How To Care For A Begonia Houseplant

Flowering Pot Begonias: These begonias are generally used to provide homes a quick burst of flower color. Depending on the type, they flower at various periods of the year.

Tuberous begonias: These plants are tuber-based and come in a variety of shapes, from hanging basket varieties with several trailing stalks covered with flowers to those with short upright stems and enormous saucer-shaped petals. The majority of tuberous begonias provide magnificent summer and fall blooms.

You can store tubers during the winter and replant them in the spring. Stop watering and remove any remaining shoots at the conclusion of the flowering season. Remove tubers from the ground and store them in a cool, dry area in dry peat moss. HGIC 1159, Begonia, contains more details on tuber storage and transplanting.

These evergreen, compact Lorraine, Cheimantha, or Christmas Begonias grow to a height of about 11/2 feet and produce winter blooms. Although they might be double or semi-double, flowers are mostly single. From late autumn through early spring, flowers bloom. Typically weak, stems need assistance. When the plant is young, pinch out the tips to encourage bushier growth.

Begonias from the Elatior genus: These begonias resemble Lorraine begonias but have larger flowers, including the Reiger begonia. All year long, Elatior begonias are in bloom.

After flowering, Lorraine and Elatior begonias are often abandoned, but they can be restarted by being cut back to 3 inches above the crown. Cut back on the water and keep in a cool place. more water in the spring. Cuttings can be made from fresh growth.

The flowers of the Begonia x hiemalis cultivar Elatior begnoia come in a variety of hues, including yellow, white, red, pink, and orange. Barbara H. Smith, HGIC, Clemson Extension, provided the image.

Evergreen Flowering Begonias: Although these begonias don’t have as spectacular of a flower display as flowering pot begonias, they do have the benefit of having year-round foliage. There are numerous varieties, ranging in size from tiny (6-inch) bushy plants to tall (10-foot) cane-stemmed varieties. In hanging baskets, there are also trailing varieties.

Wax begonias, the most popular bushy variety, are often grown as annuals outdoors in the summer but can also be dug up and potted in the fall and brought inside for the winter. Elephant ear and fuchsia begonias, which are less common and a little harder to grow than wax begonias, are other members of this group.

Cane-stemmed Cane-stemmed begonias can grow as tall as 10 feet if they aren’t clipped. In order to promote new growth at the base, it is a good idea to trim down excessively long stems in the spring or early summer. It could be necessary to stake the tall, bamboo-like stems. One of the easiest plants to grow is the cane begonia. In the spring and summer, eye-catching hanging clusters of red, pink, or white flowers bloom. Some begonias with cane stems bloom all year round.

Both the flowers and the foliage on these begonias are lovely. While the majority of leaf surfaces are shiny, others are drab. A leaf might be light, dark, or mahogany in color. The leaves frequently resemble angel wings. Even though many of the species and variants in this genus go by the moniker “angel wing begonia,” one of the species, B. coccinea, has the name.

One of the most straightforward begonia varieties to grow is the Angel Wing begonia (Begonia aconititolia x coccinea). Barbara H. Smith, HGIC, Clemson Extension, provided the image.

Shrimp begonia, also known as B. limmingheiana, is a trailing plant that is frequently used in hanging baskets to add color during the winter months when the more common basket begonias are dormant.

Begonias, a type of flowering indoor plant, prefer direct sunshine and a bright location. An east window is ideal for morning sun. Many cane and shrub species bloom best in some direct sunlight. Winter sun exposure for a few hours is advantageous.

Keep the soil evenly moist; only slightly let it dry in between waterings. in the winter, use less water (stop watering tuberous begonias in fall). Avoid moist or soggy soil at all costs. When the plant is fully grown, fertilize it every other watering with balanced liquid fertilizer at half intensity. Never let plants stand in a water saucer.

Begonias are frequently lanky. Branch tips should be pinched to encourage lateral development. Stop pinching when the plant is full enough to allow it to blossom (if it is not already flowering).

During the summer, begonias grown indoors should be transferred to a partially sunny outdoor setting. Some begonias should be kept in the shade since they cannot stand direct sunshine. In HGIC 1454, Indoor PlantsMoving Plants Indoors & Outdoors, you can get more details on moving indoor plants.

