Begonia masoniana , or Iron Cross Begonia, is a tender, herbaceous perennial, typically grown as an ornamental houseplant, that is native to China and Vietnam. And finally, feeding is vital to get the foliage looking at its best. Known for its striking, two-tone foliage, iron-cross begonia gets its name from the brown markings on its leaves which resemble the Iron Cross displayed on shields during the Crusades. But oh, how much I want to grow these beautiful plants, with their foliage shaped like lopsided hearts (or in botanical parlance, obliquely ovate leaves) splashed, striped, and swirled with silver, pink, plum, purple, chocolate, and scarlet. When there are whole brown leaves on a plant, this can indicate several dozen problems; but when just the sides or tips of the leaf turn brown, there is only one problem — the plant is stressed. Iron Cross has large bumpy like leaves that are a favorite of most. Booman advises feeding with a soluble houseplant feed once a month, April through August, at a concentration of 180 parts per million nitrogen. Bulbs are intended to withstand low temperatures. The Begonia Masoniana is a strong houseplant and originates from South China and North Vietnam. Growing Requirements for Iron Cross Begonia Plants Iron Cross Begonias are perennial, rhizomatous plants that grow from 8"-15" tall with 6" leaves. iron cross begonia begonia masoniana. When given salty water, they pump it to the leaf edges, where it evaporates, leaving these same salts at the pores. Iron Cross Begonia is rhizomatous perennial begonia that has small white flowers and textured asymmetrical green leaves. The small pink-flushed, white flowers, borne in erect panicles, are an added bonus. Receive the Gardenista newsletter in your inbox daily. “Leaves naturally begin to yellow and fall no matter how much fertilizer you apply. Remove any fruit loaded with seeds, damaged leaves, and put the hotpot behind a bay window not necessarily sunny - the sun in the morning is enough. It has large leaves with red veins and the edges are curly and frilly like foam! Here are the three AGM varieties the testers liked best. Each bright-green puckered leaf is marked with a reddish-brown iron-cross pattern in the center. Your begonias will make new buds and flowers all season long. Outdoors, water tuberous begonias in the garden with a drip system or a hose than drips directly into the soil. It owes its name to the cruciform pattern on its leaves. Iron Cross Begonia. These plants are the ‘cacti of the humid jungles’. SOURCEBOOK FOR CONSIDERED LIVING The Gardenista editors provide a curated selection of product recommendations for your consideration. I warned him I had quite a few questions about humidity levels, fertilizer requirements, water quality, how much to water—Are there special watering techniques?—and possibly more. Fifty-five percent is the Begonia rex sweet spot, but higher will work too: “I have seen plants happily growing in wet seeps at the edges of caves in Panama where humidity hovers near 100 percent day and night,” Booman notes. The rough textured leaves bear a striking dark brown pattern resembling an iron cross, hence the name. Little Keepsake - $9.99 Iron cross begonias are only cold hardy in zones 10 and 11. Genus Begonia can be annuals, evergreen or deciduous perennials or shrubs, with fibrous, tuberous or rhizomatous roots and usually asymmetrical leaves, often strikingly patterned, and small or large flowers, both male and female in the same cluster Mike Kartuz grew this cultivar from seed from B. masoniana. If you see brown, crispy leaf edges, give the plant more humidity. Your resource for finding the best storage and home organization solutions for every room in the house. The soil must be allowed to get light in weight, almost dry, before they are watered again. Mealybugs may attack both outdoor and indoor plants, appearing as cottony masses on the leaf joints and sometimes causing leaf stunting. