The Begonia Amphioxus is a very rare species. It is likewise smaller than some other begonia varieties. But is makes up for that with its unique looks.
Its leaves are long and narrow with sharp tips at the ends. These also feature bright red spots that make the plant very distinct.
The look of its leaves is where it gets its name Begonia Amphioxus Butterfly.
It is usually sparse looking but with proper care and if you let it grow out, it will produce lots of leaves.
The plant is native to Borneo at least the portion that belongs to Indonesia.
How to care for the Begonia Amphioxus? The plant needs good lighting but avoid direct sunlight. Instead, give it indirect or filtered light.
High humidity is ideal for optimal growth. Also feed the plant to keep it growing well but only during its growing season. Use well-draining soil and do not overwater.
Begonia Amphioxus Plant Care
The Begonia Amphioxus prefers medium to bright indirect light. It can tolerate low light as well indoors. Outdoors, it will grow best in partial or semi-shade.
This means that indoors, you have many options.
The best spots to keep the plant are towards an east or west facing window. These give it good amount of sunlight especially when the sun isn’t very intense.
The sun rises in the east, so you get gentle morning light from there. In the west, it receives late afternoon sun that’s waning towards dusk.
The north will likewise work for most of the year.
The Begonia Amphioxus does not mind the less light the northern exposure provides. However, you need to gauge how much light your home gets from this direction once the later months arrive.
There’s usually less sunlight during these months.
And depending on where you house is located and how much sun comes in from the northern window, the light may or may not be enough.
The other thing about a northern direction is you’ll need to observe when you Begonia Amphioxus begins flowering.
When about to bloom and while blooming, the plant will need more light. Often, the north just won’t provide this. So, move the plant to a brighter location during this time.
If you don’t happen to get enough light indoors or have very few windows in your home, consider grow lights.
Fluorescent and LED grow lights work well and will allow the plant to grow healthily and happily.
Just make sure to keep it at least 8-12 inches from the bulbs as these emit heat that can eventually burn the leaves.
Speaking on which, the Begonia Amphioxus cannot tolerate intense light.
For this reason, it can only withstand 1-2 hours or so of strong, direct sunlight during the middle of the day. This is when the sun is hottest.
Therefore, to play safe, just keep the plant away from direct sunlight altogether. Position it so the sun’s rays don’t hit the plant during between 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
As such, a south facing window poses this risk.
Therefore, if you want to keep the plant in that side, you have 2 options:
- Place it at least 3 feet from the southern window opening.
- Block some of the light using a shade cloth or sheer curtains.
Outdoors, keep it away from full sun.
The Begonia Amphioxus likes consistently warm climate conditions. That’s because it is native to the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the word.
This is why it grows quite well indoors.
Most homes have consistent temperature that we regulate. This same isn’t true outdoors when the weather can swing significantly.
The Begonia Amphioxus enjoys temperatures between 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
And it does like the mid to higher end of that range.
However, it dislikes anything below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dues to its origin, it is not frost hardy. So, it won’t be able to tolerate the winter snow or frost. This means that if you live in areas with four seasons, it is important to bring the plant indoors if you take it out during the summertime.
In contrast, the Begonia Amphioxus thrives outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 12 as the weather in these areas are more consistent throughout the year.
These locations don’t have winters. Instead, they enjoys warm, balmy weather most months of the year with a more heat during summer.
The Begonia Amphioxus likes high humidity. Ideally, it would enjoy 60% to 80% humidity.
It is also worth mentioning that if you have a terrarium, grow cabinet or greenhouse, you can leave in humidity of 80% to 100% as well. And it will be happy.
Of course, the latter levels are a bit too high for most homes.
And I don’t recommend them since they increase the risk of some problems including mold in your home.
On the other hand, the plant can tolerate humidity down to 50%.
And I’ve seen it staying in some homes with even lower humidity.
The one thing to note about the latter is that even if the Begonia Amphioxus stays healthy at this environment, it does not thrive as much as those in higher humidity.
