The Begonia Corallina is also called the Begonia Lucerna or the Begonia corallina Lucerna. It gets its name from the fact that it was hybridized in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Its parents are the Begonia teuscheri and the Begonia coccinea.
And it is considered an angel wing begonia.
The Begonia Corallina Lucerna is a upright growing species with heavily silver spotted green leaves. It also produces small pink flowers that are less than 2 inches in size.
In the garden, the Begonia Corallina Lucerna will attract bees and other pollinating insect as it provides nectar.
How do you care for the Begonia Corallina? It enjoys medium to bright, indirect light. And will grow to about 6 to 8 feet with a support or pole.
The plant likes high humidity and has a wide temperature tolerance. But it is not frost hardy.
Allow soil to dry partially between waterings and use well-draining soil.
Begonia Corallina Plant Care
Begonia Lucerna Light Requirements
The Begonia Corallina likes plenty of light. Thus, it needs medium to bright indirect light to grow optimally.
This makes an east or west facing window ideal when growing indoors.
Note that the plant can tolerate direct sunlight.
Here, you need to qualify the kind of direct sun it gets. That’s because the intensity of the sun varies depending on the time of day.
The Begonia Lucerna thrives in an east facing window which gets lots of direct morning sun. But as we all know, early morning sun is gentle.
And it is nowhere as hot as late morning, noon or mid-afternoon sun.
So, the plant not only can tolerate this, it appreciates this kind of exposure. And it will reward you by growing faster.
Similarly, a west facing window works well because it gets later afternoon sun.
This is the time after 3:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. as the intensity starts to wane gradually before sunset occurs.
As such, the plant can likewise tolerate this.
The direct sunlight is cannot tolerate for more than 2-3 hours a day on a regular basis is that coming from a south facing window.
This gets the harshest direct sun from after 10:30 a.m. until about 3:30 p.m.
So, keep the plant at least 3 feet from a south facing window or filter the light coming in with blinds or curtains.
Outdoors, the Begonia Corallina likes partial shade.
Again, the same concept applies. It enjoys early morning and later afternoon sunlight. And won’t have problems with direct sun during these times.
But, keep it under shade or shelter from the harsh mid-day sun.
Begonia Lucerna Temperature
The Begonia Corallina is a tropical plant. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions.
This makes it an easy houseplant to accommodate into your home.
That’s because its ideal temperature range it between 50 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. As such, it enjoys a very wide range or moderate to warm weather.
However, since there are no cold months in the tropics, it has very poor tolerance to low temperatures.
In fact, avoid leaving in in environments colder than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
The plant is not frost hardy. Instead, it is quite tender.
This means you never want to leave the plant outdoors once the cold months arrive. If left outside in winter, the plant won’t make it to spring.
Instead, always make sure to bring the plant back indoors once the weather drops to near 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is why many growers keep the Begonia Lucerna as a houseplant instead.
Note that there is one exception.
This occurs in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 12 where the plant likes living outdoors. In these areas, it can live there the entire year without any problems.
That’s because these locations don’t have winters.
Instead, November through March has moderate to warm weather where the sun it out every day. Think of states like California, Texas and Florida.
Begonia Lucerna Humidity
The Begonia Corallina prefers humidity in the 50% to 80% range.
Given a choice, it will take humidity that’s over 60%. But as long as you keep air moisture at 50%, it will grow well and stay healthy.
The thing is how humid it is in your home varies on where you live.
Some cities have humidity. Others have low. Additionally, indoor humidity is also lower than outdoor humidity which makes it harder in some cases to keep the Begonia Lucerna happy.
In case your home’s humidity is below 50%, you do have a few options.
The quickest fix is to move the plant the bathroom. This area is the most humid space in almost all homes because of the amount of water we use there.
Another option is to mist the plant regularly. Or you can give it a shower every couple of weeks to keep it happy.
In either of these scenarios, make sure not to leave the plant wet.
With misting, don’t over mist such that the leaves have droplets left on their surface. When giving your Begonia Corallina a shower, always make sure to let the soil drain completely after.
Also, pat down the leaves with a towel to help them quickly dry.
Many home gardeners will go get a humidifier which is an easy fix as well.
Or you can set up a humidity try or pebble tray which takes only about 15 minutes to make from odd objects in your home.
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How Often to Water Begonia Corallina
The Begonia Corallina is a healthy drinker. That is, it likes water. This is especially the case during summer when the weather gets hot and the soil can dry fairly quickly.
However, be careful with being overly generous with water.
That’s because overwatering can lead to leaf discoloration as well as unsightly changes in its leaves. More importantly, excess moisture can lead to root rot.
This is a very serious issue because it can eventually kill the plant.
If only a small part of the root system rots, the Begonia Lucerna may still be salvageable. But past a certain point when too many of the roots have rotten, there’s nothing you can do so save the plant.
As such, the only recourse is to propagate any healthy part you can to start a new plant. Then throw away the original plant in the trash.
With watering, leaves give you an indication of what is happening.
Soft, deformed leaves are a sign of overwatering. On the other hand, brown, dry leaves mean that the plant is underwatered.
Of the two excess water is worse because of root rot.
Therefore, always wait until the top inch of soil is dry. Just stick your index finger into the soil until the first knuckle.
