Begonia metallica and Begonia rex

METAL BEGONIA

A bushy foliage plant with shiny green leaves. The veins, crimson on the underside of the leaf and black above, produce a unique metallic effect. Compared to some other Begonias, this bears insignificant flowers. Alongside other plants, it provides a striking contrast.

metal-begonTemperatures:

Growing season 15-22 °C (60-72 °F)

Minimum winter 10 °C (50 °F)

Soil: A mixture of 30% peat and 70% soil-less compost.

When it looks sick: This is identical to Begonia Rex and treatment is the same.

Begonia Rex

A medium sized, usually well-shaped foliage plant. The large leaves are beautifully coloured with a silver band running parallel to the leaf’s edge. They are mostly used to provide contrast with other plants kept in their company.

Temperatures:

Growing season 15-22 °C (60-72 °F)

Minimum winter 13 C (55 °F)

Soil: A mixture of 30% peat and 70% soil-less compost.

Where to position: It thrives in good light or semi-shade, and tolerates draughts and temperature changes. Keep out of strong sunlight.

Watering requirements: Lukewarm water. Maintain a moist springy soil condition; do not allow the soil to dry out. Mist-spray weekly – droplets must not form on the leaves. This plant likes humidity.

Feeding and fertilizer: Give well-diluted liquid fertilizer weekly during the growing season. Remove any dead leaves close to the main stem and dust the wound lightly with fungicide powder. Pinch out the flowers as they appear. Only pinch out shoots to produce a good shape.

Rest and care: Growth slows in winter. Give less water and stop feeding. Rest for six weeks, then increase light and warmth. As growth starts, increase water to maintain the correct soil condition. Feed when growth becomes vigorous.

When it looks sick:

Plant flags : Stop watering until the soil condition is springy to the touch.

Dry brown areas on leaves : Restore soil condition and water regularly to retain it.

Browning leaf edges : Ensure that the plant is not suffering from draughts or temperature fluctuations. Fungus : May establish itself on open wounds ; use a fungicidal dusting powder.

Where to position: A good bright position, protected from strong sunlight. It tolerates slight draughts or temperature changes.

Watering requirements: Maintain a moist, springy soil condition. No spraying or special humidity conditions are necessary.

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