Therefore, if you have less than ideal air moisture in your home relative the plant’s needs, I suggest misting the plant a few times a week.
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How Often to Water Begonia Amphioxus
The Begonia Amphioxus is a bit fussy about water. So, you do need to pay a little bit more attention to it compared to other houseplants.
For one, it enjoys moist soil.
And it appreciates a bit more water than normal especially relative to regular indoor plants.
But it is also prone to overwatering. Therefore, make sure to let the soil dry between waterings to avoid harming the plant’s roots or causing the leaves to change color.
Always wait until at least the top layer of soil has dried before adding more water.
This will help prevent excess watering or watering it too often.
When watering, don’t wet the plant’s leaves too much. If you can avoid wetting them, even better. The leaves don’t like staying wet for prolonged periods of time.
They also disklike stagnant water that stays on their surface.
So, you can either wipe it a bit when you get the leaves wet or make sure that the Begonia Amphioxus is kept in bright, indirect sunlight with good ventilation.
The combination of light and airflow will help dry the leaves faster.
If not, fungal infections can occur.
Of course, we’re not done yet. Like said, the plant is fussy when it comes to water.
This means that it also does not like hard water or highly mineralized tap water. So, avoid using the tap if your city adds a good amount of chemicals to the tap.
Instead, you can use rainwater, filter the tap or aquarium water. All of these are better options that will not bother the plant.
Finally, there’s temperature.
Make sure you use room temperature water. Don’t use cold water or warm water as the plant does not like it.
Either of these can shock the roots.
Begonia Amphioxus Potting Soil
The Begonia Amphioxus needs well-draining soil that is rich.
For the best color, keep the soil pH between 6.1 to 7.5. Avoid more acidic soil as this can affect the vibrancy of the plant.
With the right soil pH, you should see the Begonia Amphioxus red spots look much brighter and livelier.
Well-draining soil is ideal because the plant enjoys soil on the moister side.
But at the same time, it cannot tolerate wet soil as this can cause root rot.
To create this mix, you can use a combination of:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part peat moss
- 1 part perlite
The ingredients give you moisture retention while providing sufficient drainage to ensure that excess liquid will quickly drain from the soil.
This way, it does not hold onto too much water which can cause the roots to suffocate.
Just as importantly, choose a container that allows the excess water that drains from the soil to escape from the pot.
This is easily done by selecting a container with drainage holes as the bottom.
If your container does not have any drainage, the excess liquid will just pool at the bottom of the pot. Unfortunately, this will keep the soil wet which defeats the extra effort you did in watering and using well-draining soil.
While small, the Begonia Amphioxus is a good feeder.
Therefore, it will need regular fertilizer.
Still, keep in mind that you want to be careful with overfeeding it since it can lead to root damage from the excess salts that eventually build up in the soil.
Therefore, apply a liquid houseplant fertilizer once every 2 weeks during the spring and summer. This is the plant’s growing season.
And you’ll see it grow the most during this time.
You can stop feeding once fall arrives. Then restart next spring.
Another option that works is scale back on the fertilizer during the colder months instead. In this cause once a month feeding will do.
However, make sure that the plant gets light and stays warm during this time.
You can use a heating mat or pad under the pad to keep the soil temperature warn despite the colder weather.
Otherwise, if there’s lack of light and it gets cold, the plant won’t do any growing. So, what you end up doing is adding extra salts and allowing the minerals to just accumulate in the soil.
That’s because if the plant isn’t growing, it won’t need to each much.
The Begonia Amphioxus grows to about 16 inches tall. It does not get wide or big either as the leaves tend to stay close to one another.
Its leaves can grow to about 2 to 5 inches long each.
As such, pruning is not really needed with the Begonia Amphioxus.
Although, you can choose to do so when it has more leaves and they start to look messy. But other than that, pruning is a low maintenance task.
