The Kimjongilia flower is a type of begonia bred by a Japanese botanist for Kim Jong Il. It is bright red in colour with a large flower.
On a visit to Pyongyang, you can see the Kimjongilia flower on boards and paintings. This is particularly so in February during Day of the Shining Star Celebrations. The Day of the Shining Star is Kim Jong Il's birthday and remains one of the biggest national holidays in North Korea.
The Kimjongilia flower was awarded a special prize and gold medal at the 12th International Flower Exhibition in Bratislava, 1991.
Kamo Motoeru was a renowned floriculturist of Japan. He originally studied economics but became a botanist under his mother's influence. He had devoted his whole life to floriculture and succeeded in raising a rare and new variety of tuberous begonia after over 20 years of long research.
After touring many countries, Kamo Mototeru managed to get several tuberous roots and seeds of begonia in the Andes Mountains and South America. He habituated it to the Asian climate and thus obtained an entirely new family.
He visited North Korea on several occasions.
He presented the new variety of flower he had raised to Kim Jong Il on February 16th 1988 together with a letter (Kim Jong Il's 46th birthday).
The Kimjongilia bears 3 flowers; two female flowers and one male flower.
The male flower is much larger and a glossy vibrant red. It is a double flower regularly arranged 30-50 petals. It is 10cm - 20cm across on average, but can get larger.
The female flowers open following the male flower. The female flower is a single flower with 3-5 petals. It has a yellow pistil in the centre.
Its stem grows upright and reaches 30-70cm in height - sometimes reaching up to 1 meter. A flower is out for 10-14 days on average.
The Kimgjonilia has a life cycle of over 15 years.
Kimjongilia is a perennial tuberous flowering plant belonging to the Begoniaceae family.
The Kimgjonilia grows well in cool and damp places and in good soil.
The best temperature for the vegetation of Kimjongilia is 15-25 C. It requires 13-14 hours of sunshine a day.
It requires almost saturation humidity in the germination stage, and 60-70% humidity in the efflorescence stage.
Growing it from a seed, you should mix humus soil and sand in the ratio of three to one. Put it into a flowerpot and sow seeds in it evenly before you cover it with a glass sheet. The seed will begin to germinate in 8-12 days.
When the main leaves arise, seedlings are transplanted. This happens again when leaves grow 2-2.5cm long.
The Kimjongilia was bred to bloom on the day of Kim Jong Il's birthday, 16th February. For the Kimjongilia to come into flower in mid-February, the seeds should be sown in August/September of the preceding year.
Kimjongilia is resistant to harmful insects and is simple to cultivate.
The Kimilsungia Kimjongilia Flower Exhibition Hall is located in central Pyongyang, North Korea.
This is where you can see both the Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia flowers on display. Every year, it holds the Kimilsungia Kimjongilia Flower Exhibition.