New Variety: Begonia ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’

Begonia ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ (Begonia boliviensis) is super heat tolerant! It thrives in well drained soil and can handle moderate drought once it is established. Fiery red-orange blooms cover the plant from late spring until frost. The well branched plant looks full and lush in a pot or hanging basket by itself or in a garden with a rainbow of other colors.

Primary Details

Class: Begonia
Variety Name: ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’
Genus: Begonia
Species: boliviensis
Year: 2012
Member: Ernst Benary of America Inc.
Sales Type: Flowers

Plant Needs

Duration Type: Annual
Light Needs: Full sun, Partial sun
Water Needs: Dry to Normal
Dead Heading Recommended: NO
Staking Required: NO

Plant Characteristics

Foliage Color: Dark green
Plant Habit: Bushy, Mounded, Trailing
Plant Height: Medium: 10″ to 24″
Garden Spacing: 12″
Bloom Time: Late Spring, Summer, Fall, Summer to Frost
Bloom Color: Red, Orange
Bloom Color Pattern: Solid
Bloom Size: 2-3″
Fragrance: None
Weather Tolerance: Drought, Heat, Rain

Home Gardener Use

Container: YES
Hanging Basket: YES
Medium Height Divider: YES

How to Grow

Although Begonia ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ is from seed, it can be tricky for a home gardener to grow it from a seed. It should should be purchased as a starter plant and planted in full sun in a well drained soil. For best performance use a well-balanced fertilizer once or twice a month. Allow the plant to dry out slightly between waterings. The roots are very sensitive to excess moisture, so do not let them sit in water.

Troubleshooting tips:

If your soil has a pH of 6.5 or higher, it can cause the leaves to become yellow. Adding a soil amendment to lower the pH will return the leaves to a healthy looking green.

This type of begonia requires “long days” (more than 14 hours of light) to initiate buds. This means that if you take it indoors in the fall to enjoy it as a house plant, it will probably go out of bloom for most of the winter.

In areas that experience long-term extreme heat it is best to move the plant to a shadier location.

Never water plants at mid-day. The water is not absobed as well by the plant and it can cause scorching of the leaves. It is best to water early in the morning or at least 2 hours before sunset.

Begonia ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ is offered by Benary Seeds of Watsonville, CA.



© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


7 thoughts on “New Variety: Begonia ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’

  1. Does anyone know how many years you can replant the tubers? Some places you buy the seed say two and some say thre years. I question if there is a limitation. I planted secon year tubers this year that are eight inches in diameter. Another question: are they a F1 or are they a variety. Here again some sellers say they are F1 and some don’t.

    • I am on the third year of planting mine and they are doing well. We’ll see if I can beat the odds and get them to go longer.

      They are an F1 hybrid. I suspect many places don’t list it and try to be ambiguous so that customers that don’t want hybrids will accidentally purchase them.

      • The original seed I purchased and grew out produced plants with quite a bit of variation in plant size, leaf size and flower size. All were good but somewhat different. Seed collected from these original plants produced even more variation. Some took longer to bloom, some were a much smaller plant and bloom and some were no different than the F1 mother plant. Not saying they were less attractive than the mother plant, just saying some were somewhat different. One mother plant will produce many, many seed. Each year I purchase more F1 seed in addition to growing out some of the F2 (?) seed collected. Needless to say I love working with his variety.

  2. I overwintered the corm/tuber, it looks like an upside down mushroom, without the stalk. It is sprouting inside the cavity. Has anyone started a Santa Cruz Sunset Begonia this way?

    • I have a couple plants that are now four years old. I haven’t harvested the tubers yet this year. I usually wait until the plants have been frosted down before I remove them from their pots. Last year the largest had a tuber over ten inches in diameter. I planted it in a sixteen inch basket. They get more spectacular each year they grow. Each year they are also subject to breakdown from diseases so longivity depends on luck and avoiding those diseases. I have been germinating several hundred each November from seed to sell at the local farmers market. I select only the more vigorous plants to sell. This is a variety that is fun to work with. After they reach a couple inches tall they are quite easy to grow. The challenge is getting them to the two inch stage. If you grow them from a tuber the biggest challenge is to not get them to wet. Happy gardening.

  3. Yes, I have. The sprouts are the shoot. Plant that side up in a pot anytime now and it will begin to grow for spring.

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