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Begonia Fem

Common name(s): Begonia Rex

Family: Begoniaceae

Genus: Begonia

Cultivar: Fem

Origin: South America / Asia

Edith's thoughts

A rare beauty, Fem stands out because of it's extraordinary colourful, ruffled, hairy edged leaves. The lack of substantial flowers on this Begonia matters little when admiring this beautifully striking house plants foliage.

Watering

Begonias are originally tropical forest floor dwelling plants that don't want to be sat in soggy soil or have continuously moist leaves as these can lead to rot. As such the allow the top 30% of soil dry out before watering again. This plant will benefit from bottom watering to help prevent potential stem rot.

 

Fertilizer

This Begonia likes to be fed approximately every second watering roughly fortnightly with 1/4 to 1/2 strength plant feed solution.

Light intensity

This plant is quite happy in bright indirect light. Natively shaded by trees this Begonia would rather not be bathed in direct sunlight. 

Substrate & pH

These plants like a well draining soil such as <Edie's Mix - Well Draining> and are most at home in a slightly acidic soil (5.5 - 6.9 pH).

Ideal temperature & humidity

Begonia Rex are from a temperate environment so Fem's perfectly at happy in the comfort of your home 15°c - 21°c. An average level of humidity 40% - 60% is fine, a gentle misting ever few days wouldn't go amiss, you just don't to allow the leaves to stay permanently wet as they can rot.

 

Pruning & repotting

Begonias are quite happy slightly root-bound in their pots, bearing that in mind repotting annually as this is a fast grower will keep her happy and growing. To keep her pristine remove dead or dying leaves, Begonias can sometime develop bare or woody spots which can be pruned off to just above the soil level.  

Propagation

When taking a stem cutting from a Begonia rex use a mature but not an old woody or fibrous stem. Take a 10cm (4 inch) cutting just below a node and remove leaves in the bottom half of the stem. Dip the stem in <Clonex> coating the exposed flesh at the bottom where the node was and pop in a <rooting cube> or direct into <Edith's potting soil>. Place this in a propagator to maintain warmth and a high humidity. The cutting should root within 2 weeks ready to be potted. It is also possible to take a <leaf cutting> read more about that <here>.

 

Pests & diseases

The issue boils down to moisture - too much of it. As mentioned <root rot>, <stem rot>, <mildew>, <botrytis> or <bacterial leaf spots> can occur as a result of constantly wet leaves & soil. The beasties trying to make a home on this plant can include <mealybugs> & <aphids>, in the event of encountering any of these issues early detection and treatment can help. Products that can help with these problems include <insert product(s)>.

Toxicity

Begonia Rex are poisonousthe plant contains sharp edged calcium oxalate crystals which when ingested can cause swelling and irritation of your mouth and gastrointestinal tract. However consumption of these leaves is deeply unpleasant owing to it's bitterness, it'd be unlike some would tolerate consuming enough to make you seriously ill, that said it's still best kept out of reach of children and pets.

Variety: Herbaceous perennial
Flower colour: Pink
Flowering period: Rarely in summer
Fragrant: No
Mature length/height: Up to / around 50cm
Mature spread: Up to / around 50cm
Time to maturity: 2 - 3 Years
Growth rate: Fast