The Begonia Silver is a beautiful plant with small but stunning leaves. Its foliage are metallic silver on the surface. The plant also produces pink flowers.
But its blooms are not the main attraction of the plant
It is also worth noting that the Silver Begonia has lots of different varieties available. So, you can choose which ones you like most.
Here’s a list of Begonia Silver varieties. Although, it is not comprehensive by any means.
- Silver Begonia Rex
- Begonia Silver Dollar
- Begonia Silver Limbo
- Begonia Silver Mist
- Begonia Silver Lace
- Rex Begonia Silver
- Begonia Silver Spots
- Begonia Silver Treasure
- Begonia Silver Jolly
- Begonia Hatacoa Silver
- Silver Dots Begonia
- Begonia Silver Queen
- Begonia Silver Feather
How do you care for Begonia Silver? The plant needs bright, indirect light to sustain its silver leaf color. But avoid too much direct sunlight.
It enjoys warm weather and high humidity. Moist soil is ideal but wait until the top layer of soil is dry between waterings. Feed regularly during spring and summer for optimal growth.
Begonia Silver Plant Care
The Begonia Silver thrives in bright, indirect light. This is because of the plant’s heavy silver sheath over its leaf.
As such, the plant needs a well-lit location to thrive.
And I don’t recommend leaving it in low light.
That said, the Silver Begonia will survive it low light. But you see more green and less silver on its leaves.
However, as much as good light is important to maintain the plant’s healthy and development, it cannot tolerate strong or intense light.
This is why harsh direct sunlight coming in from the southern window is something you want to avoid.
More specifically, it is the direct rays of the sun between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. when the sunlight is most intense.
While the Begonia Silver can tolerate little more than 2 hours of this a day, anything more can eventually burn its leaves.
But before that happens, its colors will fade.
Therefore, an east or west facing window are ideal. Both have gentler versions of direct sunlight.
That’s because the east is where the sun rises and the west is where is sets.
So, early morning sun and late afternoon sun are two exposures that the plant actually likes and does really well in.
The Begonia Silver likes warm environments. Its ideal temperature range is 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
It will likewise do well in higher temperatures without any problems or harm.
This preference makes it ideal for growing indoors since it will easily adapt to the moderate to slightly warm conditions most homes have.
However, be aware that the Silver Begonia does not like the cold.
It is not frost hardy. And its lower temperature tolerance is 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
This means once it gets colder than this level, it will begin to struggle. You’ll see its growth slow down. And this can stunt altogether if you leave the plant therefore long periods of time.
Similarly, as the temperature decreases, more problems happen.
Its leaves will get discolored, and they will wilt. Eventually, cold injury will set in too.
This is why the Begonia Silver is not well-suited to winter weather. Therefore, make sure to bring it indoors around mid to late fall when the temperature drops to near 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
It will not survive the frost or snow outside.
The only exception here are USDA Hardiness Zones 8b to 11.
In these regions, the Silver Begonia will happily live outdoors the entire year. That’s because the weather is consistently sunny.
And temperatures stay between moderate to warm all year, even between November and March.
So, if you live in these areas, you have the option to keep in indoors our outdoors.
The Begonia Silver enjoys high humidity preferably between 60% and 80%. But it can tolerate 50% humidity as well.
Some growers have told me their Silver Begonias don’t have problems with average room temperature. One also said hers tolerates dry air with no issues.
I’ve never tried this and don’t really want to.
So, I cannot verify how low its humidity tolerance is.
That said, the warning sign is when you see crispy leaf edges and tips. These will turn brown as well.
This tells you that your Silver Begonia is struggling with the lack of air moisture.
As such, it is a good ideal to increase the level of humidity around it.
My favorite methods are to use a humidity tray or a pebble tray. Both work the same way but their set up are different.
With the pebble tray, the pot sits atop the pebbles above the water line.
In contrast, with a humidity tray, you have an entire grate where you can put the pot on.
Other options are to get humidifier or move the plant to the bathroom.
I don’t particularly like misting although it works too. That’s because if you accidentally mist a bit too much and leave the foliage wet, this can lead to fungal disease.