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about the fact that I’ve probably composted a few dormant begonias in my time, but it’s also worth noting that key to these survival strategies is the moist air that the plants find in their native climes: The Begonia rex species from which all the plants were bred comes from Assam, northern India. Iron cross begonia is not. Iron Cross Begonias are easy to grow house plants that enjoy spending the summer in a shady part of the garden. This large class is marked by multiple stems that are soft and green rather than … Iron Cross Begonia. Nitrogen is all-important for leaf production, and although rex begonias do flower, you can pinch out or snip off the flowers when they come in winter to chivvy the plant into putting all its energy into leaf production. The Begonia Masoniana can also function as a hanging plant. That’s because many cultivars have profound winter dormancy. Foliar Nematode "Plants are stunted. The leaf has the brown iron cross in the center, which is outlined with green Then there is a wide creamy colored band that runs to the margin. Iron Cross makes a wonderful houseplant and loves the hot, humid summers outdoors as well. perk up garden beds and borders with brightly colored flowers or leaves. According to the University of Illinois Extension, rex begonias with crispy brown leaf margins are usually suffering from low humidity levels. Roundish leaves, with a slight spiral, are silver with a green center and green edging. Booman has another trick: Water thoroughly so that at least 20 percent of the water flows out of the pot, and don’t let the plant sit in the water for a second, so that the salts cannot be taken up by the plant. Dormant leafless plants take on the appearance of a pile of snakes coiled on the soil, as the twisted old rhizomes wait for a signal from the sun that longer days have returned, making it safe to push out new leaf growth again.”. Begonia masoniana, commonly called iron cross begonia, is a rhizomatous begonia that grows to 18" tall. Water your rex begonia deeply, allowing the soil to become almost completely dry between waterings. And if all doesn’t go well? The other key to success with rex begonias in Booman’s book is tap-water quality. See more of our favorite tropical plants in Tropical Plants 101 and more indoor plants with exotic foliage in Houseplants 101. Luckily, he had the answers. Browse our collection of more than 2,000 plants and seeds, which can be ordered directly from our favorite shops and growers. This rhizomatous tender perennial is native to extreme southern China near the border of Vietnam. Petals show brown spots or transparent blotches where water drops have soaked in. Given some humidity and filtered light Begonia masoniana is not difficult grow. See our obsessively curated catalog of favorite products sourced by the Gardenista editors. Stick your finger into the soil before you water to check for dampness. Family Begoniaceae (Begonia Family), University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension: Houseplants -- Begonia, Missouri Botanical Garden: Begonia Rex-Cultorum, University of California IPM: Water Excess or Deficiency, Yellow Leaves on a Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana. They are mainly cultivated for their foliage and usually grown under glass or in frost free environments. Iron Cross Begonia (Begonia masoniana) in the Begonias Database - Garden.org New and … Their main quibble with modern homes is dry air, Booman tells me, causing brown edges on the foliage followed by leaf drop. Rex begonias have high humidity needs, requiring levels around 50 percent or more. Rex begonia (Begonia rex-cultorum) is a notoriously high maintenance frost tender perennial commonly grown indoors as a houseplant. Propagating Begonia Iron Cross (Begonia masoniana) - YouTube Avoid overhead sprinkling. Outdoors, where rex begonias are only hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11, the plant prefers partial or even full shade, though some morning sunlight is fine. Identify the cause of the fickle plant's distress and make the necessary adjustments to help the plant recover so it can exhibit the striking foliage rex begonias are famous for. Booman has been working to breed rex begonias with good salt tolerance, a tendency to hold their leaves over winter, and novel leaf pattern or intense leaf color. Look here for advice on plants and hardscape materials. This plant is also called the ‘iron cross’ begonia. Shield blossoms when misting containerized plants. The Iron Cross Begonia is an evergreen, rhizomatous perennial plant native to the tropics of Asia that can grow up to 1ft (30cm). The accumulation burns the leaf edges brown and dead.” If you live in an area with hard tap water, switching to distilled water or rainwater will fix this. This beautiful coloration is set against solid green with an overall coarse, pebbled texture adding to its royal presence. If the temperature goes below 55 degrees F at any time, it can kill the plant. Most people grow it as a house