How to Care for the Bonfire Begonia

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Begonia boliviensis, also known as bonfire begonia, is a popular low-maintenance begonia cultivar with beautiful glossy green leaves and plentiful red-orange blossoms that bloom from spring until the first frost of the season. A tender perennial, bonfire begonias grow best in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Outside of these zones, bonfire begonias can be grown as an annual or grown indoors as a houseplant. Add bonfire begonias to your home landscape for an attractive splash of color.

Things You'll Need

  • Bonfire begonias
  • Aged manure
  • Coarse builder's sand
  • Peat moss
  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Garden hose or watering can
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

Select a growing location for your bonfire begonia based on the plant's growing requirements. Bonfire begonias can grow in full or partial sunlight locations. If growing your bonfire begonias outside, choose a sunny or partially shaded growing location that receives around six hours of indirect light each day. Bonfire begonias grown as houseplants should be situated within 5 feet of a sunny window where they can receive plenty of bright sunlight.

Amend your soil before planting to ensure your bonfire begonias have the nutrients they need to grow strong, healthy and beautiful. Till aged manure, coarse builder's sand and peat moss into the top 8 inches of your soil to enrich and aerate it. Plant your bonfire begonias at the same level they were planted in the nursery regardless of whether you're growing your begonias in the ground or in a container.

Provide your outdoor bonfire begonias with at least 1 inch of water per week in the absence of rain. Water more often, if necessary, during the hot, summer months. Keep the soil moist, but never wet or soggy. Indoor bonfire begonias should also be watered frequently to keep the soil consistently moist.

Fertilize your bonfire begonias in the spring with a specially-formulated fertilizer for flowering plants. Use the fertilizer according to package directions or you risk overfertilizing and damaging your bonfire begonias.

Prune your bonfire begonias occasionally to keep them looking attractive and healthy. Pinch or snip off spent begonia blossoms to encourage your plant to produce new blooms. Bonfire begonias do not require any additional pruning to grow successfully.

Tips & Warnings

  • Bonfire begonias can be grown from tubers or you can purchase young plants from your local garden center or nursery.
  • Begonias are susceptible to fungal infections. Monitor your bonfire begonias for signs of fungal disease and treat with an insecticide, if necessary.
  • Do not allow your begonias to become waterlogged. If you notice standing water around your bonfire begonias, decrease your watering frequency.

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