Begonia listada is found in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. It came into cultivation in 1961 as B. listada hort. which is short for horticulture and means that the name is not an official one because there is no valid description of the plant. In 1981 Drs. Lyman Smith and Dieter Wasshausen of the Smithsonian described and gave it the official name Begonia listada, which is Spanish for “striped.” B. listada and its hybrids are so distinctive that they have their own horticultural group: Shrub-like Distinctive Foliage listada-like. This begonia can grow to be as much as a foot in height, but its real tendency is to spread out rather than grow tall.
The leaf is hairy dark green with a white stripe down the middle of it. The underside is red. On average, they will be 4″ long by 1- 1 3/4″ wide. On occasion B. listada will sport and produce triangular leaves (as featured on the back cover of a past Begonian issue), but this is not a stable mutation and the plant will soon revert to its original leaf.
The flowers are white with pink hairs on the buds. The buds on my plant have fallen off without opening. It’s a sparse bloomer in the fall and winter.
This [Normand’s plant] B. listada, which is in a six inch pot, is the best I’ve ever done in my attempts at growing this begonia. The 108° to 110° summer temperatures in my greenhouse were too hot, and fatal, for this begonia. Last summer I grew it outside on the north side of the house and my plant was much happier.
In doing the research on this begonia I learned that it can be propagated from a leaf! That will be my next project.