By Jennifer Poindexter
The rex begonia vine is a houseplant that’s hard to miss. Its scientific name is cissus discolor, and it isn’t related to the rex begonia at all.
In fact, this plant is more closely related to a grape plant than a begonia. Yet, the foliage of the two plants look similar, so it was named after the rex begonia.
The rex begonia vine produces heart-shaped foliage with silver and red coloring. If you’re interested in adding this plant to your home, let’s discuss the basics of keeping it healthy and thriving.
Here’s what you should know to care for the rex begonia vine:
What You’ll Learn:
- Characteristics of the rex begonia vine.
- Essential growing conditions including light, soil, and watering needs.
- Importance of humidity and temperature control.
- Identifying and handling potential issues.
- Ensuring safety of pets around this plant.
- Supporting the plant using a trellis or hanging container.
- Fertilization requirements and timing.
- Pruning and propagation techniques.
- How to maintain rex begonia vine as a perennial.
Caring for a Rex Begonia Vine Houseplant
All plants have specific growing conditions and needs from their gardener. Take these tips into consideration to ensure you provide what the rex begonia vine needs from you:
1. Rex Begonia Vines Need Adequate Growing Conditions
All plants must have the right setting to thrive. In the case of the rex begonia vine, this plant needs bright, indirect lighting.
This should provide enough light for the plant to grow without being too harsh. You should also supply the plant with well-draining soil and keep it watered deeply.
Always test the soil before watering again. No water should be added until the soil is dry to your first knuckle. These are the few basics the rex begonia vine need from you
2. Provide Humidity to Your Rex Begonia Vine
This plant is native to southeast Asia. Therefore, it’s used to growing in a warmer climate that’s rather humid.
For this reason, be sure to supply your rex begonia vine with a humid growing location. You may do this by placing the plant in a naturally humid room of your home such as a bathroom or kitchen.
You may also place a tray of water with pebbles in it beneath the planter. The water shouldn’t reach the bottom of the planter which contains the rex begonia vine as this could lead to rot.
However, having the moisture surrounding the plant should enhance the humidity. Don’t mist the plant with a spray bottle of water as it’s susceptible to fungal issues and this could further encourage the issue.
3. Grow Your Rex Begonia Vine at the Right Temperatures
The rex begonia vine is native to a warmer climate. Therefore, it’s vital to mimic this when growing it within your home.
This sounds difficult, but it isn’t. Typically, when you’re happy at the temperature inside your home, your plant should be also.
As a guideline, it’s best to grow rex begonia vines at temperatures ranging between 65- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit.
Try to avoid placing the plant in a location with drafts or rapidly changing temperatures such as doorways, air vents, fireplaces, or wood stoves as these things could all cause the growing temperature to fluctuate.
4. Beware of Potential Issues
All plants face potential issues whether grown indoors or outdoors. The most common problems the rex begonia vine faces are pests, diseases, and uneven moisture.
The most common pest to impact this houseplant is the mealybug. Should you spot this bug on your plant, either spray it with an insecticide, soapy water, or wipe the foliage down with rubbing alcohol.
The next issue the rex begonia vine faces is disease. The most common disease to impact this plant is powdery mildew.
This is a fungal based issue that can be treated with a fungicide. You should also remove any impacted part of the plant while also providing better drainage and adequate airflow.
Finally, if you overwater your rex begonia vine, it will drop leaves. If you underwater this plant, the leaves will become extremely soft. Use the previously discussed tips above to keep moisture levels consistent and your plant healthy.
5. Keep Your Pets Safe from the Rex Begonia Vine
The rex begonia vine creates foliage that’s typically 6 inches in length. If you have cats or dogs that like to graze on plants, this could be troublesome.
This foliage is pronounced enough that it could draw the attention of your pet. Unfortunately, this plant is toxic for cats and dogs.
If you have pets, it’s best to grow this plant in a location where they can’t access it and turn it into a toxic snack.
6. Provide Support for Your Rex Begonia Vine
The name – rex begonia vine – probably gave it away that this is a vining plant. Vining plants mean one of two things: either you’ll support them or hang them.
