Begonia, Tuberous Begonia, Bolivian Begonia 'Bonfire'

Begonia boliviensis

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
Registered or introduced: 2003
» View all varieties of Begonias




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:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


This plant is said to grow outdoors 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

Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania

Richmond, Texas

Everett, Washington

Spokane, Washington

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 1, 2017, notolateihope from Durango, CO wrote:

I bought this plant in spring of 2016 for it's beauty not really knowing anything about it. As many have commented hummers loved it. I brought it inside when the weather got bad hoping to over winter. I couldn't understand what I was doing wrong so I just assumed it died.
I left it inside all the same not knowing it was just dormant. I threw the dried up mass under a spruce tree in the yard and forgot about it. Yesterday August 1st I happened to be near the tree to break up the mass and realized it was alive and starting to put on leaves. As you can imagine I was stunned. This is an amazing plant but what do I do now? It deserves to thrive.


On Oct 31, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This has been a great container performer for us, flowering continuously all summer and well into the fall. Performs best here in partial shade, as in window boxes on the north side of a house. Flowers are self-cleaning (No deadheading!).

It has an elegant weeping form, not getting much over a foot in height but weeping down two feet or more from a window box or other elevated planter.

B. boliviensis requires a dry winter dormancy. Tubers can easily be wintered over indoors. I think longer days may be required for emergence from dormancy in spring.


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!


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.


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?!


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.


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?


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!


On May 13, 2010, plantladylin from (Zone 1) 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!


On Dec 21, 2009, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) 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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


On Aug 20, 2008, Kell from (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 sprin... read more


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.)


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.