for you to live in a room with around 80 percent humidity.
A better approach is to mist the plant so that only the air around the plant gets humid. Do not go overboard when misting, as there is no need to bathe the plant completely. Use only clean water and don’t mist Listada more than three times per week.
– Fertilizing Requirements
A well-balanced commercial fertilizer will do this plant justice from spring till late summer. It would be best if you refrained from feeding a begonia from late summer until next spring. It could lead to overfertilization if you keep on applying it. Leaves will turn yellow and flowering in the upcoming bloom season will be suppressed.
Ask your vendor to give you a liquid fertilizer with an NPK value of 20:20:20. This needs to be diluted first by mixing water as specified by the manufacturer.
Water the soil copiously and only then give this feed to your roots. Do this no more than once per month to get the best results.
Don’t want to use chemicals on your precious house plant? You can always go for 100 percent natural compost instead. It works slowly compared to chemical feeds, so you must mix a little compost within the soil every other week.
Pruning a plant is a very important aspect of promoting its further growth. It would be best if you prune the growing ends of the stems during early to mid-spring time to accelerate their growth. If the stem is cut at an angle it often leads to branching off and producing two stems from one cut end.
It is also best to cut back the flower stalks after some time to promote the growth of new flowers during the bloom period. This phenomenon is also called deadheading the flowers. Because its stems are quite lean and thin, you can prune them using your fingers. However, it would be safer and quicker if you were to use shears instead because you could potentially bruise the plant if you use fingers.
Using infected pruning instruments often leads to the begonia catching infections and dying soon after. That is why you must keep the instruments disinfected and clean before use. The instruments you use should also be pretty sharp because blunt instruments often crunch the growing ends of the trimmed stems.
There are three main ways you can propagate a begonia. These include stem cutting, seeds, and ground layering techniques of propagation.
Carry out stem cutting and ground layering anytime during the spring to summer period. This is when the plant is going through its most active growth phase.
Seeds need to be planted in their growth period well before the last frost of the winter is over.
– Stem Cutting Propagation
This is by far the easiest and the most widely practiced method of begonia propagation to date.
- It would be best to cut off a healthy four to six inches long piece of stem to carry out your propagation. You can cut any part of any stem, but we prefer the growing ends of a young and healthy stem.
- It is possible to snap the stem off using your fingers, but there is always a small risk of you crushing the growing end of the stem. It is best to stick to a secateur or shears instead.
- Your cutting needs at least one leaf node from which the new roots can grow. Remove the leaf that was growing from this node previously.
- It helps to store the stem cutting in a dark and dry container for a few days. Once the cutting dries up completely afterward, apply a few drops of rooting hormone to the cut end.
- Prepare a fast-draining soil mixture and plant your cutting one-third into it. If it seems to have trouble standing upright, provide support using a wooden stake or a pencil buried right next to it.
- Take the plant to a bright spot in the house, keep the soil evenly moist, and wait for new shoots to grow.
– Seed Propagation
Seed propagation might seem like the method that is easiest to carry out by first-time plant propagators. However, its success rates are variable and depend upon the quality of the seeds you have procured.
- Obtain the best quality begonia seeds that you can find and ask specifically for seeds that are still fresh.
- It would be best to bury these seeds within a suitable growth medium in a seedling tray. This medium could be composted, but we can vouch for using sphagnum moss.
- Before use, soak the moss in water for two hours and lay it on the tray in an even layer.
- You need to lay the seeds barely on the surface of the medium and not completely bury them.
- Cover the tray with a transparent covering or a plastic bag to create a high-humidity greenhouse effect.
- Put the tray somewhere bright and keep rewatering the moss regularly for the next two months.
- This is the approximate period during which the seedlings germinate and grow enough to be transplanted into their pots.
– Ground Layering
Ground layering is an innovative technique that has been a favorite since we implemented it regularly in our nursery.
