Plant Care:

Begonia Iron Cross

Description:

The bright-green puckered leafs marked with a centre reddish-brown iron-cross pattern make the Begonia Iron Cross instantly recognizable (and a head turner). It’s most typically found in forests in China, where it will grow up to about 50cm tall.

Botanical Classification: Begonia masoniana

Pets And Kids:

Poisonous for both cats and dogs.

Plant Parent Care Tips:

  • Repot in spring. Move your plant up to a pot only 1 size larger. 
  • If your begonia is too tall and leggy, pinch your plant!  You can pinch off stems to keep it compact. Don’t toss out those stem cuttings either — propagate them for more plants. 
  • Don’t overwater. This is one of the few problems with growing begonias. Begonia masoniana has rhizomatous roots that store water, so allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
  • Iron Cross loves humidity, so mist regularly. Another way to increase humidity is to put the pot on a dish filled with pebbles and then half-filled with water.

General Care:

Water:

Water thoroughly, allowing the top 1 in (2.5 cm) of soil to dry out between waterings. Avoid getting water on the leaves because they spot easily and are prone to mildew and other fungus. What this beautiful begonia really craves is high humidity. Mist regularly!

Sunlight:

Bright, indirect sunlight. You’ll get the best leaf colour in bright light. Will tolerate semi-shade.

Placement:

Does best in a bright room with a south, east or west window.

Food:

Feed monthly year-round with a half-strength water-soluble fertilizer. Don’t feed a dormant plant.

Common Issues:

Suddenly collapse or shrivelling up: Don’t panic! It’s not uncommon for this begonia to go dormant in winter. While it’s tempting to overwater a withered plant — stop watering during dormancy. 

Crispy edges on leaves: Symptom of low humidity. Mist regularly.

Interesting Fact

The light green leaf of this plant bears a reddish-brown marking resembling the Iron Cross used on shields and flags during the Crusades of medieval times.