Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Grape-leaf Begonia, Maple-leaf Begonia
Begonia dregei

Family: Begoniaceae (be-gon-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Begonia (be-GON-yuh) (Info)
Species: dregei (DRAY-gee-eye) (Info)

Synonym:Begonia dregei var. dregei
Synonym:Begonia suffruticosa
Synonym:Begonia richardsiana

» View all varieties of Begonias

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4 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

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

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
By air layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By mkjones
Thumbnail #1 of Begonia dregei by mkjones

By Keyring
Thumbnail #2 of Begonia dregei by Keyring

By palmbob
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By michaelhickman
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By michaelhickman
Thumbnail #7 of Begonia dregei by michaelhickman

There are a total of 9 photos.
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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive michaelhickman On Mar 9, 2014, michaelhickman from Durban
South Africa wrote:

Begonia dregei is a South African endemic occurring naturally from East London to Durban.
Begonia dregei is rare occurring in forests, on rocky, mossy cliffs and steep banks, from the coast to 1 219 m. According to the IUCN listing Begonia dregei is endangered.

Begonia dregei is a spectacular evergreen shade loving perennial that makes an excellent indoor or outdoor pot plant.

Begonia dregei is a tuberous, fleshy perennial that grows with a swollen stem base known as a caudex. The caudex is usually mostly out of the soil. The stems grow from the caudex. During long dry periods Begonia dregei can lose all of their foliage or even die down to the caudex to recover quickly after the first rain or watering.

The leaves are generally small (5080 x 2035 mm), asymmetrical, lobed often with large white spots when young and widely toothed. The 4090 mm long leaf stalks are green or reddish, there is however a very large variation in leaf size and form from population to population.
The leaves look much like those of the Maple Tree Acer spps. which gives it one of its common names the Maple Leaf Begonia.

The flowers of Begonia dregei are fragrant and produce a delightful show. In cultivation Begonia dregei flowers for almost the entire year producing small white to pinkish flowers with a bright yellow centre.

The male and female flowers occur separately on the same plant which are inter fertile so if one only has one plant it will still produce large amounts of fertile seed. The male flowers can be recognised because they have two petals and the female flowers have five.

I have grown Begonia dregei for many years having found the first specimen growing in the Kloof area about 25 years ago. The plants that I am now growing were propagated from a single specimen that I found growing at scary cliffs at Mount Moreland in December 2007

Over the years I have found Begonia dregei to be very easy to grow and quick-growing from seed or cuttings.
Seed is best sown in early spring or summer in a moist well drained medium, plant sparingly because the seed is very fine and germinates readily coming up like hairs on a dogs back. The fine seed from my plants is distributed by the wind and seedlings pop up on a regular basis in the pots of other plants that I am growing in particular my orchid plants where they germinate well on little or no soil. Cuttings are far easier to grow for the average gardener they do better in the warmer months but can be grown just about any time of year by the more experienced grower.

Begonia dregei grows well in light shade but will also grow in deep shade as well as where they get. a moderate amount of sun for part of the day. Plants grown under brighter conditions flower far more profusely.

I have found Begonia dregei rewarding and easy to grow as a pot plant where I have usually grown them in hanging pots together with my orchids they will also grow well in the ground

The large caudex makes Begonia dregei look a lot like a miniature baobab tree Adansonia digitata.

Begonia dregei is mostly pollinated by bees.

From my blog at

Positive Keyring On Dec 25, 2006, Keyring from DC metro, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Very tough little cookie. Propagates easily from tip cuttings. Grows well under fluorescent lights. Probably the easiest of the Begonias in my growing conditions.

Positive mkjones On May 22, 2005, mkjones from Aurora, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have this tiny little begonia in bonsai form. I keep it outside on a shaded porch that gets morning sun. He's as tough as the rest of my begonias, but the tiny leaves and blooms make it look so delicate.


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

Orange, California
Kennebunkport, Maine
Roanoke, Texas

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