Begonia Looking Glass Care Guide

The Begonia “Looking Glass,” or Hardy Begonia, is a beautiful plant when it reaches its full size of 2 feet.

With large silvery leaves that grow up to a foot in length, the plant is a natural addition under a canopy of trees or another shady spot in the yard.

Begonia Looking Glass Care
Photo by James St. John, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As long as you give the begonia a moist environment and don’t allow direct sunlight to hit the leaves, the Begonia Looking Glass is a relatively easy plant to grow, especially with its beautiful large leaves.

This beautiful begonia also fares well as a container plant but does need moisture from a misting bottle regularly.

Begonia Looking Glass Quick Care Guide

Scientific NameBegonia grandis
Common Name(s)Begonia Looking Glass, Hardy Begonia
Size24 inches wide and 24 inches tall
LightBright filtered light
SoilWell-draining mix with sand, loam, and clay
WaterDaily misting and regular watering
TemperaturePrefers 45 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit
Humidity55 to 60% humidity
FertilizerHalf-strength fertilizer during the growing season
PropagationLeaf cuttings in the spring and fall
Pests and DiseasesCaterpillars, thrips, powdery mildew, and rot
ToxicityMildly toxic to cats and dogs, especially the roots

Begonia Looking Glass is a striking plant that will love living under a shady area in the yard. Plant these Begonias where they’ll receive ample bright light but no direct sunlight.

Make sure the soil is moist and well-draining. The plants shouldn’t sit in waterlogged soil but will enjoy a moist environment.

Keep the plant looking trim by cutting back canes to a length of two or three buds just before summer.

Add a balanced liquid fertilizer at 50 percent between each watering during the growing season. Propagate Begonia Looking Glass by using stem cuttings to make more plants.

All About the Begonia Looking Glass

The Begonia Looking Glass produces beautifully large silvery leaves that can grow up to a foot long. Turning the leaves over reveals a reddish underside.

The plant produces pink flowers in the late spring and summer. 

The Begonia Looking Glass grows quickly and is an excellent addition to shady landscapes that receive ample bright filtered sunlight.

The plant is native to humid locales like the subtropics and tropics, so it prefers a moist, humid environment.

Begonia Looking Glass Care


The Begonia Looking Glass is sensitive to sunlight and shouldn’t receive any direct sunlight. However, the plant also needs a lot of indirect sunlight, so placing it just outside the sun’s direct rays is the best position.

If you choose to plant the Begonia Looking Glass in a container, you may move it throughout the year to make sure it doesn’t receive direct sunlight.

In the winter, choose a south-facing area of the yard or a south-facing window. During the summer, eastern or western windows are appropriate.


Begonia Looking Glass is sensitive to not having enough or too much water.

The plant needs a moist environment but will suffer and may develop root rot if its soil remains wet or waterlogged for several days.

The Begonia Looking Glass responds well to regular misting, especially in dry climates. It’s a good idea to mist the plant daily if the relative humidity drops below 45%.

However, if you’re in a particularly dry climate, you might need to mist the plant multiple times a day to keep it lively.


The Begonia Looking Glass is best grown in soil with a neutral pH. The soil should drain quickly but also remain moist after watering.

A mixture of loam, sand, and clay is appropriate. Check the soil regularly to make sure it’s draining properly and that the plants aren’t sitting in water.

The plants will develop root rot if the soil doesn’t drain adequately. It’s always better to repot or replant Begonia Looking Glass plants in new, well-draining soil than to water them less because the soil isn’t draining quickly enough.


The Begonia Looking Glass benefits from a balanced fertilizer at 50 percent strength. Any standard liquid fertilizer is fine as long the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are in an equal proportion.

You can look at the fertilizer bottle, bag, or box to make sure its nutrients are balanced.

The best time to fertilize the Begonia Looking Glass is in the growing season or throughout the summer. Add the fertilizer to the soil in between visits with the watering can.

If you water the Begonias every four days, add the fertilizer two days after watering and two days before watering next.


Begonia Looking Glass is most easily propagated by using stems. Choose the top of a fat stem for your cutting rather than using a stem with a flower bud on it.

The best time to clip the cuttings from the parent plants is in the spring or fall.

If you choose to propagate your Begonia Looking Glass in the winter, it may take longer for the stems to root because the plant isn’t in an active growing phase.

For winter propagation, place the cuttings inside so they benefit from warmer temperatures than they might experience outside.


Sitting in Waterlogged Soil

One of the biggest problems Begonia Looking Glass faces is rot; any part of the plant may experience rot when conditions are too moist.

You may need to experiment with the watering schedule and the soil to make sure the plants enjoy a moist environment that isn’t too wet.

If the soil remains wet for many days even though you haven’t watered the plants, consider changing the soil to something that drains more easily.

If you’re unsure how to mix different types of soil, look for readymade soil at your local garden center that indicates it drains quickly.

Too Much Fertilizer

Begonia Looking Glass plants don’t need an overabundance of fertilizer, and you should never add fertilizer at full strength.

Always dilute the fertilizer, or you risk damage to the leaves.

Don’t bother fertilizing in the fall and winter because the plant doesn’t actively grow in those seasons.

Fertilize infrequently in the spring and summer, and always cut the recommended dosage on the fertilizer bottle by fifty percent. If you start to see damaged leaves in the spring or summer, the culprit could be too much fertilizer.

When in doubt, hold back on adding more fertilizer to let the plant recover.

Common Pests and Afflictions

Quite a few different pests enjoy feeding on Begonia Looking Glass, so examining the plants regularly is essential to ensure they’re not under attack or being infested.

Some of the pests you can look out for by looking at the plants’ soil, stems, and leaves include caterpillars, thrips, vine weevils, and mealybugs.

As you look over the plants to ensure nothing is attacking them, look out for powdery mildew, rhizome rot, and stem rot.

If the plants remain too moist for too long, they might become vulnerable to mildew or rot.

Author: Stanislav Lem


Stanislav Lem is the founder of Big Time Living, where he provides tips for gardening, traveling and lifestyle. Stan is an entrepreneur, journalist and traveler.
His mission is to provide information to help people become better planters, travel more and live a happy life. His blog has been featured on Huffpost, Yahoo and MSN.