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Friday, September 20, 2019

Begonia - Iron Cross (Updated 2021)


After so many trials and error - I must confess that I had totally given up on this particular begonia.
However I must say that the Care and Cultivating this particular one is challenging due to my garden condition that does not support this particular need for them to thrive.

Care Needs:

1) Not Water on the Foliage or Leaves 
This is upmost important as water droplet on the leaves tend to cause the leaves to turn brown. Instead watering should be done on the medium surface only and if possible the best method would be letting the water to sip in from the bottom of the pot drainage hole and once it had received adequate water - the plate or saucer holding the remaining water should be discarded and the next watering should take place only when the medium is dry. Too much water can kill this begonia.

2) Lighting
This particular one thrives in good shade and so too hot bright light especially direct sunlight on them make cause the dark pigment to fade or shrink away - sort of dent lining appears instead of the full cross appearance on the foliage. 

3) Humidity
I must say that this is one of the best plants to grow in green house where the humidity is controlled where overwatering & direct sunlight is well controlled and managed. Hence it would prove challenging but not impossible to grow them in hot and wet tropical climate - it would be impossible though in long term if this plant is exposed to direct hot sun and rain - unlike other begonias like Cane Begonias and Martin Mystery can handle such conditions - this one however does not handle such stress.

Picture above - Shows the condition where it does not receive enough humidity and exposed to too much sunlight. Also the burns at the edges are the signs of lack of humidity.

I would say this Begonia is the most challenging one I ever faced. 
It is the most fierce stubborn one that refused to grow.
Often it dies after a long ordeal of suffering.
 It's leaves shrivel and fallen of and finally the rhizome, dormant and gone rotten.

I had tried many method and somehow, 
it only takes one singular mistake to happen had I get punished badly 
 - this one waves good-bye to begonia heaven.

After countless times of trial and error.
Learning from every mistakes and the challenges faced with one.
One is surviving after about a month.
Let's see how it goes from here - If it survives after 6 months. That would a record breaker.

This is my latest trial using the mop wick system. 
Somehow it show some promises.
I had bundled it up with other begonias to give that condensed feel.

Updates on 18 Nov 
(Its been 2 months and I wanted to follow-up on the progress of this begonia)

The plant had stabilize but I don't seemed to see the cross formation on the center of the foliage.
I understand that this is a shaded loving plant and added to that it need high humidity for it to thrive.

Somehow, I had managed to keep this one for these few weeks. 
The foliage looks good but the new ones don't seemed to pick up.

New to observe and see how it goes for another few months.

Unlike other times of begonias, this one requires special care:

1) This one is a Shade Lover.
Apparently this grows under heavy dense forest vegetation in fallen leaf litter.
Therefore, it's best to place it in the most shaded place in your garden.

Too bright or hot, the black lining will slowly shrivel and the leaf will turn much light green.
The darker the place, the better the leaf formation.

2) No Water Droplets on the Foliage.
As I mentioned, this one is a sensitive one.
It's so sensitive that if a water droplets stays too long on the leaf surface, the foliage gets damaged.
And therefore take great care not to water the foliage rather only the medium.
Something like African Violets - the foliage are sensitive.

This picture is taken from a nursery where it's now currently sold cheaper and much affordable.
Begonias are sold much more now in the market making it available for everyone.

Before this, it's was very seasonal with limited stock.





Finally this particular Begonia still proved to be challenging even grown using mop-wick system - it didn't survive and slowly succumb and rotten away. The last of the remaining was very pathetic - I tried to revive it as much as possible. The coloration and vigor had slowly faded away and it was in high stress.

I think it lasted roughly around 3-4 months. I might cultivate this again later, perhaps when I get a terrarium or a glass container as this one quite sensitive.

photo credit Sue Vsk Nursery

I must say that this one is absolutely gorgeous as when the plant matures, the leaves tend to morph into a circular shape and the cross more defined. Locally this one is identified as "Asam Batu Carpet" denoting the carpet like features on the leaf surface.

Also proper organic fertiliser is a much for this kind. So far I had researched and found that only 2 types of organic fertiliser works for this one:
1) Coffee based granular fertiliser
2) Chicken manure.

Unlike most begonia - this one cannot receive any water on the plant rather upon the soil medium or best water from bottom drainage hole received from a saucer/plate with stones sitting at the bottom of the pot - something like what often done for African Violet watering style.

Begonia Common Names and Images
Do click on the Link Above ☝

Here is the link where I had put together a list of all the begonias that I had come across. A database of all the different types & their characteristics. Please click on the link on the title above for the post.

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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia
My Malaysian Tropical Garden mainly focused on unique and colorful plants ranging from rare to common plants all around the tropical belt across the world. Ideal for inspiration for challenging areas in the garden space - indoor gardening, balcony gardening and small green spaces especially for ariods, bromeliads, begonias, edibles, cascading & vertical garden plants, succulents & cacti, orchids, together with both shade and sun loving plants.

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