How Often to Water Begonia Silver
The Begonia Silver likes moist soil but has problems with wet or soggy soil. Similarly, it dislikes going completely dry.
Therefore, avoid overwatering and underwatering.
Both are not good for the plant.
But like other begonia varieties, the excess water is more dangerous. That’s because overwatering can lead to root rot, which can ultimately destroy the entire plant.
As such, it is always safer to stay on the dry side rather than being too generous with water.
This is why the best way to know when to water the plant is to feel the soil.
You always want to at least wait until the top inch of soil has dried before you add more water. Never do so before that because it increases the risk of overwatering.
Of course, you can likewise wait a little longer if you want to play is safer.
As long as you water between the top inch until the top half of the soil is dry, there’s no problem. In this range the soil will stay moist and the roots are nowhere near of drying out.
If you don’t like getting your hands dirty, you can always use a moisture meter instead.
This is a simple device that will tell you if the soil is dry, moist or wet and to what degree.
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Begonia Silver Potting Soil
The Begonia Silver likes porous, well-draining soil. Because of its water preferences, it needs soil that can stay moist but does not get soggy.
This makes well-draining soil ideal.
That’s because this kind of soil retains some moisture but not a lot of it. This will allow the roots to stay hydrated.
At the same time, it is fast draining in that it will quickly get rid of excess moisture.
Doing so prevents the roots from sitting in water for long periods of time which is what causes root rot.
An easy way to create this kind of soil is to combine:
- Peat moss
This gives you some moisture retention from the peat and very good drainage thanks to the perlite and vermiculite.
You can likewise add some compost or worm castings if you wish to add nutrients to your soil mix.
On the other hand, if you prefer going to the garden center and picking a bag of soil mix instead, you can opt to go with African Violet mix.
This makes it easier as you can just use it out of the bag.
In combination with well-draining soil, it is important to use a pot that has drainage.
The holes under the pot will allow any excess liquid that drains from the soil to exit the container.
The Begonia Silver will actively grow during spring and summer. As such, this is the best time to fertilize the plant since it needs nutrients to sustain optimal growth.
Don’t forget to make sure to give it sufficient bright, indirect sunlight and water during this time.
This will help supply it with the energy, hydration and food it needs.
To feed the Silver Begonia, use an all-purpose fertilizer diluted to half strength. Once a month feeding is ideal.
And once fall arrives you can gradually stop fertilizing it.
There’s no need to feed it during winter as it does not grow much them due to the reduced amount of light and cold weather.
Once next spring comes around, start the feeding cycle again.
The Begonia Silver is a shrubby plant that has a fast growth rate. This fast grower will do most of its growing during the warmer months if properly taken cared for then.
The plant can grow to about 3 feet high and about 2 feet in wide.
Its leaves dominate the top side of the plant and they will get fluffy and bushy as the plant gets fuller. In some cases, the leaves will overflow or go past the sides of the pot as well.
Whether you like don’t like this look will depend on you.
As such, you can prune it if you wish.
But in general, the Silver begonia does not need a lot of pruning. For the most part it is all about shaping the plant and how dense you want it to look.
Of course, you always need to remove old, dead or diseased leaves.
How to Propagate Begonia Silver
Begonia Silver propagation is simple. And you have many options.
The most common methods of propagating the Silver begonia are stem cuttings leaf cuttings and division.
Additionally, for the first two methods you have a few options as well.
With stem cuttings, you can propagate in water or in soil. With leaf cuttings, you can propagate whole leaves or partial leaves.
As such, choose the method you have most success with.
The best time to propagate the plant is spring.
Here’s how to propagate the Begonia Silver using the different methods.
Propagating the Begonia Silver from Stem Cuttings
To propagate the Begonia Silver via stem cuttings, you’ll need to take healthy stems.
Start by choosing healthy stems with at least 1-2 nodes and 2 or more leaves.
Cut the stems just below a node.
Taking the stem is the most important part of this process. You want to make sure it has at least one node with it.
Without the node, the cutting with never successfully propagate.
Now that you have the cuttings let them rest a little bit and callous.
In the meantime, decide if you want to propagate in water or in soil.
How to Propagate Begonia Silver in Water
For water propagation, you will need a jar and fill it with water.
