Begonia boliviensis A.DC. is the accepted name for this species of Begonia. It was named and first described by Alphonse Louis Pierre Pyramus de Candolle in Annales des Sciences Naturelles in 1859.
The genus, Begonia L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
As of 12-2-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 1,992 species in the Begonia genus. It is a member of the plant family Begoniaceae with 2 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
According to Wikipedia, the Begonia boliviensis was introduced to European gardeners by Richard Pearce in 1864 when he discovered it in the Bolivian Andes. It had been identified earlier by Hugh Weddell in the same area but he wasn’t the one that introduced it. Strange how Mr. Weddell identified it, Mr. Pearce introduced it, then Mr. Candolle named and described it.
Begonia boliviensis was first exhibited at the International Horticultural Show in Paris in 1867.
Begonia boliviensis was one of the species used by John Seden to create the first hybrid fibrous Begonia, Begonia x sedenii. It was awarded the Silver Floral Medal by the Royal Horticultural Society in 1870.
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I bought my first Begonia boliviensis from Wagler’s Greenhouse in 2014. I always wanted one so I was glad they had many to choose from. The tag just said Begonia boliviensis so mine wasn’t a named cultivar such as ‘Bonfire’, ‘Bertini’, or ‘Million Kisses Elegance’. I bought another plant from them in 2016 and I thought it overwintered in the basement but that plant turned out to be an unnamed variety.
Origin: From mountain cloud forests on the eastern side of the Andes Mountains in Brazil and Argentina.
Zones: USDA Zones 9b-11 (25-40° F)
Size: 24-26” tall x 24-36” wide
Flowers: Red, orange, pink…
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Well-drained potting mix
Propagation: Stem cuttings, rhizomes
Uses: Great as a potted plant or in a hanging basket.
I really liked their tubular-shaped flowers which are much different than the other Begonias I grow. They are very bright and look great against the dark green leaves.
The Begonia boliviensis was watered pretty much at the same time as the other potted plants. Some plants needed a little extra and will tell you when their leaves start drooping. It depends on how hot it was and if we had rain or not, but normally at least once a week. It didn’t hurt for the soil to dry out somewhat between watering. I always use good potting soil, such as Miracle Grow from Lowe’s or Schultz from Menards, which includes a timed-release fertilizer.
I grew my Begonias behind the shed where most of my potted plants were. They received a little morning sun then were in light shade the remainder of the day.
I always like growing this Begonia because of its growth habit and AWESOME flowers. I haven’t found any so far in 2018.
I think it is a good idea to re-pot Begonias once a year, especially if you use potting soil with a timed-release fertilizer, preferably in the spring. If you don’t want to re-pot with fresh potting soil, then adding a water-soluble fertilizer to their water off and on is a good idea. After you have had your Begonia for a year or so, remove it from the pot to check to see if it is root-bound. If so, then transferring it to a larger pot may be a good idea.
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