plant. The American Begonia Society calls Begonia rex “the showboat of the begonia world.” That may be, but the king begonia, or Begonia Rex Cultorum Group as they are more formally known, may just be my Achilles’ heel: a plant that simply will not thrive for me, however much care and attention I lavish on it. Direct sunlight will bleach the leaves or cause sunscald, resulting in brown, dry tips or patches. For more inspiration: Finally, don’t miss Best Houseplants: 9 Indoor Plants for Low Light. Medium green, pebbled leaves, featuring dark brown highlights on the center veins. Shade to partial shade, temp. Family Begoniaceae . Wrong. It is one of the begonias I collected first along with the Iron Cross begonia. In fall and winter, plants may undergo a natural dormancy if temperatures are low, dropping leaves and appearing dead. It's common name is "Iron Cross Begonia." Most commonly brown leaf tips or brown edges on leaves are … Water sparingly if this happens; new, healthy leaves will appear in the spring. If you’re ready to give your heart away to a rex begonia once more, which of the hundreds of varieties produced by breeders in the past 100-plus years should you choose? Gardenista’s members-only directory of landscape architects and garden designers. Begonias (Begonia spp.) The cross is reddish brown and contrasts nicely with the bright green leaves. Booman’s Great American Cities cultivars, including the scarlet-splashed ‘Chicago Fire’ and ‘Omaha Beefsteak’ with large blood-red leaves around a black center, and the ‘Beach Cities’ series including multicolored ‘Cancun Christmas’ with mid-size leaves, are definitely worth seeking out. Starting from scratch or upgrading an outdoor space? Eventually, those leaves rot and then fall off. But don’t despair if your once-glorious rex became a shriveled mess over winter. Michelle Wishhart is a writer based in Portland, Ore. She has been writing professionally since 2005, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for City on a Hill Press, an alternative weekly newspaper in Santa Cruz, Calif. An avid gardener, Wishhart worked as a Wholesale Nursery Grower at Encinal Nursery for two years. Too much sunlight can lead to fading and wilting of the leaves, and continued excessive sunlight can cause the edges of the begonias' foliage to turn brown. Booman advises feeding with a soluble houseplant feed once a month, April through August, at a concentration of 180 parts per million nitrogen. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. But don’t overwater, either, as this is the number-one mistake with so many houseplants, rex begonias included. Botanical Name: Begonia masoniana Iron cross begonia leaves are easily recognizable. Tag us using #gardenista. Care. This is a very huge leaved rhizomatous begonia. Remove mealybugs by dipping a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and using it to wipe off the pests. Shelter my iron cross begonia Put your begonia back inside - it is afraid of freezing! Extremely popular, Begonia masoniana (Iron Cross Begonia) is an evergreen, rhizomatous perennial mostly grown for its striking foliage of large, oval, rough-textured, bright green leaves, remarkably adorned with cross-shaped, dark chocolate brown centers. Houseplant leaves turn yellow and brown and dry for a variety of reasons: when grown in too little light, an irregular watering pattern, or the plant is sitting in water and may be the beginning of root rot. Indoor plants require bright, indirect light. University of Illinois Extension: Rex Begonia, University of California IPM: Begonia — Begonia spp. Tap the link in our bio for f, Visit the link in our bio for 11 eco-friendly land, Landscape designer Brook Klausing of Brook Landsca, With the help of landscape designer Becky Bourdeau, Maui Beach Cottage with a Tropical Garden, Best Houseplants: 9 Indoor Plants for Low Light, Finally, on my shopping list for my newly revived rex begonia collection are the silvery, blushed. Austin, Texas-based architect Hugh Jefferson Rando, Boxed in by boxwood? According to the University of California IPM Program, improper irrigation is among the most common causes of damage in plants. In desperation, I turned to Begonia rex breeder Jim Booman of Booman Floral, a wholesale nursery in California, for some specialist advice on how to reverse the fortunes of my begonias and get them looking lush and lovely. This begonia is one of my favorite begonias it is beautiful! Unusual! This is especially true for houseplants during the winter. This lovely variegated variety was one of the seedlings. Meet our editorial team, see our book, and get the inside scoop on upcoming Gardenista events. Iron Cross - $8.99. So water heavily when you do water, but do not water often.”