Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bolivian Begonia
Begonia boliviensis 'Bonfire'

Family: Begoniaceae (be-gon-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Begonia (be-GON-yuh) (Info)
Species: boliviensis (boh-liv-ee-EN-sis) (Info)
Cultivar: Bonfire
Additional cultivar information: (PP15108; Bonfire series)
Hybridized by Cross; Year of Registration or Introduction: 2003

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One vendor has this plant for sale.

21 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 20 photos.
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12 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Nanny23 On Jul 22, 2013, Nanny23 from Mount Sterling, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

I overwinter this plant in the greenhouse, where it dies back, like the tuberous begonias do. I just hang it up and water occasionally until it shows signs of reawakening, it begins to come back out when the days start to get longer (in March or April) By May it is in full bloom and I move it to the side of the house that gets some evening sun. It does well in the Partial sun/shade. Blooms non-stop til October. Beautiful vibrant color!

Neutral Autumn1956 On Jun 2, 2013, Autumn1956 from Greenwich, NJ wrote:


I live in NH and just bought two Bonfire Begonias. I put them on my mostly shady, but good light, front porch. I gave it a neutral rating because I don't know how well it is going to do, but I'm optimistic. Hopefully I can change the rating when I've had them longer. They sure are gorgeous though.

Positive foodiesleuth On May 12, 2012, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I received this plant in a hanging basket as a Mothers' Day gift from my son and absolutely love it! The color of mine is called Tangerine Tango...What is not to like?!

Positive BeckyLu On Jun 14, 2011, BeckyLu from Portland, OR wrote:

I have grown the Bonfire for the last three years in a hanging container in my partially shaded patio. I am absolutely in love with it! It is beautiful, cheerful and the hummingbirds LOVE it. I pluck off the dead pods once the flowers die and it seems that new flowers instantly take their place. In my backyard, it blooms from May to the first frost, ever year it has died outside in our winters. This year I am going to attempt to trim it back and overwinter it in my garage with grow lights. It also withers a bit if the temperature gets over 90 if i leave it in direct sun. A PERFECT plant for Portland's moderate climate if you put it in partial shade during the hot days.

Positive AresDraco On Jun 2, 2011, AresDraco from San Francisco, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I just bought one from Berkeley Hort in Berkeley, California. The display plant was breathtaking! Of course I was smitten immediately... I have a Sunset Zone 17 garden, so this one should be happy.

BTW, I never thought I would have a Begonia collection, but it seems this new plant brings my count to nine species or cultivars. Is this how addictions start?

Negative gsytch On Jan 17, 2011, gsytch from New Port Richey, FL wrote:

Cannot handle the Tampa Bay summer. It prefers lower humidity and cooler nights, as it was found growing higher up in altitude. It looks great until June, when our 80F nights send it rotting. Friends up north have much more success, as do those in California where it thrives!

Positive plantladylin On May 13, 2010, plantladylin from South Daytona, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

One of my favorite Begonia's. I received a plant in a trade from another DG'er last fall and it went dormant over the winter. I totally forgot about it, thinking our record breaking cold winter had probably killed it, but last week I found it re-sprouting and it's now in bloom again ... hopefully it will not go dormant again until late winter!

Neutral vossner On Dec 21, 2009, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I got one of these in the fall and it was so beautiful. However, I find that excessive anything, rain, cold, heat, sends it into dormancy. I hope it's just dormant and not dead. I have not tossed it, hoping it will come back like some many other begonias do.

Positive kaila1952 On Dec 19, 2009, kaila1952 from Muscle Shoals, AL wrote:

I purchased this plant in a hanging basket in the spring of 2009. It bloomed all summer and into the fall. I'm in zone 7 so I'm saving my tubers and hoping it will come back when planted in the spring. I enjoyed it and so did the hummers.

Positive MaxTBear On Aug 11, 2009, MaxTBear from Manhattan Beach, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I love my three bonfires! They bloomed last year, died back in January and came back to life in May more beautiful than ever. However, yesterday I noticed one of them was wilted -- not the leaves as much as the stem. Can anyone tell me why? Is it the start of root rot? It faces south-east on my front porch, has adequate drainage. Nothing unusual happened, but as I don't know much about this begonia, I would appreciate anyone's comments on their own experience. Thank you my garden friends!

Positive grik On Jul 27, 2009, grik from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

I am really impressed with this plant. I bought a hanging basket of it last year and it bloomed all year in light shade. I saved the tubers and started them again this year with the thought to have another hanging basket. However it got to be way too big so I moved it to a pot. It has bloomed all summer so far.

I wish they came in colors other than orange.

Positive kdaustin On Sep 25, 2008, kdaustin from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Positive with caveat!
Not heat tolerant. I have 3 hanging baskets of this begonia, they are stunning for 9 months out of the year. They tend to start dying back in late june and only flush out again in mid september.
The other 9 months they are stunning, positively dripping orange flowers with lush foliage that drapes beautifully. This summer I hung them directly in front of my coolwall with my highland begonias and some rexes in the greenhouse, which kept it under 80F, and they flushed back starting in mid august. They get more oohs than my "rare" begonias from visitors.

Neutral darylmitchell On Sep 21, 2008, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

I'm afraid to say that Bonfire begonia disappointed me. I grew it in a container in full sun. It produced few flowers until about September, and even then it was not as many as I was expecting. It was also a pricy annual, and the payoff didn't justify the expense. I won't be growing it again.

Positive Kell On Aug 20, 2008, Kell from Northern California, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

In 1990 during an plant expedition into Argentina from New Zealand, seeds from Begonia boliviensis were gathered. From this seed, the best plants grown were the basis of a breeding program which produced different forms of Begonia boliviensis .

The first of this series was released in 2005 named Begonia Bonfire, a orange flowered plant similar to Begonia Boliviensis but more compact and free flowering. Ideal for hanging baskets in that the stems hang down nicely.

The second in this series which had a limited release in 2007 with a larger one in 2008, is Begonia Bellfire which is distinctively different in that it has plum colored leaves with more salmon colored flowers. It too is compact and flowers from spring to first frost when they die down till spring unless in warmer zones where there is no frost. Bellfire has a more bushy upright growth than Bonfire.

These are also great houseplants though they will survive a variety of outside conditions in zone 9 to 11. They can take full sun to partial shade. They will withstand hot temps to 100 degrees and periods of little water or lots of rainfall if in a well draining medium. They develop a corm which holds water to supply the plant during drought.

Both of these cultivars are low maintenance and fast growers if fertilized. They also will self clean their spent blossoms and quickly replace them with new flowers. Truly unique and outstanding tuberous begonias.

Positive zak1962 On Apr 19, 2008, zak1962 from Pittsburgh, PA wrote:

A beautiful plant. I was drawn to the deep orange flowers and it never disappointed, blooming straight through to October heer in Zone 6A. I purchased this plant again this morning and am trying it in a pot on the back porch so as to better enjoy it! (See last years plant to the right.)

Positive begoniacrazii On Jul 7, 2007, begoniacrazii from Northern California, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Does best when pinched to encourage bushiness.
This plant is patented. Propagation is prohibited.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Cottondale, Alabama
Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Brea, California
Calistoga, California
Manhattan Beach, California
San Francisco, California
San Jose, California
San Leandro, California
Wilmington, Delaware
Daytona Beach, Florida
Honomu, Hawaii
South Amana, Iowa
Frenchburg, Kentucky
Mount Sterling, Kentucky
Barnstable, Massachusetts
Burton, Michigan
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Portland, Oregon
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Richmond, Texas
Everett, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

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