Basic Help for very old Begonia
I inherited a Begonia last February from my late, and most favorite, Uncle Charlie. The plant had belonged to his grandmother (my great-grandmother) so needless to say it has been in my family for a long time and it's health and survival is very important to me. I will also add that I come from a farming family, love plants, and have a green thumb, as did my most favorite Uncle Charlie.
Luckily for the begonia, it lived for at least 30 years in San Francisco and did not have to change cities when it came under my care. I keep it on a high shelf in my kitchen, next to a window where it receives indirect light all day.
I have not established any routine in regards to care for this plant, which I am ready to amend now.
It is in a medium-sized terracotta pot, which sits inside a medium sized deep bowl. When i took the plant from my Uncle's house, it was sitting in a lot water in the bowl, which lead me to believe that this was its normal state. This feels counter-intuitive to me and so I have waivered for the past year between having it sit in water and letting it dry out before watering.
The plant was initially very full, with lots of big dark leaves that came off 'arms' that extended at least a foot from the pot. Since I got it, it has lost most of those large leaves. Arms are still there though. It has not produced any flowers under my care.
It still has new growth coming from the top, though no new leaves on the arms. Some new growth are green and some are green and red. Some of the leaves start to look halfway dry as they grow. Please see photos.
I do finger prune off the dead leaves regularly.
My questions are:
1. Is my plant still healthy? I regularly get paranoid that is is slowly dying.
2. What should be my watering method and how often?
3. Advice for fertilizing, which I realize should be part of my routine. Is a basic houseplant fertilizer sufficient?
4. Any other tips for caring for a beautiful begonia that is decades old.
Thanks for reading my long post.