The size of the jar will vary depending on how many cuttings you have and how big the cuttings are. You can use a test tube if you wish for each cutting.
Or you can use a water glass as well.
Next, take the cutting and place it into the liquid. You want the nodes to be submerged into the water. This is needed for them to root.
Remove any leaves that end up in the water.
But keep the top leaves as they will help with development later on.
Place the container with the stem cuttings in bright, indirect light. Ideally, somewhere that is warm with good humidity.
You will also need to replace the water every few weeks before it gets cloudy.
In about 3-4 weeks you should see enough roots. And once the roots reach at least 1-2 inches long, you can move them into a pot filled with light, well-draining potting soil.
How to Propagate Begonia Silver in Soil
Soil propagation is similar to water propagation. But you don’t have to go through the steps with water.
Instead, you’ll plan the cuttings directly into the soil.
Here’ you have a few options again when it comes to the pots.
You can use small pots so each cutting gets its own. Or you can use one pot and grow all the cuttings there. Make sure to space them out.
Once you’ve planted the cuttings, water the soil and keep it moist.
Place the pot in bright indirect light. Choose a warm spot with good humidity.
It usually takes a month for roots to develop. And you’ll only need to repot the plant once its outgrows the container.
Propagating the Begonia Silver from Leaf Cuttings
Whole leave cuttings are probably the most popular way of propagating begonias.
And you can do with for the Begonia Silver as well.
Using leaf propagation, you can grow one or multiple new plants from a single leaf.
That said, you likewise have two options of how you can go about leaf propagation.
Start by taking a pot and filling it the well-draining potting mix.
Then take a healthy leaf. Ideally, choose a well-grown leaf that is large. Remove the leaf by cutting the petiole from the stem. You want to include the petiole.
Next, you have two options.
Plant the whole leaf on the plant with the entire petiole buried in soil. You can have a little of the bottom the leaf there but leave the rest out of the soil.
Lay the entire leaf on the soil including the petiole. Don’t bury the petiole just let it stay horizontal.
The important thing here is to keep the main veins of the leaf and the petiole in contact with the soil. You can use sewing pins or clips to do this.
For added measure, make about half inch cuts around midway of each large vein in the leaf. Use a sterile cutter or blade to do this.
The cuts will allow the open ends of the veins to propagate. And they will grow 1-2 new plants from each vein if everything goes well.
Keep the pot in bright indirect light.
How to Repot or Transplant Begonia Silver
The Silver Begonia only needs to be repot once every 2 years or so. It also likes being slightly root bound.
Therefore, don’t be in a hurry to repot the plant.
Similarly, don’t repot the plant without any reason. Only do so if needed.
It does not like being bothered. Nor does it like being moved from its home.
Thus, the only time you need to repot is when the rhizome begins to crowd the pot or starts reaching the sides of the pot.
The best time to repot is spring to early summer.
And when you do, you have a couple of options.
One is to move it to larger container. This is your way of telling the plant to go ahead and keep growing bigger.
On the other hand, if you want to reduce its size, you can divide the plant.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Yes, the plant is toxic to dogs, cats and even humans. It becomes poisonous when ingested. And it will cause inflammation, swelling, pain, vomiting and other unpleasant side effects.
Therefore, avoid keeping the plant near where the kids or pets play.
Begonia Silver Problems & Troubleshooting
The Begonia Silver can be prone to pests if it is out of shape. This happens when it is stressed, unwell or weak.
As such, the best way to prevent pest problems is to keep your plant’s resistance up by maintaining good healthy.
Also, cleaning the leaves will help the prevent pests since they are attracted to dust.
Slugs are a common pest that will bother the Silver Begonia. Mites and aphids as well. But to a lesser extent.
Powdery mildew is the common issue with the Begonia Silver. This is likewise true with other begonia varieties.
As such, be careful with leaving the leaves wet.
Try not to water late in the day. Instead, do so in the mornings.
Also, try to avoid wetting the leaves when you water the plant.
In addition to fungal diseases, rhizome rot and stem rot are other concerns.
Again excess moisture is the cause. But this time it has more to do with wet soil and excessive humidity.