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Native to the elevated regions of Malaysia, this rare Begonia pavonina is a gorgeous specimen known for its dark bronze leaves with a red-shaded abaxial surface.
Also known as Peacock begonia, they are relatively grown at low light conditions making the leaves gain an attractive iridescent blue sheen.
Begonia pavonina Plant Care Basics
If you are looking for an adorable plant to graze your home, Peacock begonia is a great choice!
And with Plantly’s guide tips, be ready to get down to the nitty-gritty of caring for this begonia species.
An Ideal Potting Mix
As with most begonia plants, Begonia pavonina prefers well-draining soil, with a pH ranging from 5 to 7, which makes a slightly alkaline soil. A mixture of sphagnum moss or peat moss and perlite in 2:3 ratio is also ideal.
Generally, a fresh soil structure that allows for good drainage coupled with an amendment that improves water-absorbing capacity should promote optimum growth. When you decide to have your begonia pavonina potted, make sure you use ones with adequate drainage holes.
The Need for Adequate Lighting
You may find it interesting that the variation from their dark green leaves to blue leaves is an adaptive mechanism to absorb more light given that their native habitat has more or less diffused low-lighting conditions. Hence, they can thrive indoors.
However, it is important to note that artificial light doesn’t usually suffice, so it must be placed on spots that have access to bright indirect light, such as windows or shaded balconies.
Watering Needs of Begonia pavonina
Watering for begonias is usually moderate, moist but not overly wet. Soggy soil predisposes them to some adverse conditions, especially root rot. Yet the frequency of watering should also be weighed based on temperature and sun exposure.
Ideally, watering is needed when at least 2 inches from the base of the main plant becomes dry. However, during summer, watering may be done twice or thrice a week.
Ideal Temperature & Humidity
Begonia pavonina plants are not a fan of hot temperatures. They prefer temperature ranges between 55F (13oC) and 75oF (24oC). Cool nights are best because the temperature at night is usually between 54oF (12oC) and 64oF (15oC).
It’s important, however, to note that they cannot tolerate and won’t even survive freezing temperatures.
These gorgeous plants thrive best at humidity between 60% and 80%. Sufficient moisture encourages healthy foliage development. Not only is a humid environment favorable for peacock begonia, but it also helps them grow faster and promotes a healthy stem.
Another common method used in maintaining a good level of humidity for most houseplants is the pebble method. You only need to fill a tray to the top with the pebbles. Then add water to the tray, almost covering the pebbles but should not submerge them.
This practice is great for sustaining humidity over indoor plants.
Fertilizer use is of primary importance in Begonia pavonina care. A balanced liquid fertilizer with a ratio of 20:20:20 should be supplied to the plant once every two weeks.
A fertilizer with a 10% concentration of Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus (NPK) with added micro-nutrients like Copper, Calcium, and Magnesium is greatly beneficial. Organic fertilizers may also be advantageous in the long run, as this does not harm edaphic balance over time, especially for a potted plant.
Means of Propagation
Can’t get enough of these beauties? Need not worry as it is delightfully easy to propagate Begonia pavonina plants. In time, you can have as many peacock begonias surrounding your home, enough to share them among your friends!
Stem cutting is the easiest way to get a hold of this plant. Select a vigorous mother plant, and using sharp sterile shears, begin cutting under a leaf node. Collect a bunch of healthy stems at 4-6 inches long with a few leaves, and allow them to callous.
Begonia pavonina propagation may involve the use of a rooting hormone to hasten root formation, but otherwise, cuttings may just be placed in water. Begonia pavonina seeds may also be used as a means to propagate. Sow them in a soil medium mixed with sphagnum moss and place them on a spot that receives bright indirect light and you’ll see them grow within weeks.
Growth Zone of Begonia pavonina
Begonia pavonina plants are hardy to growing zones 10a to 11 with temperatures ranging from -1.1 °C (30 °F) to 4.5 °C (40 °F). However, these stunning plants cannot tolerate an extremely low-temperature environment.
If you wish to have them indoors, you may want to place them in the bathroom or bedroom, as these rooms tend to have higher humidity levels and a cooler ambient temperature.
Potting and Pruning
When potting the Begonia pavonina, be sure to use a container with sufficient drainage holes. An over wet soil predisposes the plant to root rot and other fungal diseases.
Meanwhile, the delicate foliage may be pruned from time to time to give room for new growth and to maintain its shape. Pest and disease vulnerabilities rise when dead, unhealthy, and damaged parts are not removed. Also, thinning a mature Begonia pavonina allows the plant to better absorb nutrients, thus making them healthier.
Other Begonia Varieties to Check out
With a great diversity in their foliage and flowers, begonia species have a lot to offer. Take a look at some other amazingly interesting plants here on our list:
Solenia Dusty Rose Begonia
This tuberous begonia hybrid features delicate red blooms that perfectly go with its charming heart-shaped succulent leaves. They prefer full sun to part sun exposure and also grow best in moist well draining soil.
Dainty white flowers and interesting foliage are what make this stunning plant a great addition to your garden. The plant can equally tolerate direct sun and shade, and blooms extensively during summer and spring.
Solenia Salmon Coral
This gorgeous plant with compact foliage paired with salmon to deep orange flowers would go perfectly in container gardens. They happily thrive under sunny or shaded conditions.
Begonia pavonina Diseases & Pests
Under prolonged dry and warm conditions, Begonia pavonina plant may become infected with fungal diseases such as Powdery mildew, and Botrytis cinerea which may cause soft brown rot.
Powdery mildew can be easily identified as it covers the leaves with dusty mildew spots that may cause yellowing and eventually dries up the leaves. It can easily infect other plants once the spores get blown by the wind. A natural remedy such as neem oil may be used to treat the mildew, but when the condition gets worse, you may resort to using chemical fungicides.
Moreover, uninvited insects may pester the delicate foliage of Begonina pavonina, the most common ones are white flies which may a bit problematic as they suck sap from the plant, stealing nutrients that are needed for plant growth. Another is the thrips, which not only suck the life out of pavonina plant, but also leaves a toxic saliva that can be detrimental to plant tissues.
Using an insecticidal soap solution may work wonders, but in order to prevent insect attractions and other diseases like bacterial leaf spot, one must prohibit the foliage staying wet, and maintain an ideal soil moist level.
Frequently Asked Questions
As a soluble plant food, begonia pavonina may benefit from Miracle Grow Fertilizer. You may apply a mixture of 1/2 tsp per gallon of water once a week. This may be done in place with regular watering, but remember not to overdo it.
Regularly pinching the stems back to first or second healthy bud from the tip encourages a bushier growth of pavonina peacock begonia. When done two to three times within four-week intervals, more stems, leaves, and flowers may arise.
An important activity for begonia pavonina care is regular trimming to control its size. Cutting back provides room for new outgrowths and ensures a healthy growing condition.
The stunning peacock begonia is a perfect accompaniment to a north-facing window, a bathroom, a bedside, or just about any spot with ample natural light and a fair humid level. If you wish to bring home these lovelies, Plantly is the place to be!