The foliage of this Begonia is most curious, being extremely crinkled and pitted, and bearing a dark brown pattern suggestive of the Iron Cross - hence the common name. An ideal plant for grouping or for a container display, it is a little less tolerant of windowsill cultivation. Not only is it more susceptible to root rot caused by over-watering, often coupled with lower temperatures, but the green pigment can fade if it is exposed to too much light. The crinkled leaves can become dusty and should be gently rinsed with tepid water. Shake off any excess moisture and leave the plant to dry well away from sunlight.

Plant type : Foliage plant with compact and somewhat horizontal growth
Season of interest : All year round
Size : 10-20cm (4—8in)
Flower : Infrequent, greenish, insignificant, 0.6cm (1/4in)
Leaf : Unusual, roughly heart-shaped, very crinkled with slight serration; green with dark brown 'Iron Cross' pattern, 7.5-12.5cm (3—5in)
Temperature : 18-20°C (65-68°F)
Aspect/Light : Moderate light with some shade
Humidity : Average to high
Watering : Keep compost moderately moist in spring and summer; keep on dry side in autumn and winter
Feeding : Once every two weeks with half strength houseplant fertilizer in spring and summer
Propagation : 5cm (2in) sections of rhizome with leaves, or leaf cuttings, at 2fC (70°F) in spring or summer in houseplant potting compost
Potting : Houseplant potting compost
Problems : Root rot, leggy growth, bleaching of leaves in too much light
Availability : Occasionally available, particularly in spring or summer
Uses indoors : Table display or in bowl or planter