Need sun for indoor begonias?

Begonias are both beautiful and adaptable. They’re the workhorse of gardening, with blooms and foliage that thrive in garden beds, porch pots, hanging baskets, and more! When most of us picture Begonias in our thoughts, we tend to picture their rich, tropical-looking blossoms. The varieties that people keep indoors as houseplants, however, are somewhat different from those with spectacular flowers that flourish outdoors.

With over 1,000 species worldwide, there are three main types of begonias and numerous subtypes within each. They are mainly divided into three groups according to their root systems: tuberous, fibrous, and rhizomatous. The simplest Begonias to grow indoors are typically those that are fibrous and rhizomatous. They have attractive foliage but not as interesting flowers. The begonias that thrive outside are the tuberous varieties, which have large, beautiful flowers.

Reviewing the maintenance requirements of the particular variety you have your eye on is always advised if you’re keen to enjoy fibrous or rhizomatous Begonia as a houseplant. However, in general, you can adhere to these general guidelines for caring for these beautiful, graceful, low-maintenance plants indoors!

Best Location For Begonias in Your Home

All begonias require direct, strong light. This indicates that indoor plants prefer a location close to a big window with a sheer drape to block off any direct sunlight. Their leaves may burn in the sun. However, the amount of light in our homes is far less than it is outside, therefore they also won’t thrive in a dim area.

During the winter, you might need to supply an additional 14 hours per day of full spectrum lighting from a lamp.

Maintain a steady temperature of 60 to 70 degrees for begonias, and keep them away from drafty doors and windows.

Humidity & Water for Begonias

Begonias do not push water to the edges of their leaves as effectively as other plants because they are native to regions with high humidity levels. They are perfect for terrariums because of this quality. Humidity-loving plants may struggle in Iowa’s dry prairie air, particularly in the winter. When the air is dry, make sure to supply a pebble tray under the pot or a nearby humidifier.

Checking the soil with your finger every few days is the best approach to determine when to water your Begonia. Begonias prefer slightly dried out soil between waterings, but they do best in equally moist soil. If the soil is dry, stick your finger in it up to the first knuckle and moisten it. If at all possible, use rainwater or distilled water to water your begonias because they can be sensitive to the dissolved salts in tap water. This sensitivity can result in some browning of the leaves, which can harm the appearance of your Begonia but is usually not harmful to the plant.

How frequently should I water my begonia indoors?

Begonias add color to porch planters and outdoor garden beds with their profusion of vivid blooms. Check out these begonia care recommendations if you want to add some of these wonderful plants to your outside areas.

Sun and Shade

You can discover a begonia that is suitable for your area, whether you’re looking for a plant for a sunny yard or a shady porch. Wax and tuberous begonias are your two primary options if you’re cultivating begonias outdoors. Wax begonias are the most heat- and sun-tolerant begonias, making them the ideal selection for regions with full sun. The finest begonia plants for full sun are those with red or rust-colored leaves, according to one reliable rule. Part shade is preferred by tuberous begonias, especially in the summer.

Water Needs

Begonias grow well in neutrally moist or dry soil. Finding the ideal moisture level and watering plan is your aim. Watering should be done every two to four days as a general rule.

You’ll need to water more frequently when it’s hot and dry than when it’s cooler outside and the soil is able to retain more moisture. Additionally, begonia plants in full light will need more water than those in shady areas. Additionally, you should pay particular attention to begonias in planters and window boxes because they tend to dry up more quickly in containers than they do on the ground.

Where To Plant Them

Begonias may be grown in a range of environments, which is one of their many benefits. Make sure the location you pick satisfies the previous list of sun requirements. Additionally, choose a spot with good airflow.

Begonias of several varieties can flourish in the ground, in window boxes, and in containers. Wax begonias are the ideal plant for sunny gardens since they are compact and heat-tolerant, while cascading tuberous begonias look stunning growing out of porch planters in the shade.

Pests and Diseases

Begonias are not just beloved by people. This plant is attacked by numerous pests and fungi, but with the right knowledge, you can keep the bad guys at bay.

