Plant DetailShow Menu

Begonia incarnata

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Begonia incarnata 'Metallica'
  • Begonia metallica
Phonetic Spelling
be-GON-yuh in-kar-NAY-tuh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Metallic leaf begonia is a member of the Begoniaceae (begonia) family. Begoniaceae is a large, flowering plant family, the name of which honors Michael Begon (1638-1710), Governor of French Canada, and includes about 1500 different species and hundreds of hybrids. Mature begonia plants range in size from a few inches high to over 12 inches high, and the flowers, foliage colors, and sizes are very diverse.

Metallic leaf begonia is a dense, rounded, low-maintenance houseplant in USDA zones 9b and higher. A native of Mexico and Central America, it can be grown as an herbaceous perennial in USDA zones 10 to 11b. Its showy, glossy green leaves have a metallic sheen, thus its common name.

The plant has a medium growth rate and is a moderate bloomer, producing large clusters of small, hairy, pink flowers on sturdy, thin, erect stems from summer to fall. The leaves are dark green at maturity, with red veins underneath. It does not tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees F. Grown indoors, the plant does best under bright but no direct sunlight to form great foliage, but can take some sun in winter. It does not do well in dry air and prefers humidity and constant temperatures. The plant is susceptible to overwatering and fluctuating temperatures.

It tolerates a range of well-drained soil types with pH ranging from neutral to acid. The plant sends up stems from below the soil in spring and early summer, and more new growth can be generated if you pinch or prune the older stems. In turn, the remaining older stems produce more side growth after pruning. As with most begonias, division is by leaf or stem cuttings.

In addition to its value as a houseplant, metallic leaf begonia is useful planted in locations with at least partial shade in a container or massed in beds or borders. Useful at the edge of woodland, natural or Asian-themed garden.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious problems. Keep an eye out for powdery mildew.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#houseplant#showy leaves#interiorscape#low maintenance#flowering shrub#glossy leaves#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#container plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#houseplant#showy leaves#interiorscape#low maintenance#flowering shrub#glossy leaves#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#container plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Begonia
    Species:
    incarnata
    Family:
    Begoniaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Leaf Cutting
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico, Central America, Tropical America
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Houseplant
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a capsule with 3 wings most probably with one wing larger then others.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    Tepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Large clusters of 1 inch flowers appear in summer and fall; pink with darker pink, almost red hairs; male flowers dominate.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Large (6 by 4 inch), ovate, asymmetrical leaves with a metallic sheen. Mature leaves are dark green with red veins underneath. New leaves are bright red both top and bottom. White hairs are sparse on top of the leaves and heavier underneath.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Sturdy, but thin, erect stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Design Feature:
    Foundation Planting
    Specimen
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Kidney failure (in grazing animals), vomiting, salivation in dogs/cats. The most toxic part is underground.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Soluble calcium oxalates
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Roots