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Begonia Amphioxus – Features, How to Grow and Care

by gardeningit
Begonia Amphioxus

Begonia amphioxus was named by Martin Sands of the Royal Botanic Garden in Kew, England, in 1990. This species is native to Sabah, Borneo. It is a unique and exotic ornamental houseplant. It can also be grown in terrariums as it loves humidity. Begonia amphioxus is a woody plant with several main stems arising near the ground. This is a suitable species for an experienced plant parent. It belongs to the scrubby Begonias.

Common Names

  • Pink Spotted Begonia
  • Polka Dot Begonia
  • Begonia Amphioxus ‘Butterfly’ because its leaves look like a butterfly fluttering its leaves in the wind.

Scientific Name

The scientific name Amphioxus comes from two words ‘Amphi’ meaning ‘both’ and ‘oxys’ meaning ‘pointy.’ The title refers to the leaves which are pointed at both ends.

General Information of Begonia Amphioxus

  • Type: Terrestrial Shrub
  • Height: 6-12 inches, 12-18 inches
  • Spacing: 18-24 inches
  • Foliage color: Burgundy, Maroon, Light green
  • Sun Exposure: Light shade
  • Water: Average moisture, do not overwater
  • Flower Period: All year
  • Flower Colour: Purple or white.
  • Where to Grow: Suitable for containers, terrariums

Classification of Begonia Amphioxus

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Order: Cucurbitales
  • Family: Begoniaceae
  • Genus: Begonia L.

Origin and Distribution

Begonia Amphioxus was discovered near a limestone hill of Batu Punggul in Sabah, Borneo, in 1984. The Begonia species are found in the moist understory of tropical and subtropical regions. Begonias are native to South and Central America, Africa, and Southern Asia. The majority of the plants in this genus are significantly hybridized because of their unusual flowers and foliage.

Features of Begonia Amphioxus

The Genus Begonia has more than 1800 species such as Begonia Corallina, Begonia Ferox and many more. They are terrestrial herbs or under shrubs. Begonia Amphioxus has unisexual male and female flowers growing independently on the same plant. They have admirable, elongated, asymmetrical leaves with markings, that make the plant stand out. Begonias are native to tropical regions, so they require warm and humid temperatures.

Flowers

Begonia Amphioxus has bright, purple or white flowers that can bloom in any season and can blossom up to three times a year. Flowers have sepals but no petals. This exotic, terrestrial plant is monoecious, which means that each flower is either male or female on the same plant. The flowers of Begonia are thus ‘unisexual.’ The fruit is a winged capsule that splits open at maturity to release its numerous tiny seeds.

Leaves

The leaves of these ornamental houseplants are its most striking feature. The leaves are lance-shaped and have maroon spots on them. Its beauty is just out of this world. The leaves are pointed at both ends. On average, the leaves are 3-5 cm in length and 1-2 cm in width.

Air Purification

Begonia plants enhance air quality by filtering out benzene and other harmful chemicals from the air. They purify the air you breathe and remove airborne toxins from your home to make the air healthier.

Toxicity

These plants are quite toxic and will cause extreme burning if eaten by pets. They can cause acute toxicity, swollen lips, and tongue, difficulty in swallowing. Begonias contain insoluble oxalates that can kill pets. Thus, you must be really careful with the plant if you have pets. However, these plants are not toxic to humans.

Begonia Amphioxus Care

The Begonia Amphioxus care requirements make it unsuitable for beginners. This specie needs high levels of humidity and does best in a terrarium. Light requirements are shade to partial shade. If grown indoors, it thrives under fluorescent light. The ideal temperature is between 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water Requirements

Begonia Amphioxus needs the right amount of water. It is recommended to water it every alternate day in summers and just once a week in winter. It is essential to let the leaves dry out completely between watering as it can lead to leaf rot and fungus.

Begonia Amphioxus Light Requirements

In nature, these plants are found in the understory of tropical regions, so mimicking their natural habitat is key to a healthy plant. Begonias thrive well in dappled to bright indirect light. However, exposing this exotic terrestrial plant to direct sunlight will burn it. Indoors, a north-facing window is an ideal spot to keep it. When the plant is in bloom, it needs a good supply of indirect light.

Artificial or Indoor Light Requirements

Begonia Amphioxus is a container plant and grows well indoors. It becomes well in artificial light. However, a distance of 20-40 cm is recommended for optimal growth. If the plant is kept too close to the light source, it can get overheated or even burned.

Temperature

Begonia Amphioxus is a sensitive plant, and too much fluctuation is not suitable for it. Optimum temperatures for the plant are from 15- 30 degrees Celsius (50-85 degrees Fahrenheit). Since it is a tropical species, it requires a warm environment. A north-facing window is recommended for indoor plants. During blooming, the plant needs more light.

Humidity

An essential aspect of Begonia Amphioxus care is high humidity. 60-80% humidity is favorable for daytime, whereas 80-100% humidity is endorsed for night time. On especially hot and dry days, you can mist your plant too. If your home environment is too dry, then add a pebble- water tray under your plant container to balance the humidity level. In addition to this, a humidifier can likewise do the job. Be careful and do not overwater your plant for extended periods.

