Amphioxus Begonia

Amphioxus Begonia Plant, Grow & Care Guide 2022

One of the rarest plants you have ever seen is the Begonia Amphioxus, especially with its captivating appearance.

Amphioxus Begonia, commonly called ‘Polka Dot Begonia’, is a fussy plant suited only for people with previous experience in raising and caring for plants.

Amphioxus Begonia is a shrub that requires much attention and preparation to cultivate. In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to get started with your Begonia amphioxus. Let us get straight into it.

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What is a Amphioxus Begonia?

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Begonia amphioxus is a small shrub-like herb that has leaves with colored spots. Usually, spots on a plant’s leaves show an infection but in the case of amphioxus, it is their natural appearance.

The plant can grow 18 inches high and 16 inches wide when grown properly. Like all Begonias, the amphioxus is a humidity-loving plant and loves the natural environment of the tropics.

Amphioxus Begonia is a rare exotic plant that grows best in closed environments such as a terrarium or a plant jar. However, it is possible to raise it outside given the right climate conditions.

Because of how sensitive amphioxus is, it is not a beginner-friendly plant. If you want to raise this princess, you need to build her a castle first.

Origin and Classification

Begonia is a genus of perennial flowering plants in the family Begoniaceae. The name ‘Begonia’ was coined by the French botany enthusiast Charles Plumier and the genus now contains over 2000 different species.

Amphioxus Begonia was first discovered in 1984 in Borneo and was named after the Greek words ‘Amphi’ meaning ‘Both’ and ‘Oxus’ meaning ‘Sharp’. Supposedly, it was given the name because of its leaves that look pointy on both ends with serrated edges.  

Features of Amphioxus Begonia

Amphioxus Begonia

Since there are over 2,000 cousin species to Amphioxus Begonia, it may not resemble another Begonia in your care. Still, it has some distinguishable features that make it stand out among its family. Here are some of the main features of Begonia amphioxus.

1. Flowering

Like its cousins, Amphioxus Begonia can blossom throughout the year. Its flowers can be bright purple or white and can bloom up to 3 times in a single season. Begonia amphioxus flowers are monoecious, meaning they have both male and female reproductive parts in them.

On top of that, unlike normal flowers, these flowers do not have petals, instead, they only have sepals.

2. Leaves

Begonia amphioxus is also called Polka Dot Begonia or Butterfly Begonia because of their leaves. Amphioxus leaves are light green with lance-like shapes. They have pink, crimson, or maroon spots on them with similar colored leaf edges.

The leaves have slightly serrated edges and can grow to be 1.5 inches wide and 2 inches long. If you’re ordering a Amphioxus Begonia , you will notice a lot of leaf shedding during transit, this is common and nothing to worry about. 

3. Sensitivity

Amphioxus Begonia grows throughout the year but has a noticeably faster rate of growth during summer. The growth slows down during winter and fall. Begonia amphioxus is a delicate princess and any change in the environment can send it into shock, stunting the growth and spoiling the plant.

They don’t like temperature swings, being overwatered, misted, direct sunlight, and much more. They are very fussy about everything. They will let you know very quickly if something is not to their liking by shedding leaves and stunting growth.

4. Air purifiers

An interesting fact about all Begonia plants is that they are natural air purifiers. They absorb harmful substances like benzene vapors from the air along with other contaminants. Because of this, areas with a healthy population of Begonia plants have cleaner air and are suitable for people with sensitive people.

Amphioxus Begonia is no different in this regard. However, it is difficult to grow outside of a terrarium or enclosed environment. If your temperature and humidity zone allows you to grow Begonia amphioxus in the open, it will benefit your health greatly.

5. Toxicity

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Despite the air purifying qualities of Begonia amphioxus, it is poisonous to animals if eaten. It contains insoluble oxalates that can cause swollen lips, tongue, difficulty swallowing, inflammation, and pain in pets. It is best to keep pets away from your Begonia but these plants are safe for humans if eaten in small quantities.