Root Rot

Rotten roots are exactly what they sound like: root rot! There are additional signs your begonia plant is in trouble even if you can’t detect squishy roots. Yellow or wilting leaves are an indication of root rot because plants cannot absorb nutrients or water when their roots are mushy.

The most typical cause of root rot is consistently wet soil, so allow the soil to partially dry between waterings.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is another fungus that affects begonia plants. As the name implies, this illness leaves your plants covered in a fine powder. When watering your plants, avoid getting water on the leaves because that is when it manifests itself most frequently. Another important factor in preventing this condition is good airflow.

Sucking Insects

Many different insect pests like sucking the juices from begonia plants. Mealybugs, aphids, and thrips can weaken and infect your begonia plant. If you see any of these bugs, wipe them off with a moist cloth or use insecticidal soap to spray them.

How long can begonias be kept inside?

  • By adding pea gravel to a shallow metal or plastic container, you can make a pebble tray. Place your plant container on top of the stones, just above the water’s surface, and just cover them with water. Your plant will be surrounded by an area of humidity when the water evaporation creates it.
  • The lifespan of any begonia is short. Even with proper care, the average lifespan is barely 2 to 3 years.
  • If it gets too cold, cane begonias such as angel wings go dormant.

Begonias can they live indoors?

Identifying the type of begonia you have is the first step in learning how to care for begonias inside. There are three forms of begonias: tuberous, fibrous, and rhizomatous. Generally speaking, rhizomatous and fibrous begonias make great indoor plants, but tuberous begonias can be cultivated indoors but struggle to survive since they require more humidity and light than the other two types.

Proper placement is the first step in taking care of begonias indoors. One piece of advice for growing begonias inside is to arrange them in an area with plenty of humidity and bright, indirect light.

Set your begonia houseplants on a shallow tray with water and pebbles if the air in your home is particularly dry, especially in the winter. Your growing begonias will be able to acquire the humidity they require indoors in this way without the soil being waterlogged or the leaves being exposed to too much moisture that can lead to disease.

Indoor-grown begonias are particularly prone to root rot and overwatering. Make sure to only water begonias when they actually require it when caring for them. Many experts advise delaying watering a plant until it exhibits symptoms of dehydration, such as drooping leaves. This will assist in avoiding unintentional overwatering, which is the main cause of begonias dying indoors. Additionally, to prevent spreading a fungus, water your begonia houseplant underneath the leaves each time.

The fact that begonia plants are naturally pest-resistant is yet another suggestion for growing them indoors. An infestation of pests on a begonia is incredibly uncommon. It is best to keep the leaves dry since they are still prone to fungus problems like powdery mildew.

Begonias are beautiful indoor houseplants because they produce beautiful flowers and foliage. Begonia houseplants can flourish inside if they are placed properly.

Overwatering

Overwatering is one of the most frequent causes of begonia death. Begonias can live without water for a few days and still be perfectly fine, but if you overwater them, the plant could die. Instead of having to save an overwatered begonia, it is far preferable to establish good watering practices from the beginning.

Most of the time, begonias prefer a little moisture in their soil, but it should never be soggy. Since oxygen is necessary for the plant’s life, if the soil surrounding its roots is always wet, little to no oxygen will be able to get to the roots. The roots will essentially sink and perish. Infected and infected roots will rot, leaving them open to pests and diseases. This will allow the rot to move up the stem and leaves of the plant, eventually killing it.

A begonia that is overwatered will have yellowing leaves that start at the base. Despite the plant’s location having high humidity, you might also notice brown leaf tips. The leaves will likely start to fall off and feel mushy.

By gently removing your overwatered begonia from the pot and inspecting its roots for rot, you can rescue it. With a clean pair of scissors, cut away any brown or black roots that are present.

Use well-draining soil to repot the plant. One part perlite to two parts standard gardening soil can be used to create your own blend. Perlite will aid in maintaining soil aeration and enable oxygen to reach the roots. To let extra water to drain out, use a pot with drainage holes at the bottom.

Do not water the plant right away after repotting; instead, place it in an area of your home that receives bright but indirect light. Allow the roots at least a week to recover from the trauma of pruning and replanting.