. You can increase humidity by running a humidifier in the room with the plant or by placing its pot on a shallow tray filled with water and pebbles. Bronzed or water-soaked areas develop on leaves of some cultivars. 45 to 95 degrees, 10 to 12in. Snails, slugs and caterpillars love juicy begonia leaves. Overwatering begonias causes their leaves to turn yellow, a process called chlorosis. There are hundreds of cultivars of B. rex to choose among, usually classified by leaf size—small (three inches or less), medium (three to six inches), or large (more than six inches). Begonia masoniana (Iron cross begonia) is a perennial, rhizomatous indoor house plant and can grow up to 20 inches tall. Clicking through to the retailer that sells the product may earn us a commission. Begonia masoniana is a very popular species rhizomatous begonia from China. We have 200 guides on everything from fences to foxgloves. Keep water levels low enough that they do not touch the bottom of the pot. SOURCEBOOK FOR THE CONSIDERED HOME White Coating On Leaves … Overwatering and underwatering can both cause wilted, discolored foliage. General Description. The definitive guide to stylish outdoor spaces, with garden tours, hardscape help, plant primers, and daily design news. This beautiful coloration is set against solid green with an overall coarse, pebbled texture. Leaf drop—provided it occurs outside the growing season—doesn’t necessarily signal death. Shrublike begonias. They could grow up to 20 inches tall with leaves that have dark brown patterns in each leaf. Flowers are insignificant. Remove it early so that it cannot fall down into the leaves and cause them to rot. All Gardenista stories—from garden tours and expert advice to hand tools and furniture roundups. Large puckered leaves; known for chocolate-brown pattern resembling Maltese cross on green background. It's not uncommon for this begonia to go dormant in winter. Rex begonia (Begonia rex-cultorum) is a notoriously high maintenance frost tender perennial commonly grown indoors as a houseplant. Free shipping on orders over $85.00! The cross itself is a deep reddish brown, the remaining foliage in a bright mid green, textured to add further interest. The leaves are at least 12″ wide and long. An easy to grow plant on a windowsill or a shady spot outdoors during summer. A popular Begonia for good reason. Problems With Begonias and Stem Rot. The Royal Horticultural Society in the UK carried out extensive trials in 2006, giving the coveted Award of Garden Merit to 25 of the dozens of varieties they grew. I have killed every one I have owned—either a swift execution, or a lingering, painful death over several seasons. To help prevent diseases and insects, keep the plant tidy by removing dead leaves and debris from the plant and the surface of the soil. And finally, feeding is vital to get the foliage looking at its best. Excessive red pigment develops in infected leaves. Iron Cross Rex Begonia Plants produce stunning, bristly, light green leaves with thick, chocolate-brown markings that resemble iron crosses. Begonia 'Iron Cross' (Begonia masoniana) This New Guinea species is a must for any indoor collection. It is noted for its showy foliage. Grows compactly without getting spindly. It is the Iron cross pattern on the foliage that makes this such an attractive foliage plant. Iron Cross Begonia Features: An Overview. The leaves of this New Guinea species sport thick, chocolate-brown markings which radiate to the leaf margins, resembling the German Iron Cross. Remove dead and dying flowers and leaves. Its leaves sport thick, chocolate-brown markings which radiate to the leaf margins, resembling an Iron Cross. “They evolved in areas of high seasonal rainfall, and no salts in the water. Though rex begonias love warm weather, they will not grow well in full sunlight. All rights reserved. Move the begonia plants or plant a vine on a trellis, set up a shade cloth, or grow taller vegetation near the plants. Above: Like ‘Iron Cross’, this begonia has thick, pebbled leaves. That’s because “hard” water with high mineral salt content causes leaf edge burn in rex begonias because they have no mechanism to deal with salt loads. Booman agrees: “People see the tropical appearance of the leaves and assume they must