Soil and Substrate Requirements

Begonia Amphioxus care needs a well-drained substrate. Soil should be robust and fertile. An ordinary houseplant mix in packets is a suitable option. You can add limestone chips too for better growth of the plant. The soil should be mildly acidic to neutral, between 6.1-7.5 acidity level.

Fertilizer Requirements

This species of plants need monthly fertilizing in summers. In winters, however, once in every two to three months is advised. A houseplant fertilizer works fine for Begonia Amphioxus care. When your Begonia is flowering, it’s fertilizer requirements increase. As the mother plant needs additional energy to produce flowers.

Pruning

You should prune or cut off dead leaves or branches of your Begonia Amphioxus once a year. This is usually enough for a healthy appearance.

Repotting

Springtime is best to report your Begonias and should be done once a year. A larger pot with more soil will retain moisture longer, making Begonia Amphioxus care more accessible for you.

Seed Collection

Allow the seed heads to dry on the plants. Remove and collect the seeds for propagation.

Propagation of Begonia Amphioxus

It is relatively easy to propagate Begonias. It can be spread in these ways:

  • Seeds, winter sow in vented containers or unheated conservatories
  • Leaf cuttings
  • Simple layering
  • Herbaceous stem cutting
  • Softwood cutting
  • Propagation by water

Propagation of Begonia Amphioxus by Seeds

The Begonia seeds are tiny. It takes a lot of patience to propagate them. Saving the seeds of your hybrid plants will not yield baby plants that look just like the parent plant. Hybrids are made by crossing different varieties. However, if the hybrid seeds are sterile, there will be no reproduction.

Propagation by Leaf Cutting

To make copies of your Begonia Amphioxus from cutting, you need to snip a few healthy leaves from the plant.

  • Turn the leaves over and cut them longitudinally with sharp scissors. There should be a vein in each slice. With this method, we can get a lot of baby Begonias. However, if you want only a few new baby Begonias, then there is no need for slicing the leaves.
  • Just pluck some leaves from the mother plant, leave one-inch stalk that attaches the leaf to the stem. Now fill a tray with a well-draining and clean potting mix.
  • Use a combination of perlite, peat moss, and vermiculite or any other potting medium. Plant the leaves in the soil, and cover the tray with a plastic bag.
  • A nursery for your leaves is ready. Store the tray in a warm and bright spot, away from direct sunlight.
  • Make sure to keep the soil moist by misting it. The soil should not be too wet as it leads to fungus and diseases.
  • In about 3-4 weeks, roots will start forming. By the seventh or eighth week of propagation, baby plants are ready to be moved to their containers or in the garden.

Propagation by Herbaceous Stem Cutting

The most common and easiest method of reproduction is by stem cutting. Here is a step by step guide to get a baby Amphioxus Begonia plant:

  1. Using a sharp cutter, cut a 5-6cm stem from the mother plant.
  2. Pluck the leaves from the bottom half of the stem and soak it in a growth hormone.
  3. Now plant the stem about 3 inches deep in moist soil or sphagnum moss. Make sure to know the upper and lower side of your stem well. If the stem is planted upside down, the propagation will not be successful.
  4. Move the plant pot in a warm and moist place with partial or dappled sunlight.
  5. In about a month or so, roots will develop.

Begonia Amphioxus Water Propagation

This method is relatively simple. All you need to do is dip a cutting of Begonia Amphioxus in a glass of water. The easiest method to propagate your Begonia Amphioxus plants is by rooting the cuttings in a glass of clean water. You can put a couple of cuttings in each glass. When the roots are half an inch long, the cuttings are ready to be planted.

Timeline

Following is an estimated growth timeline of your Begonia Amphioxus plant. Individual results may vary. Close observation is necessary for optimal growth as these are living plants, and their needs must be met accordingly.

DAY 1: Plant stem cuttings are placed in water or a suitable growth medium. The plant is placed in a warm, humid environment with filtered sunlight.

DAY 2 – DAY 50: If the stem was propagated in water, it doesn’t need much care yet. Plants propagated in soil need to be kept moist. By the 3rd week, roots are starting to grow. Keep a close eye on the plant if the ground appears dry, mist with water once every alternate day.

DAY 50 – DAY 70: The water propagated baby plants should be transferred to the soil now.

DAY 70 – DAY 100: The baby plant will have roots and shoots growing by now. Regular misting up to three times a week is recommended.

The baby plants are quite stable now and do not need extra attention. Regular Begonia Amphioxus care and maintenance is enough.

Conclusion

Begonia Amphioxus is an exotic, evergreen plant with an unusual appearance. It is treasured for its unique leaves with red spots and margins. Suitable for growing in terrariums, and flowers frequently throughout the year. It has a shrub-like growth habit. In bloom, the flowers add an extra flair to it.

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