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BEGONIA boliviensis

Image of Begonia boliviensis

Jessie Keith

Family

Begoniaceae

Botanical Name

BEGONIA boliviensis

Plant Common Name

Bolivian Mountain Begonia

General Description

The fiery blooms of this prolific begonia will not disappoint. Bolivian mountain begonia is a tropical tuberous perennial that has a pendulous habit and bright orange-red flowers, which attract hummingbirds. It is native to the mountainous regions of Peru, Argentina and Bolivia in South America. There it can be found growing among moist rocks and tree roots. This is the parent species of many tuberous begonia cultivars with drooping flowers.

The bushy plants have linear wing-shaped green leaves—sometimes with a dark orange cast. The flowers are brilliant orange-red and have four long distinct curved petals.

Provide this begonia with bright light and moist porous soil with excellent drainage. It will not withstand cold or drying winds and oppressive summer heat will diminish plants. In USDA zone 8 it will overwinter in the soil, emerging very late in spring once soil is quite warm. Where not hardy, it can be grown as a warm season annual. It is tuberous, so its tubers can be stored in a cool dry place over winter, or the plants can be brought indoors and grown as houseplants.

Weeping stems and beautiful flowers make this a natural choice for hanging baskets and containers. As with other begonias, it is easy to propagate from cuttings. Two cultivars are of note: 'Bonfire' is a popular and vigorous variety with large electric orange blossoms, and 'Bellfire' flowers are bell-shaped and red.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    12"-20" / 30.5cm - 50.8cm

  • Width

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Red, Orange Red

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    No