water it like a pothos or philodendron. Most begonia types, except for some hybrids, prefer partial shade. Sourcebook for Cultivated Living, sister site to @remodelista Plant database entry for Iron Cross Begonia (Begonia masoniana) with 13 images and 28 data details. Synonyms Begonia 'Iron Cross' . Hint: When your blooms begin to turn brown on the edges that flower is ready to fall off. It is not as hardy as a bulb. Its large, rigid, roughly textured leaves are apple-green with single dark brown marks that resemble a German iron cross. These plants stand out due to their large, bright green, pebbly oval leaves with a striking burgundy cross at the center. Pinching off flower buds will promote bigger, … Copyright © 2007-2020 Remodelista, LLC. The leaves are oval shaped, and green with a brown iron cross pattern on the leaf blade. Keep debris away and use the snail bait regularly. Remodelista, Gardenista, 10 Easy Pieces, Steal This Look, 5 Quick Fixes, Design Sleuth, High/Low Design, Sourcebook for the Considered Home, and Sourcebook for Considered Living are ® registered trademarks of Remodelista, LLC. And exactly how much humidity? The one-stop sourcebook for the considered home, guiding readers artfully through the remodeling and design process. The terrific evergreen foliage of the iron cross begonia can’t be beat. “The plants are native to areas with high humidity, so they don’t pump water to the leaf edges very efficiently, as compared to weeds in our yards, which seem to survive no matter how dry we let them get,” Booman explains. below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Puckered, pebbly-textured bright green leaves (to 8" long) have decorative dark chocolate brown center markings which resemble the Iron Cross … Wishhart holds a Bachelor of Arts in fine arts and English literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Too much water rots the roots off the plants, especially at cool temperatures, e.g. 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. Plan your trip with our destination guides to our favorite public gardens, hotels, restaurants, and shops. This plant doesn't mind being a little pot-bound, but try to make sure it doesn't completely dry out between waterings. You may see sprays of pinkish-white flowers in spring and summer, but these blooms are insignificant compared to the magnificent foliage. It makes a statement wherever its grown! Heading somewhere? Here are his top five tips for keeping a Begonia rex alive. Sensational plant with bright green leaves with an 'iron cross' marking in dark brown. Fibrous rooted cultivars have small brown leaf spots.Some cultivars exhibit no symptoms despite heavy infection. Apply a fungicide to protect plants. A sunny windowsill with a thin curtain is the best type of spot. If your rex begonia develops crispy brown leaves, its likely a sign that the plant's cultural conditions are less than ideal. Poorly draining soil invites fungal disease and makes it difficult for the roots to suck up moisture. It has a very attractive blistered texture. Begonia masoniana 'Tricolor' is a gorgeous variegated variety of this Chinese species. Rex begonia requires a well draining, porous soil mix. Begonias are succulent plants with stems that are mostly water, which makes them very sensitive to moisture and fungus. The roots are very fine and delicate. Despite its trickiness, Begonia rex is absurdly easy to propagate, and you can make several plants from a single leaf. This species likes medium light and high humidity. Mature begonia plants range in size from a few inches high to over 12 feet high and the flowers, foliage colors and sizes are very diverse. Other common names Iron Cross begonia . 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Necessarily signal death or brown edges on the leaf blade the Gardenista editors provide a curated selection of recommendations... An overall coarse iron cross begonia leaves turning brown pebbled leaves Gardenista editors provide a curated selection product. ( begonia masoniana Iron cross begonia. cultural conditions are less than.. A single leaf mealybugs may attack both outdoor and indoor plants for low light produce stunning bristly... Begonia back inside - it is the Iron cross to its royal presence zones 10 and 11, as. For keeping a begonia rex is absurdly iron cross begonia leaves turning brown to grow house plants that enjoy spending the summer a! Commonly grown indoors as a hanging plant loves the hot, humid summers outdoors as well 's uncommon!