B. burkillii (gray/green form) | Photo: Rick Schoellhorn

MEMBER NAME: In Search of Small Things

SPECIES NAME: Begonia burkillii

Begonia burkillii is a variable species, with multiple forms in cultivation and some more that have been solely observed in situ. It is native to India and a detailed account of the species variability can be found in Rhekha Morris’s book Species Begonias of the Eastern Himalayas of Arunachal, India. In nature it can be found growing on steep cliff faces in dense jungle, overhanging small streams and rivers.

[1] SHADE, SEMI-SHADE, SUN, TERRARIUM, FLUORESCENT LIGHTS

I have grown this species only in terrarium conditions, under LED lights of 1800 lumens. Humidity is near 100% and ventilation is a small vent allowing for passive air exchange.

[2] TYPE OF GROWING MEDIUM USED

Happy Frog potting soil with about 1/3 perlite and 10% coco fiber, 10% turface.

[3] TYPE OF FERTILIZER AND FREQUENCY OF FEEDING

1/8-1/4 urea free orchid fertilizer applied once a month.

[4] MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS AND METHOD OF SUPPLYING APPROPRIATE AMOUNT OF WATER

Even in a terrarium, this species is prone to drying out. It will droop when it is thirsty, and if more than a day or so passes without ramification, in my experience it takes some long term damage. It does better when not allowed to dry out between waterings and to let the soil just get on the drier side of moist.

[5] PEST PROBLEMS AND HOW YOU TREATED THESE

None thus far.

[6] NOTE YOUR EXPERIENCE OF SETTING SEEDS AND GROWING SEEDS OF YOUR SPECIES

None

[7] NOTE YOUR EXPERIENCE OF VEGETATIVE PROPAGATION

From Rhekha Morris’s book Species Begonias of the Eastern Himalayas of Arunachal, India, “I frequently encountered plantlets emerging from leaves which had broken/fallen off. Although on many occasions I encountered numerous plants of B. burkillii forming large clusters, each plant was a separate entity…” This species propagates readily from leaves or leaf sections, with stem intact or not. The leaves can be curled or cut into at least 4 pieces and germination is near 100% (on the same potting mix mentioned above) provided they stay evenly moist.

B. burkillii (red/maroon form) | Photo: Rick Schoellhorn