Should you grow your rex begonia vine in a planter, add a trellis to the growing location to provide support. This will keep the plant growing in a compact location and stop it from sprawling.
If you’d rather grow your rex begonia vine in a hanging container, this is another great way to keep the plant contained. Hanging containers allow the plant to flow down from the basket.
Pick your method and ensure the plant is supported to keep it tidy. This may also assist in keeping the plant healthy.
7. Fertilize Your Rex Begonia Vine
Rex begonia vines need a boost of nutrients, like most other plants. This plant should be fertilized once per month, using an all-purpose fertilizer, throughout the spring and summer months.
However, it’s important you don’t supply nutrients when the plant isn’t actively growing. In the case of the rex begonia vine, you shouldn’t fertilize in the fall and winter months.
Ensuring your plant has plenty of nutrients during the growing season is vital in having a vibrant houseplant.
8. Prune Your Rex Begonia Vine
The term vine probably clued you in that you may need to prune this plant. Thankfully, it isn’t a difficult process.
When pruning, the main task is to help the plant keep its shape. As your plant becomes unruly, use a pair of shears to remove any part that strays from the plant’s design.
Pruning not only keeps the plant contained, it can also assist with airflow which helps deter diseases.
9. Learn How to Propagate Your Rex Begonia Vine
As you prune your rex begonia vine, don’t toss the scraps. These scraps are known as cuttings. As long as they’re about 6 inches, you can use them to start new plants.
If you’d like to root them in water first, remove the lower leaves and place the cutting in a shallow glass jar of water. The cutting should rest over the water, not be fully submerged.
From there, allow roots to form. It should take approximately one month. Then you may transplant the cutting into well-draining soil where you’ll keep it damp until the plant has established roots.
Another option is skipping rooting the cutting in water and dipping it into rooting hormone. From there, transplant the cutting into well-draining soil. Provide water, light, and care to the cutting until its roots are established.
This is an excellent way to create more plants for your home without spending extra money in the process.
10. Keep Your Rex Begonia Vine as a Perennial
Rex begonia vines are perennial plants when grown in a tropical climate or when kept indoors. Some people like to move their plants outdoors during the warmer portion of the year.
If you do this, be mindful of the temperatures. Should your rex begonia vine be subjected to temperatures below 50-degrees Fahrenheit, it probably won’t survive.
When moving your plant around, between the indoors and outdoors, be mindful of the weather or this could turn your perennial houseplant into an annual.
You have ten different things to be aware of when growing a rex begonia vine in or around your home. These plants are excellent houseplants in most settings and should only be outdoors during the warmest portions of the year in most planting zones.
Be mindful of the growing conditions this plant needs, basic care, and how to protect this plant when growing it. Staying in tune with your rex begonia vine can make all the difference in the growing experience you have.
- The rex begonia vine thrives in bright, indirect light, and well-draining soil.
- Humidity and warmth are critical to mimicking its native environment.
- Regular monitoring is necessary to prevent pests and diseases.
- This plant is toxic to pets, so careful placement is needed.
- Support for the vine growth is essential, and can be achieved with a trellis or hanging container.
- The plant requires monthly fertilization during growth season.
- Pruning keeps the plant healthy, and the cuttings can be used for propagation.
- As a perennial, this plant should not be exposed to temperatures below 50-degrees Fahrenheit.
Rex Begonia Vine Quick Reference Growing Chart
|Bright, indirect light
|Deep watering when the topsoil is dry to the touch
|High, can be achieved by placing in a humid room or using a pebble tray with water
|Between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, avoid sudden temperature fluctuations
|Watch for mealybugs, treat with insecticide or soapy water if detected
|Powdery mildew is common, treat with a fungicide and improve airflow
|Plant is toxic to cats and dogs, keep out of pet reach
|Requires a trellis or hanging container for vine growth
|Monthly during growth season (spring and summer), avoid in fall and winter
|Regular pruning to maintain shape and enhance airflow
|Use pruned cuttings, can root in water or directly in soil with rooting hormone
|Avoid exposure to temperatures below 50-degrees Fahrenheit, can be moved outdoors in warmer weather