Basic Care of Begonia Amphioxus

By now it should be obvious that growing Amphioxus Begonia is not an easy task. Its fussy nature does not make it easy and it goes into shock easily. All these traits might make growing Begonia amphioxus appear to be a daunting task. Still, for the brave, here is everything you need to know for the basic care of your plant.

1. Size & Growth

Begonia Amphioxus are shrubs and typically grow slowly. They like growing during summers and slow down during the winters. They can grow up to a height of 12-18 inches and needs a 16 inches wide space to properly grow.

Generally, you should have 30cm x 30cm terrarium space for your Begonia while it grows, you can move it to a bigger space if it shows signs of outgrowing.

2. Light Requirements

Amphioxus Begonia begins to wither if it does not receive enough light. While it does not require direct sunlight, it still needs a few hours of light every day.

You can use artificial lighting in case of low light conditions. Your begonias can grow without sunlight as long as you provide them with ample artificial lighting. 

3. Water Requirements

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Amphioxus Begonia does not require frequent watering, you can usually water it once every 2 days or 3 times a week during its growing season (spring-fall). In winters it does not require as much water so watering it once a week should be enough.

You should always check the condition of the soil before watering again. Begonia amphioxus likes moist soil but hates being completely wet, let the soil dry a bit before you water this princess again.

4. Soil Requirements

Begonia amphioxus loves neutral to slightly acidic soil with a pH level between 6.1 and 7.5. The soil should be well-drained and high in nutrients. You can use a good quality peat mix for houseplants for all of your Begonia needs.

You can also add limestone chips, eggshells, and oyster shells to the soil to improve color and maintain the acidity of the soil.

5. Sunlight Requirements

Most Begonia plants grow in partly shaded environments with little to no direct sunlight. You can grow your Begonia amphioxus near an east-facing window for a few hours of direct morning sunlight but any more than that would scorch the leaves.

Place your shrub someplace with bright indirect light and a bit of direct morning sunlight for the best effect. 

6. Temperature & Humidity

Humidity is one thing this tropical plant loves the most. Ideally, you want the humidity to be as high as possible. Begonia amphioxus thrives in environments with 60% – 100% humidity. Because of this trait, it grows exceptionally well in terrariums and is difficult to grow outside of places with naturally high humidity.

For temperature, it is frost-sensitive and does not like temperatures below 50 Fahrenheit. Ideally, you want to keep it within 50-85 Fahrenheit (15-30 Celsius).

It is a tropical species and thrives better in a warmer climate. During very hot days, you can mist your Begonia lightly, be careful though, Begonia leaves might retain water that can lead to fungal infestations.

7. Drought & Disease resistance

Given the environment this Begonia prefers, it is safe from most pests as they can’t survive in such high humidity conditions. It rarely gets infestation problems but it is prone to developing a fungal infestation on the leaves if they are left wet for too long.

Amphioxus does not need a lot of water and can generally survive for a while without water. Nevertheless, it is a picky plant that begins to wilt if it isn’t watered for some time.

8. Fertilizing

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Begonia plants have the fastest growth during summers and require monthly fertilizer to keep up with their need for nutrition. However, during winters when the growth slows down, you only need to add fertilizer every 2-3 months.

If your Begonia is blossoming, you might need to fertilize it more often because flowering plants require extra nutrients.

9. Potting & Repotting

It is best to pot your amphioxus in a large pot that can retain moisture over time. This will make caring for the plant easy and accessible for you.

For repotting, the best time to repot the Begonia is during spring. Keep in mind though that Begonia amphioxus does not like changes to their environment and is especially delicate after being repotted. 

It is common for Begonia to stagnate after being repotted. They require time to recover from the stress and change of the environment. For more comfortable repots, you should try to repot the plant in substrates similar in composition to the original soil.

10. Pruning Requirements

Begonia amphioxus does not require pruning and does not grow out of control if left unchecked. Still, you can help keep the plant healthy by pruning any dead leaves and branches to promote growth. To maintain a healthy appearance, you only need to prune the bad leaves once a year.