- First, you must figure out which stem within your plant is long enough to bend down to the soil. Naturally, this long stem needs to be healthy and pest-free as well.
- Make a shallow cut on this stem involving a leaf node near the growing tip.
- Insert some non-degradable material like plastic into the cut to prevent it from healing over. Although it is optional, we strongly recommend applying rooting hormone over the cut.
- Now, gently bend the stem in question to the soil and bury at least two to three inches of it within it. The cut part should, of course, go into the soil.
- You will initially need to tie the stem and fix it to the soil.
- Carry on with the care that you give your plant regularly. Within two weeks, roots will grow from the cut into the soil.
- After two more weeks, you can cut three inches of the stem above the ground. When new shoots begin to sprout from this cut stump, take the whole plantlet out and put it in its pot.
The most common problems you might encounter with a listada Begonia include root rot, sap-feeding pests, and leaves turning yellow for multiple reasons.
– Root Rot
Begonias cannot tolerate the slightest bit of wet feet and quickly succumb to root rot. Root rot is a fungal infection that starts from the roots and spreads to the whole plant soon after.
You will see brown and black rot spots appear all over Listada leaves, stems, and even flowers.
The affected parts also start falling off as the disease progresses, going completely black.
The sad news is that root rot is often not treatable once it progresses to the leaves. You must discard this plant properly to prevent the disease from spreading to others. The pot and the soil are also infected and need to be discarded as infectious waste items.
Begonia is more prone to sap-sucking pests as compared to leaf-chewing ones. Mealybugs, scales, aphids, and thrips are the pests you need to look for. These pests are usually very small, hide under the leaves, and weaken the plant during an infestation.
If you see your houseplant’s leaves developing yellow spots or turning discolored and limp, use a magnifying glass to see if you have any of these pests lurking underneath. In case of an infestation, you must first wash the affected plant using water and soap so that most of the bugs wash away.
You must decide which homemade remedy suits you best. You can use neem oil foliar spray or bicarbonate spray weekly. The trick is to apply them every week until the pests disappear.
– Leaf Yellowing
After exposure to the direct sun, leaf yellowing is often reversible if caught early on. If your Begonia has been left under the sun for too long and has started turning brown at the edges, the affected leaves will have to be removed. Remove the plant from under direct sunlight when you notice your leaves turning yellow.
Another major reason why leaves turn yellow is when the soil becomes waterlogged. The extra water builds up in the soil, the stems, and the leaves. The yellow and swollen leaves feel mushy when you hold them in your hand. Put the plant someplace bright and warm to help it dry and improve the soil’s drainage and watering habits.
If the leaves have turned yellow due to underwatering, this will be evident by their dry and wrinkly appearance. Even if the soil’s moist, the crumbly state will indicate neglect. In this case, it is better to reverse water your plant than water from the top.
– Does Begonia Listada Do Better in Pots or in the Ground?
Interestingly, Begonia listada likes to be slightly “bound” in terms of space rather than have the opportunity to let its roots expand. Thus, it is an excellent candidate for pot-growing. Also, since it may need to be moved to avoid harsh sun it would be quite convenient to have them in a pot.
– How Big Should My Pot for a Begonia Listada Be?
It should be 1 or 2 inches bigger than the root system.
– How Long Does a Begonia Listada Last?
Begonias don’t have a very long life span – even with proper care they will probably only get two to three years old.
Today we discussed in detail how to grow and propagate this unique Begonia plant, the key points discussed here are:
- Opt only for indirect bright light or at least filtered light.
- Take care not to overwater and use a moisture meter before each watering.
- Humidity levels should be above 60 percent to keep your Listada happy.
- The range of temperature a Begonia can tolerate is from 50 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature needs to be around 66 degrees.
Begonia listada is a gorgeous plant with uniquely colored leaves that brings a fresh touch to any place where you put it.
With the help of our guide, we bet you are already on your way to becoming the best begonia parent ever.
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