When the soil’s top two inches are dry, water the plant only then. Wait one or two more days before checking the soil again if you touch it and the top two inches are still damp.

Underwatering

Begonias can tolerate some drought, as was already indicated, but this does not excuse you from giving the plant regular waterings. The begonia may potentially perish if it is submerged.

Feeling the dirt will reveal whether your begonia is submerged. Put your finger a few inches into the earth; if it feels dry, the plant might be waterlogged.

By soaking the soil until you can see the extra water draining from the bottom of the container, you can save your underwatered begonia. Make sure the soil in the pot is completely moistened so that the roots may all receive water. Your begonia ought to recuperate and bounce back after a few days.

Check to see if your plant needs water every few days to avoid drowning it. If the soil feels dry to the touch, water it. Because dry dirt is lighter than wet soil, you can also just lift the pot to see how heavy it is.

Acclimatization

If the plant is still acclimatizing, that could also be why your begonia is dying. When moved from one location to another, most plants grow agitated, but begonias seem to be more sensitive to the impacts of alterations in their living conditions.

If you purchase your begonia from a nearby nursery, keep in mind that the plant was likely cultivated in a greenhouse under optimum conditions. The plant will become stressed if you remove it from the only environment it has ever known and place it somewhere with varied lighting, humidity, and temperature. Incorrect store maintenance is another possibility, and once you have the plant at home for a few days, those issues will be easier to spot.

Purchasing your plant from vendors whose cultural practices you are aware of will help ensure a seamless acclimation. Invest in plants that appear healthy, even if they cost more than discounted plants that don’t look as healthy. Make sure the plant is not subjected to high temperatures when you get it home. Due to the stress, it is typical for some of the plant’s leaves to wilt; you cannot rescue those leaves, thus it is preferable to simply remove any dead foliage.

Disease

Additionally, diseases can seriously harm your plant. Diseases include bacterial and fungal leaf spot, blight, and Pythium rot are common in begonias. These illnesses have symptoms that might appear suddenly, and in as little as one or two days, the plant may appear to be dying.

The collapse of the plant, brown and black blotches on the leaves, collapsed petioles, and fragile, black stems are all signs of illness in begonias.

These ailments are frequently found in weakened plants, like those that have been overwatered.

By separating it from the rest of your healthy plants, you can save a sick begonia. Use a clean knife or pair of scissors to remove any damaged foliage. To check for rot in the roots and remove any that are present, dig the plant out of the soil. Before repotting the plant, rinse the remaining healthy roots and apply fungicide.

As soon as you detect a sickness, make sure to take these precautions since the sooner you act, the greater your chance of making a full recovery.

Temperature

Temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for begonias. Our homes often have temperatures that fall within that range, but if you keep your begonias outside, they may be subjected to lower or higher temperatures than they enjoy. However, if an indoor plant is situated close to an air conditioner vent, a drafty window, or a radiator, it may still be impacted by temperature. Your plant may experience temperature stress as a result of these drafts.

Keep a digital thermometer close to your begonia plants to prevent subjecting them to severe temperatures. These thermometers have the ability to log both the day’s peak and lowest temperatures in addition to the current temperature. Use this information to determine the best time to move your plant.

Transplanting

If your begonia has recently been potted, for example, it may seem to be dying even when it is not. A begonia experiences more stress during repotting than the majority of other plants do. Begonias have a reputation for being drama queens and often wilt after being replanted.

By making certain that every other part of your begonia’s living conditions is nearly ideal, you may help it get through this difficult time. By draping a plastic sheet over the plant to boost humidity, you might attempt to create a temporary greenhouse. As a result, the plant loses less water and recovers more quickly.

Pests

A few parasites don’t cause much harm to a begonia, but if the infestation spreads and gets bad enough, the plant may not survive.

Regularly inspect your begonia for pest activity to identify any infestations and stop them in their tracks. While the plant is being watered, you can do this. Watch out for leaf damage including holes, a mottled yellowing, and sporadic yellow or brown blotches.

To prevent the pests from spreading, segregate the begonia from your other plants before applying any treatment. Once a week, spray the plant with neem oil or rubbing alcohol to get rid of the insects. To ensure that all the insects have been eliminated, treat the plant once a week for a month.