Only water the soil when that depth is completely dry.
If there is any sign of moisture or even slightly being moist, wait. Then test the soil again in a few days.
Begonia Corallina Potting Soil
The Begonia Corallina needs well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter and acidic to neutral soil.
Fast drainage is very important since the plant is prone to overwatering.
Therefore, if you happen to add too much water or water too frequently, having soil with good drainage can still save you from potential problems.
However, it can only do so up to a certain point depending on how much of that component that drains is included.
This means that it still your job to avoid watering too often.
Fortunately, it is easy to create the perfect soil mix for the Begonia Lucerna. All you need to do is mix:
- Potting soil
The potting soil will hold onto some moisture to allow the roots to stay hydrated and not dry out very quickly.
The perlite drains excess moisture to keep the roots from ending up sitting in water for long periods of time.
If you want to add more drainage or aeration, you can include a handful of orchid bark in there as well.
Avoid heavy soils or very sandy soils.
The former will hold too much water while the latter will drain too much water too quickly.
Begonia Lucerna Fertilizer
The Begonia Corallina grows faster with fertilizer.
But always be careful with plant food since too much can harm your plant.
Since the Begonia Lucerna responds well to fertilizer, the key is to make sure that it gets all the nutrients it needs.
Avoid trying to maximize feeding.
I like to stay on the conservative side just like I do when watering my plants.
Use an all-purpose or balanced fertilizer once every 2 weeks. Only apply during the spring and summer as this is when the plant actively grows.
Also, always make sure to dilute the dose by half strength if the plant is in a pot and growing indoors.
If the plant is in the ground outdoors, use the full dose recommended in the product label.
Note that some gardeners will tell you to fertilizer one a week.
And that works as well. In fact, it can produce faster growth.
But I like to stay conservative since increasing the frequency also increases the risk of over fertilizing.
This is bad as it will result in fertilizer burn that damages the roots.
Begonia Lucerna Pruning
The size of the Begonia Corallina will vary significant due to different factors.
As such, don’t be surprised to see some mature Begonia Lucerna less than 3 feet high while others are over 8 feet tall.
A lot depends on whether you grow it indoors or outdoors.
The plant will always grow much bigger indoors. And it will have more and larger leaves as well.
Similarly, if you give the Begonia Corallina a support to climb on it will likely reach 6 to 8 feet tall. But if you don’t its height will usually only get to between 1.5 to 4 feet high.
Therefore, a lot depends on how you grow it.
However, the Begonia Corallina has the potential to grow to between 6 and 8 feet tall and up to 1.5 feet wide. It takes 2-5 years before it will reach its ultimate height.
Additionally, how bushy or thick the leaves get will vary as well.
You’ll see some look like large indoor trees because they’re fully covered by foliage.
Others only grow up a single pole. And there are those looks quite sparse.
So, the look you’re going for along with the way the plant is grown affects how much and how often you prune.
How to Propagate Begonia Corallina
The Begonia Corallina can be propagated in a few ways.
The best methods include stem tip cutting, leaf cuttings and division.
I prefer to do stem cuttings because it is the simplest to do. Plus, you don’t have to unpot the plant as you need to do with division.
Stem cutting also roots faster than leaf cuttings.
It will likewise develop shoots and leaves sooner than leaf cuttings.
Here’s how to propagate Begonia Corallina from stem cuttings.
- Start by choosing healthy stem tips. You can pick one or several depending on how many cuttings you need. Make sure each cutting has at least 1-2 nodes and at least 2-3 leaves.
- Cut the stem using a pair of scissors that have been sterilized by alcohol.
- Then cut just under a node for each of the cuttings.
- Keep them aside while you prepare a pot. Then fill it with well-draining potting soil.
- Plant the cuttings into the soil. Water the soil after and keep it moist.
- Place the pot in a warm, humid spot in your home with bright, indirect light.
It takes about a month or so for new roots to start to grow.
How to Repot or Transplant Begonia Corallina
Avoid regular repotting. The Begonia Corallina does not like being moved.
So, only repot or transplant when necessary.
This means that outside of an emergency or the nursery pot you got it in uses soil that’s holding onto too much water, the only time to repot is when the plant has outgrown its container.
To know when, check the bottom of the pot every 6 months or so.
If you see a few roots poking out from the holes under the pot, it means get ready to repot come early spring.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Yes, the Begonia Corallina is toxic. And when ingested it is poisonous to people and animals.
As such, try to keep the plant away from young children, cats and dogs who may play around it and end up consuming some of the leaves.
Begonia Corallina Problems & Troubleshooting
The Begonia Corallina is not prone to pests. But it is not immune either.
This means that you should regularly check the plant, its leaves and the crevices between its stems and petioles to see if there are any bugs there.
Mealybugs, thrips, scaled and spider mites will attack the plant at any given opportunity.
However, the plant’s resistance keeps them away.
But this resistance gets turned off when the plant is not healthy, stressed or experiencing certain problems.
Root rot is a common issue.
This is why I’ve mentioned overwatering and checking the soil at least a times in this guide.. These make the plant weak by placing stress on it for various reasons.
When this happens, the Begonia Lucerna’s defenses are down making it susceptible to pests.
Since overwatering is the main cause of root rot, always check to make sure the soil is not overwatered.