Begonia masoniana (Iron cross begonia) is a perennial, rhizomatous indoor house plant and can grow up to 20 inches tall. It has large, asymmetrical, heavily textured green leaves covered in reddish hairs, with a prominent dark brown pattern in the center of each leaf, reminiscent of the German Iron Cross. It creates small pinkish-white or pale green flowers appear in spring and summer, but these blossoms are insignificant compared to the magnificent foliage.
Scientific Name: Begonia masoniana
Common Name: Iron cross begonia
How to grow and maintain Begonia masoniana:
It grows well in bright indirect sunlight originating from a south, east or west window. It also thrives under fluorescent lights.
It requires a well-drained, peat moss based soil, such as African violet potting mix.
Water your plant regularly during the growing season and always keep the soil evenly moist but never allow your plant to sit in water. You can allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry out between each watering. During the winter months, reduce watering.
It prefers an average room temperature of 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit / 18 – 24 degrees Celsius. Iron cross begonia is not cold-tolerant and can be harmed by temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit / 13 degrees Celsius.
Fertilize monthly with a 10-10-5 liquid compost diluted by half. Fertilize when the soil is already moist to avoid fertilizer burn. Do not feed your plant during the dormant period.
It can be easily propagated by stem cuttings or leaf cuttings. Take three inches to stem cuttings with leaves in early summer and root them in a moist, sterile potting blend. Cover with plastic or a glass cloche to raise the humidity around it until new leaves form.
Pests and Diseases:
There is no serious pest or disease problems. Iron cross begonia is susceptible to attacks from spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids.