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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Begonia Masoniana 'Lonely Rock'

Photo Credit to Dr Rabiatuadawiyah Kari


This particular hybrids comes with a series identified as Jungle, River, Rock & Mountain and all have the similar appearance and unique characteristics of an Iron Cross Begonia. It is indeed a huge challenge to cultivate them giving them the right accurate plant care needs as these are highly sensitive plants to cultivate in a hot and wet Malaysian climate zone. Hence they are more ideal in temperate regions where it is cooler in the night and practical for indoor setting especially by a brightly window area.

All of these begonias are specially imported from overseas and are not often found in local cultivation due to their sensitive needs and may easily succumb to rot if overwatered. Hence they are expensive and in most cases plant vendors may have to bear the cost of plant purchase when these begonias dies in their care when sales are not successful.

However, it is not an impossible plant to acclimatize in the lowland tropical regions as long as their right conditions are met especially the soil medium and the watering regime.


These Begonia are very much like Iron Cross Begonia Types but hybrids and so their care and cultivation of these types are very similar in nature.

This particular Begonia had been catalogued as a smaller version of another hybrid known as Begonia masoniana Mountain. These are the determine of difference of their plant growth size - Mountain version appearing a bigger sized leaves whereas Rock being more of a smaller type leaf size.

The challenge might be frustrating to accurately identify and determine which is exactly Begonia Masoniana 'Lonely Rock' vs Begonia Masoniana Mountain. There is another one is commonly labelled as Begonia Iron Cross Variegata (however the black pigmentation for variegata does not split into a fork)

It is a pity that most plant vendors do not give proper specifics on the true plant care and requirements when these are sold in their counters of which can prove challenging and at times bring disappointments and heartaches to most novice gardeners when the plant is already half dead or dying and there is nothing much can be done when the plant had already going through stress over a duration of time. 

As far as I had known, only a handful of Begonia cultivators are able to cultivate and grow them successfully and that is not without great effort and care as these are highly sensitive plants.

Care Needs:

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.

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.

Another tricky part about this particular one is that it cannot receive too much humidity as it may cause rot on the leaves and hence it appears to be more on a drier side. That specific balance is needed - not too humid and not too dry - that would be that accurate setting for these particular masoniana begonia types.

All things been said, It is true that most plant lovers feels great accomplishment in their ability to get this particular types cultivated successfully in their hands - that feeling of accomplishment is priceless.
Hence Begonia Enthusiast will continue to persist and endure in all these trials and error until successfully accomplished. 

And so, the journey continues as I keep researching and identifying whatever methods that might work in compiling these experiences in a database for future reference and study.

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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