Earth is blessed with beautiful and unique plants of different kinds. Let us learn about one more plant with a pretty unusual appearance. Begonia amphioxus is an exotic terrestrial plant, popular for its admirable foliage. This evergreen Malaysian native plant has elongated leaves pointed at both ends. These leaves are green with maroon or burgundy spots and margins. The unusual shape, colors, and spotted pattern of leaves make the plant look heavenly.
Do you want one more surprise? The small unusual flowers can bloom in any season of the year adding to the beauty of the plant. Amphioxus Begonia is an indoor decorative plant and an excellent choice for making terrariums and hanging baskets. This article will provide you with the basic and important information about the Begonia amphioxus plant along with its care and propagation.
Begonia Amphioxus Classification
The scientific classification is as under:
The scientific name amphioxus comes from the Greek language. Where ‘Amphi’ means ‘both’ and ‘Oxus’ stands for ‘pointed’. Thus, the name refers to the pointed ends of the amphioxus leaves.
One of the largest genera of flowering plants, Begonia has more than 1,800 species of perennial flowering plants. They are natives to humid tropical and subtropical climates, Begonias are found in America, Africa, and South Asia. Moreover, this genus has both indoor and outdoor plants. Some species are indoor ornamental plants and prefer cool temperatures. A large number of Begonias is still poorly described and much information is yet to be described. Alternatively, the others are adaptive to live outdoors especially in summer requiring bright light for their petal-less flowers.
The majority of the plants are unisexual having male and female plant species. Additionally, the majority of the members of the genus are extensively hybridized for their beautiful flowers and foliage.
Begonia Amphioxus Common Names
- This plant is commonly known as Begonia amphioxus ‘Butterfly’. This is due to its brightly dotted foliage somewhat resembling a butterfly.
- Pink Spotted Begonia.
- Polka Dot Begonia.
History of The Begonia Amphioxus Plant
The plant was discovered in 1984. It was found growing around the small limestone hill of Batu Punggul in Sabah, a Malaysian state in the island Borneo. However, the new species from Borneo was officially named in 1990 by Martin Sands from the Royal Botanic Garden of Kew in England.
Features of The Begonia Amphioxus Plant
In this section, we will have a look at the basic features of this shrub:
- This plant is a terrestrial plant and belongs to the shrubby or bushy Begonias.
- An average plant can get 6 to 10 inches (15 to 30cm) in height and 4 to 12 inches in width (10 to 31cm).
- The leaves of the plant are long and pointed. The average leaf is 3 to 5 cm long and 1 to 2 cm wide.
- Flowers are not very showy. Moreover, they are small and purple or white in color.
- The evergreen Amphioxus plant blossoms about three times, throughout the year.
- The growth speed of the plant is normal.
- Just like other Begonias, this plant has the ability to purify the air.
Begonia Amphioxus Care
How to take care of Begonia amphioxus? This plant is a moisture and warmth-loving plant. Let us learn more about its requirements;
Amphioxus just like other Begonias needs an average to a good amount of water. You may water thrice a week in summer and once a week in the winter. Make sure you let the soil get slightly dry between consecutive watering. Additionally, do not let the foliage stay wet for a long duration, as it will lead to fungus and leaf rot.
Moreover, you can easily water the plant above the foliage.
The plant loves partial sun to bright indirect light. Make sure you avoid keeping it indirect light as it will burn the plant. Are you thinking about the best place to put your B.amphioxus plant? A north-facing window can be a good place to put your plant. Ample light will be required for the plant after it starts flowering.
This plant is suitable for the indoor environment. Thus, it does great in artificial light as well. Close exposure to the light source may burn the plant. So, we suggest you keep it at least 20 to 40 cm away from the light source.
Another important part of the Begonia amphioxus care is that it is a warm growing plant. The optimum temperature range for the plant is around 15 to 30 degrees Centigrade. (50 to 85 ** F).
Fluctuations in temperature from the optimal range are not much suitable for the plant.
High humidity is an important aspect of Begonia amphioxus care. A range of 60-80% humidity is optimal during the day. On the other hand, 80-100% humidity is suitable for the nighttime.
Occasional misting especially on hot and dry days shows good results for the foliage of the plant. If you feel that the moisture level is inadequate, you can increase it by adding a pebble-water tray under the plant pot. A humidifier can also be added to the room. However, avoid over wetting the plant for long hours.
Soil and Substrate Requirements
The plant needs a good draining substrate. Well-drained and rich soil shows a good result for the plant foliage. A normal peat mix and ordinary house plant mix are suitable in packed options. Additionally, you can add limestone chips in the common soil to get better results for the plant.
As far as PH is concerned, the acidity of the soil or substrate should be between 6.1 to 7.5 (mildly acidic to neutral).
Begonias enjoy regular fertilizing. In summers, you can fertilize once a month. However, once in two or three months is enough for the winter season. You can try ordinary NPK fertilizer or a suitable house plant fertilizer.
To maintain a healthy appearance of the plant, you should prune once a year or as required.
(Pruning is the process of cutting dead or overgrown leaves and branches of a plant.)
You can repot the plant once a year. Spring is the ideal time to repot the plant.
The plant can grow in USDA growth zones 3 to 11. They are frost sensitive in general. However, they are winter hardy in zone 8 to 11 only.
Begonia amphioxus Propagation
The plant is easy to propagate. Common methods of propagation are as under;
- Leaf cuttings.
- Herbaceous stem cuttings.
- Simple layering.
If you like to do ‘Do it yourself’ experiments in gardening; you can collect the seeds of the plant. Just let the flower heads get dried on the plant and collect the plant after removing them. Seeds are sown in vented containers in the winter season.
However, seed propagation is a time taking process. So if you lack patience, better to try other methods.
Propagation by Stem Cuttings
Stem cutting is a common and easy method for propagation. The ideal time for propagation is spring and summer.
Important steps of getting a baby Amphioxus Begonia plant are as under;
Take a sharp knife and cut a 5 to 6 cm long stem from a healthy adult plant. Remove the leaves from the lower region of the stem cutting and dip the base in growth hormone. Now, plant it in moist soil or sphagnum moss. Make sure to plant at least 3 inches deep. Keep the plant pot in a warm place with partial sunlight exposure. Make sure you know the upper and lower side of the stem cutting. Thus, the propagation will not be successful if you plant the stem in the wrong direction.
After about three to four weeks, roots will start developing.
Can I propagate Begonia amphioxus in the water?
Yes, you can take a glass of water and dip the cutting to get baby Amphioxus plants.
Let us have a look at the estimated growth pattern of the plant. You need to keep the plant under observation and adjust the requirements accordingly.
- Day 1: Plant the stem cuttings in water or suitable moist substrate. Keep it in a warm and humid place with indirect light.
- Day 2 – Day 50: Water cuttings don’t need any particular care at this step. However, in the case of soil propagation, you need to keep the soil slightly moist. Roots formation is started by the 21st day (3rd week). Keep the baby plants under observation. Keep misting the soil according to once in two days.
- Day 50 to 70: you can now transfer the tiny water propagated plantlets in the soil.
- Day 70 – Day 100: Roots and shoots will be developed up till now. Keep misting the soil thrice a week.
Boom! The baby plants don’t need more of your attention by now. Just follow the regular steps of Begonia care and enjoy the growth of this heavenly plant.
Begonia amphioxus is a unique and beautiful evergreen flowering plant with a bushy growth habit. The light green leaves with reddish spots and margins are pointed at both ends. This plant blooms almost throughout the year with small flowers. This indoor ornamental plant makes perfect terrariums and hanging baskets. Moreover, this is an air-purifying plant.