What House Plant Is This?

(Question)

Hello, just wandering if you could identify this house plant? Hope the three pics went through. Thanx: Plant Photo #3

 

(Answer)

Thank you for your inquiry. The plant in question is a begonia. Begonias are tender perennial flowering plants, in the family Begoniaceae. Begonia enthusiasts collect these plants  for their interesting foliage shape and colour.

All begonias have fleshy stems and the common characteristic of lopsided leaves, with one side of the leaf larger than the other. The leaves grow on short leaf stalks/ petioles, from the plant’s underground rhizomes. The leaf edges, and undersides, are covered with short red hairs. While the beauty of these hybrids is all about the leaves, they do flower, but the flowers tend to be small and incidental.

Regardless as to the type of begonia  most houseplant begonias come from tropical regions and just as in the tropics your begonia will require bright light and moderate to high humidity for optimum growth. Placing your plant on top of a tray filled with pebbles and water is a good source of extra humidity in our dry winter homes. Avoid misting the leaves of your begonia as this can lead to powdery mildew.

Water begonias well, then allow them to dry out in between waterings. Overwatering can cause leaves to turn yellow or brown and fall off.  Fertilize your plant during the active growing period ( spring to fall) every 2 weeks with a well balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) making sure you follow dilution directions on the package.  Then, cut back fertilizing to one a month  during the winter.

Begonias prefer to be slightly pot-bound and planted in a peaty, well-drained soilless mix such as an African violet mix.

You can easily propagate a new begonia plant either from stem sections, or leaf cuttings. In order to  propagate your plant  from a leaf cutting simply remove a leaf with part of its petiole attached. Make a few slits across the major leaf veins and pin the leaf flat on top of the sterile soiless mix, making sure the leaf has contact with the soil. New plants will form at the slits in the veins.

You may also wish to check out our Gardening Guide on Growing Houseplants which discusses the basic requirements for growing healthy houseplants.