Begonia malabarica – Flowering plants

Begonia malabarica is a small shrub medicinal plant that grows up to 80 inches tall. The stems are reddish, glabrous. It has heart-shaped leaves that are 2-4 inches, pointed, very unequal at the base, with a toothed margin. The flowers arise in leaf axils, with flower-cluster-stalks rarely exceeding 2-3 inches. Flowers are rose-colored, not very many on a peduncle. The male flowers have 4 tepals, and the female flowers have 3 tepals. Capsule are obovate, 3-winged, wing horizontal at the apex, placentas 2-fid, seeds many, minute, oblong, cylindrical, ridged, and reticulate at one end.

Scientific classification

Family: Begoniaceae
Genus: Begonia
Species: B. malabarica
Scientific Name: Begonia malabarica
Synonyms: Begonia hydrophila, Begonia fallax, Begonia rubrosetulosa
Common Name: Malabar Begonia

How to grow and care for Begonia malabarica

Light

It grows well in bright indirect sunlight originating from a south, east, or west window. It also thrives under fluorescent lights. Avoid direct sun which can scorch the leaves.

Soil

It requires a well-drained, peat moss-based soil, such as African violet potting mix.

Water

Water your plant regularly during the growing season and always keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. You can allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry out between each watering. During the winter months, reduce watering. Overwatering will cause leaves to turn yellow.

Temperature

It prefers an average room temperature of 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit / 18 – 24 degrees Celsius. Begonia is not cold-tolerant and can be harmed by temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit / 13 degrees Celsius.

Fertilizer

Feed every two weeks spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Do not feed your plant during the dormant period.

Propagation

It can be easily propagated by stem cuttings. Take stem cuttings in spring and root in fresh potting mix. Keep the soil lightly moist. Cover the whole container and plant with a plastic bag or cloche to hold in humidity. Begonia seeds are slow to germinate. You can sow seeds in the spring, but it can take several months to grow.

Pests and Diseases

Begonia malabarica has no serious pest or disease problems. It is susceptible to attacks from spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids.

Benefits of Begonia malabarica

  • Begonia malabarica is an important medicinal plant whose main secondary metabolites are luteolin, quercetin and β-sitosterol.
  • The leaves of Malabar Begonia are used for the treatment of respiratory infections, diarrhea, blood cancer, and skin diseases.

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