Still, you do need to remove any old, damaged, discolored or disease foliage.
How to Propagate Begonia Amphioxus
The Begonia Amphioxus is commonly propagated from stem cuttings or seed.
In most cases, stem propagation is what growers use especially for their houseplants. That’s because propagating from seed not only takes a long time, it requires more maintenance.
As such, seed propagation is usually done by medium or large scale growers who want to grow multiple new Begonia Amphioxus at the same time.
For home growers, stem cuttings is a much easier, more practical method to go for.
Also, with stem propagation you have a couple of options.
You can propagate in water or in soil. Both methods are very effective. So, it is really up to you on what you prefer on using.
Here’s how to propagate Begonia Amphioxus from stem cuttings.
- Take a healthy stem cutting with at least a several leaves. Try to get 2-3 inches at least of cutting so you have some room to plant it.
- Remove the lower leaves but keep the top foliage.
- If you have rooting hormone, apply it to the cut end of the stem. Otherwise, don’t sweat it. You can use powder, paste or liquid form. They all work the same.
- Plant the cutting into the soil making sure you set at least 3 or so inches of stem in there. Then pat down to keep the cutting stable. Use well-draining soil.
- Place the pot in a warm, humidity location with plenty of non-direct sunlight.
- Water the soil and keep it moist. Avoid letting the soil dry out. But don’t leave it wet and soggy as well.
- It usually takes nearly a month for the cuttings to develop enough roots.
Similarly, you can propagate in water.
Water propagation is similar to soil propagation above. But you add a stem in between before moving the cuttings into soil.
Here, place the cuttings in water.
Again, remove the lower leaves. You don’t want them to get wet as they’ll rot if left in the liquid.
You can use a glass jar or anything transparent so you can see the roots develop as they grow. Make sure to keep the pot in indirect light with good humidity and warm temperature.
Once the rotos reach at least 1-2 inches long, you can transfer them to a pot with well-draining soil.
Of course, you can wait longer as well. But try not to overdo it. Leaving the stem cuttings in water for over a year will usually start rotting some of the roots which means you’ll need to prune and let new ones grow.
That would be a waste.
How to Repot or Transplant Begonia Amphioxus
The Begonia Amphioxus enjoys staying in the same container for a while. It also does not like to be bothered
Therefore, don’t move, touch or repot the plant unless needed.
As far as repotting goes, you only need to do so once a year.
However, I prefer checking the bottom of the plant and listening to what it is telling me instead of blindly following a guideline.
You’re better off waiting until the roots are coming out from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot before repotting.
There’s not need to do so before then.
Since each plant grows in different living environments, are will grow at varying rates.
This means the Begonia Amphioxus may need repotting before 12 months in one place but may require more than 12 months in another.
Thus, it better to see that the plant is telling you.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Yes. As beautiful as the Begonia Amphioxus is, it is also toxic. It contains calcium oxalates which are harmful when consumed by humans and animals.
This makes it very important to keep the plant out of your children’s, dog’s or cat’s reach.
While the most poisonous parts are found under the soil, the leaves and stems will still cause inflammation and pain when ingested.
Begonia Amphioxus Problems & Troubleshooting
Thrips are the most common pest issue you’ll likely experience.
These bugs particularly like the Begonia Amphioxus. Although, it can have other pests as well.
If you see any insects on the plant, the simplest way to get rid of them quickly is to spray them off with a stream of water.
Don’t go overboard with the water pressure though as you may damage the leaves while dislodging the pests.
You want to find that balance where the water strength is enough to wash the bugs away.
Note that you may need to repeat this a few times as you may miss some in the first couple of sprayings.
Diseases are an issue as well, albeit not a big one.
The most common problems here are root rot, powdery mildew and fungal infections. All of which are caused by excess moisture.
Some happen when the soil gets overwatered.
Others occur when the leaves get wet and the water stays on their surface without drying soon enough.
Thus, the issues are mostly man-made.
This means they that they are preventable.