How to grow and care for Begonia lucerna Indoors

Begonia lucerna

Begonia lucerna is highly valued for its ability to grow in low light environment while providing extravagant colours. Begonia Lucerna whose full name is Begonia Corallina de Lucerna is a hybridized form of the Angel Wing Begonia. It was hybridized by Wettstein of Lucerne, Switzerland in 1892. This evergreen flowering Begonia may be less spectacular in bloom than other Begonias but has the advantage of keeping its beautiful "Angel Wing" leaves through out the year. It is one of the popular cane-stemmed Begonias. It is easy to grow and propagate. Begonia lucerna can reach the height of 6 ft or more if left unpruned. The leaves are narrow "Angel Wings", olive green with small silver spots on the top and often red-veined. The flowers are large clusters which hang from the stems.

How to Grow Begonia lucerna

Light

Shade or bright light for Begonia lucerna. Keep it away from direct sunlight. Occasionally turn the pot to ensure the plant grows uniformly on all sides. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants

Water

For optimum growth of Begonia lucerna, keep the soil moist during the growing period but allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold months as growth is minimal. Avoid waterlogging of the soil as it can lead to Root-rot Disease. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Average warmth with a minimum of 130C is ideal for Begonia lucerna. Protect the plant from cold draughts. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Begonia lucerna prefers a humid environment for optimum growth. To raise humidity set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Occasionally clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Do not mist Begonia lucerna as wetting the leaves may lead to fungal infestations.

Feeding

Feed Begonia lucerna with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer weekly during the growing period. To promote blooming, apply a phosphorous-rich fertilizer weekly when buds begin to develop. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal. Learn more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Begonia lucerna at the beginning of the growing period only if the plant has become root-bound or is too large for the pot; the plant prefers to be slightly root-bound. Use a rich free-draining soil and a pot 1 size larger. Ensure the pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging as it can lead to root-rot. Do not repot a flowering plant as the shock of repotting will cut short the flowering.

Pruning

Pruning Begonia lucerna is easy. Remove the dead flowers, yellow and dead leaves to keep the plant neat and tidy. Do not pinch the growing buds. Cut back the bare stems at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth. The foliage emanating from pruning can be used to propagate new plants. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Begonia lucerna

Begonia lucerna can be propagated from stem-tip cuttings at the beginning of the growing period.

Propagating Begonia lucerna from stem-tip cuttings
Take a 3-4 in. stem-tip cutting from a healthy Begonia lucerna plant. Insert the cutting in moist free-draining soil. Place the set up in a warm shaded place. Maintain the soil moist until the new plant is well established.

Common Problems in Begonia lucerna

  • Yellowing leaves
  • The leaves of Begonia lucerna may yellow due to two reasons. One is too little light; move the plant to a brighter spot. Begonia lucerna prefers shade to bright light but away from direct sunlight. Two is too little or too much water; maintain the soil moist at all times but not soggy. Never allow the soil to dry out completely. Learn more on how to water houseplant.

  • Loss of leaves
  • There are three reasons for loss of leaves in Begonia lucerna. One is too little light; move the plant to a brighter spot. Begonia lucerna prefers shade to bright light away from direct sunlight. The second reason is too much heat; the best temperature for Begonia lucerna is average room temperature that is a temperature that is comfortable for you is good for this plant. Third is too much water (waterlogging); ensure the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole.

  • Flower buds drop
  • The causes of flower bud drop in Begonia lucerna are two. One cause is dry air; raise humidity by setting the pot on a wet pebble tray but do not mist the leaves. The second cause is underwatering; maintain the soil moist at all times and never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

  • Brown leaf tips
  • If the air humidity is too low, Begonia lucerna will respond with brown leaf tips. To raise humidity for Begonia lucerna, set the pot on a wet pebble tray but do not mist the leaves to prevent disease infestation.

  • Pale, rotting leaves
  • The reason for pale, rotting leaves in Begonia lucerna is waterlogging of the soil. Maintain the soil moist but not soggy. Ensure the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging.

  • White powdery spots
  • This is an indication of Powdery Mildew in Begonia lucerna. Isolate the affected plant, cut off diseased leaves and treat appropriately. Avoid damp conditions and low temperatures and improve air circulation.

  • Brown blotches, turning grey and moldy
  • This is an indication of Botrytis Disease in Begonia lucerna. Isolate the affected plant, cut off diseased parts and treat appropriately. Avoid low light and over damp conditions and improve air circulation.

  • Plant collapse
  • There are three reasons for plant collapse in Begonia lucerna. One is Stem Rot Disease due to waterlogging. The second reason is Nematodes (Root Knot Eelworm) which are characterized by swollen bumps on roots. The third reason is Vine Weevil which is characterized by tunnels in the rhizomes.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Begonia lucerna are Aphids and Red Spider Mites.

Toxicity

All parts of Begonia lucerna and especially the roots are considered mildly toxic to pets. If ingested they may cause burning in the mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains.

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