How to Propagate Begonia Amphioxus

You can propagate Begonia amphioxus in multiple ways, the three easiest ways are

1. Propagation through leaf cutting

2. Propagation through stem cutting

3. Water propagation.

Propagation through leaf cutting

Here’s the step-by-step guide to propagating your Begonia through leaf cutting

1. Cut out a healthy leaf with at least 1 inch of its stem attaching it to the stalk.

2. Plant the leaves in a tray filled with a well-drained potting mix made of peat moss, perlite, or any potting medium similar to the mother plant’s potting mix.

3. Cover the tray with a plastic bag and store it in a warm place with access to bright indirect light

4. New roots will begin forming within 3-4 weeks, keep the soiled moist by misting it regularly but avoid making it too wet.

5. Your plant will be ready for moving to the garden or being repotted after 8 weeks of propagation.

Propagation through stem cutting

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Propagation through stem cutting is the easiest method of propagating Begonia amphioxus.

1. Cut 5 – 6cm of the stem from the mother plant with a sharp knife and pluck the leaves near the lower half.

2. Soak the lower half of the stem in growth hormone and plant it 3inches deep into a pot full of moist soil. Make sure you plant them correctly, planting them upside down will prevent propagation.

3. Place the pot in a warm location with bright indirect sunlight. Keep the soil moist by misting it regularly

4. Roots will begin to form after 4-5 weeks and a new Begonia will grow from them.

Water propagation

Water propagation is relatively straightforward, dip a Begonia cutting (stem or leaf) in a glass of water. You can dip multiple cuttings in the same glass of clean water and they will begin to grow roots after a month. Once the roots are formed, you can move the new Begonias to other pots or gardens.

Common Problems Caring For Begonia Amphioxus

Being a very sensitive plant, the most common problems you’ll face while caring for your Begonia will be related to fungal infestations because of the high humidity in its growing environment.

1. Anthracnose

Anthracnose is a fungal infection that occurs when there is moisture left on the leaves of the plant for very long periods. The symptoms indicate twisted leaves with a brown or yellow coloring.

If you notice anthracnose-infected leaves, prune them immediately and be on the lookout for more infected leaves. If the infection spreads too far, you can use a standard fungicide on the less infected leaves while pruning the more infected ones away.

2. Thrips

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While pests infestations are uncommon for Begonia amphioxus, thrips are stubborn tiny insects that reproduce rapidly and infect your plants. They have wings that let them jump from nearby plants as well.

To remove a thrips infestation, try rinsing the infected leaves with water. If rinsing does not remove the pests, you can try using natural insecticides such as neem oil and thoroughly treat the plant with it. Thrips are very small so be sure to treat every part of the Begonia properly.

3. Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a common fungus that affects Begonia amphioxus. It is usually not fatal to the plant but still stunts the growth and damages the leaves. The most common symptom of powdery mildew is the appearance of white spots on the leaves.

To treat powdery mildew, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda and half a teaspoon of non-detergent soap in a gallon of water and spray the infected leaves. You might need to repeat this treatment multiple times a week. If the treatment fails, use common fungicides to treat it instead.


Begonia amphioxus is a difficult to grow tropical plant but the satisfaction and benefits are well worth the effort. It is a rare exotic plant that will be a great addition to your garden. As long as the environment does not change, this Begonia is well worth raising. Its air purifying properties of it are just the icing on the cake.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Begonia amphioxus rare?

Yes, it is a rare exotic plant discovered for the first time in Borneo in 1984. It grows in very strict conditions near the tropics and is very rare to find naturally in the wild.

How do you care for a Begonia terrarium?

Keep the terrarium enclosed and add a humidifier to it to maintain high humidity inside. You can also add a pebble tray with water in it to the terrarium. Ensure the insides of the terrarium is pest-free and protected from cold and warm drafts.

Do Begonias need a terrarium?

A terrarium can help you build an ideal environment to grow your Begonia. However, you can grow your Begonias without a terrarium as well as long as the environmental conditions are good enough for it.

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