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How to grow Holly Leaf Begonia: Care, Benefits, Growth, Characteristics

Holly Leaf Begonia or Begonia acutifolia, is a species of flowering plant in the family Begoniaceae, native to Cuba and Jamaica, and introduced to Saint Helena. Shade tolerant, it is kept as a house plant, or outside in USDA hardiness zone 9b or warmer. Holly Leaf Begonia can be a striking addition to gardens and landscaping. Learn about caring for Holly Leaf Begonia along with tips for growing the flowering plant.

Holly Leaf Begonia Characteristics & Benefits

Begonias are perennials that are easy to grow and prized for their beautiful flowers and leaves. You can grow most begonias outdoors in pots or in the ground. If the plant is not hardy, you can grow it indoors as an annual or as houseplants. Many begonias can also be propagated from stem, leaf or rhizome trimmings. The bushy begonia ‘Holly Leaf” has small, bare-leafed leaves and attractive foliage.

Many flowers are white and everblooming. The stemming is straight and moves between nodes in zig-zags. The plant prefers to be in filtered light, but it can also take sun in winter. The soil should be kept moist. Begonias also thrive in peat-based soil. Enjoys humidity. Cold weather is not a favorite. Pinching tips and pruning the outer stems during the growing season give a bushier plant that is suitable for hanging. Leaves can drop when there is a sudden temperature change.

Holly Leaf BegoniaWiki
Botanical NameBegonia acutifolia
Plant TypeHouse Plant
Sun ExposureFull Sun, Part Sun
Soil TypeSandy
Soil pHNeutral
Bloom TimeVaries
Flower ColorPinkish White
Hardiness Zones10, 11
Special FeaturesGives Freshness

Holly Leaf Begonia Care Tips

  • Fertilizing – Fertilization for Young Plants, Fertilization for Established Plants, Fertilizing Houseplants
  • Light – Dappled Light, Light Conditions, Filtered Light, Full to Partial Shade, Bright Light for Houseplants, Light and Plant Selection
  • Watering

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To encourage root development, young plants require extra phosphorus. You should look for fertilizers that contain phosphorus (P) in them (the second number on the bag). Use the recommended amount according to the label instructions in the soil when you plant or during the first growing season.

Fertilization can be beneficial for established plants. Make a visual inventory. Every few years, trees need to be fertilized. You can fertilize shrubs and other plants every year. A soil test will determine the soil’s nutrient level. A specific fertilizer, rather than an all-purpose one, may be needed if one or more nutrients are low. N-rich fertilizers will encourage green leafy growth. An excess of nitrogen in soil can lead to excessive vegetative growth and damage to flower buds. Avoid fertilizing too late in the season. Applying at this time can lead to lush vegetative growth which will not be able to harden off in the colder months.


Dappled light is a dappled light pattern created by sunlight passing through high trees branches. This is the middle ground. It is not considered sunny, but it is not shaded. Dappled is constant throughout the day.

Light conditions can change throughout the day, even if a site is not completely exposed. The eastern and northern sides of a house get the most light. The northern exposure is the shadiest. Due to the intense afternoon sun, the southern and western sides of houses receive the most sunlight and are therefore considered the hottest.

It is easy to notice how the sun and shade patterns change throughout the day. Even large trees and structures from nearby properties can make the western side of a house shady. You can map the sun and shade of your home whether you are just starting to garden or if you just purchased a new house. This will give you a better idea of the true lighting conditions on your site.


Water when normal rainfall does not provide the preferred 1 inch of moisture most plants prefer. Average water is needed during the growing season, but take care not to overwater. The first two years after a plant is installed, regular watering is important. The first year is critical. It is better to water once a week and water deeply, than to water frequently for a few minutes.

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