Watering, Not a Simple Chore
by Morris Mueller
Watering is not a glamorous topic to write or read about. Yet this topic is most essential to growing and upon consideration is not as simple as dumping water on a plant. Without thinking consciously about it, I realized how complex watering really is for me. There are a lot of considerations that go into watering each and every plant.
Is it spring, summer, fall or winter? The season has much to do with how often to water. And the season is influenced by day-length, temperature, humidity and wind. The longer the day the more the plant transpires water. This is true also for higher temperatures and windy conditions. The more sunlight the plant receives outside the more frequently it needs water. The lower the humidity and again more water. This is true also for higher temperatures and windy conditions. The lower the humidity and again more water.
The potting media and pot type also determine watering. Well draining soils, which begonias like need more frequent watering than do heavier general use potting mixes. Clay, wood, and other types of porous pots need more frequent watering than do plants in plastic pots. Pot size also helps to determine when to water; the larger the pot most often the less water it will need, but there are other considerations addressed later in this article.
Where the plant is placed also must be considered. Inside, outside-location has a lot to do with watering. Inside on a light cart plants on the lowest level need less water than those on the upper shelves. Inside plants need less water usually than those outside in all seasons except winter. Enclosed terrarium plants, of course, need less water than plants grown in pots or the ground. Also plants grouped close together need less frequent watering than those isolated, because groups of plants increase the humidity around them. Some more unusual considerations also go into how, when, and how much to water a given plant. Plants with less foliage require less water than those with many leaves. A plant that is not too healthy requires less water than one that is growing vigorously. And certainly one that is either semidormant (tuberous, semi-tuberous) or completely so needs only minimal water. A plant with thin leaves will require more water than one with thicker leaves although this may not always be true. The type of plant and where it originated (or its parents if a hybrid) determines how it is watered. For example, B. peltata has low water needswhile Southeast Asian species have high water needs. Plants that are pot-bound will dry out more quickly than those that still have room to grow actively, thus potbound plants need more frequent watering. One way to help determine the potbound (and any needing water) is if a small bit of water sits on top of the soil and doesn’t soak in immediately. That pot needs more water than one where the water soaks in immediately.
Color of soil can also help determine water needs: dark means soil is moist, light means it is dry or drier. A heavy pot needs less water than a lighter pot of the same size. The best test of all is a finger pushed down into the soil which will indicate if a pot needs water or not. Obviously a plant that appears wilted needs water; however there are two other ways to tell if water is needed. Some plants have foliage that turns glossy showing they need water. Also with some plants when you touch the leaves they are soft and not rigid , again indicating the need for water.
One last point, if a particular plant dries out between waterings, put it in a saucer only slighter larger than the pot. The water the saucer retains will most likely not rot the roots and will give you an extra day or two between waterings.
Maybe there is nothing in this article you didn’t already know, but have you ever consciously tried to put it all together?
Begonia offers magnificent blooming, abundant and spectacular.
- Planting and repotting begonia
- Propagating Begonia
- Pruning and caring for Begonia
- Begonia after flowering
- All there is to know about begonia
- Smart tip about Begonia
- Double Scarlet Begonia
- Container Growing A Begonia
- Growing tips
- How To Care For Begonias As Houseplants
- Tips for Growing Begonia as Houseplants
- Information About Begonias
- How To Grow Begonias
- Begonia Care Instructions
- Begonia Propagation Tips
- Bringing Begonias Indoors For Winter
- Troubleshooting Common Begonia Care Problems
- Begonia Plant Care FAQs
Key Begonia facts
Name – Begonia
Family – Begoniaceae
Type – annual, tuber or perennial
Flowering – May to October
Height – 8 to 16 inches (20 to 40 cm)
Exposure – full sun, part sun
Soil – rather rich, well drained
Planting and care are major factors ensuring better growth and flowering for the plant.
Planting and repotting begonia
When planting or repotting your begonia, its best to use flower plant soil mix or a mix of leaves and soil mix.
If you’re planting the tubers directly, germinate the tubers in a pot first, hollow side facing upwards at a depth of 1¼ to 1½ inches (3 to 4 cm) early March.
Annual begonia outdoors
Sow in a tray from January to March, transplant in April and transfer to the ground during the month of May.
If you purchase it directly in a nursery pot, transfer it to the earth earliest in April.
- Water regularly after having transferred it to the ground.
- Mulch will contribute to the moisture retention the plant needs.
Perennial begonia outdoors
Plant anytime from April onwards, directly in the ground, preferably in a shaded spot.
In the ground or in a garden box, keep a buffer space of about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) between neighboring plants.
- Alternate your begonias with other bulbs that flower in summer, reading these pages that include advice and tips.
This often is carried out in November, after the blooming and when the leaves have wilted away completely.
- Delicately unearth the tubers from the ground.
- Let them dry.
- Carefully split the tuber in half.
- Place each tuber in a dry spot with no light until the following spring.
- Come spring, you can plant it back and it will grow and bloom anew.
Annuals are multiplied through sowing.
Tubers and perennials are propagated through crown or tuber division in spring.
Pruning and caring for Begonia
The care that begonia requires is quite easy and only consists in very little attention, especially once it has settled in well.
- Remove wilted flowers regularly, since this step helps boost new flower-bearing.
- Cover it with dried leaf mulch before winter in order to protect it from freezing.
Begonia after flowering
Indoor begonia in winter
Begonia enters in a dormant state when its leaves have all wilted and fallen off.
Certain varieties have evergreen leafage; for these wait until no more flowers appear.
- Don’t cut the stems because you might risk damaging the tuber.
- Put your begonia in a cool and rather dark place.
- Ideal wintering temperatures are around 55 to 57°F (12 to 13°C) but no colder.
- Reduce watering to the point of only watering when the soil has dried deep down.
Outdoor begonia in winter
This only relates to perennial begonia.
- Cover it with dried leaves over the winter, or any other suitable plant-based mulch so that it may be protected from the cold.
All there is to know about begonia
It owes its name to the governor of Saint Domingue, a certain Michel Begon.
Considered to be an herbaceous plant since it has no stem, it is part of the group of plants that are typically called bushes.
Its striking bright colors range from yellow to red and pink, and they’ll irradiate all the more that the begonia is made to grow in a good quality substrate.
- Intersperse your begonia with more bulbs that bear flowers in summer, all the advice is given for each variety.
Smart tip about Begonia
If you’re growing begonia in cold-weathered winters, proceed to do the following after leaves have fallen but before the first frosts hit: bring the tubers indoors in a cool ventilated spot and clean the dirt off a bit. You’ll be able to plant them again in the following year!
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Pink begonias by Grisélidis ☆ under license
Pink and white begonia by fensom ☆ under license
Multicolored begonia flower bed by Светлана ★ under license
Double Scarlet Begonia
We recommend starting begonia tubers indoors in the late winter, around February or March. If starting indoors, place planted begonias in a warm location with indirect sunlight, preferably an eastern, western, or south facing window. If you don’t have an indoor window space, you will need a heat lamp to allow some light for growth. However, tubers can be planted from February to June depending on your region. In areas with hot summer temperatures, it’s best to have begonias established earlier in the season. In colder zones, tuberous begonias are tender and cannot be placed outdoors during frost. Come spring, once the ground warms and the chance of frost is over, bring your begonias outdoors and either keep them in containers or transplant into the garden.
- Prepare your garden bed or container. If planting in a garden, dig a hole a few inches deep to cover the tuber. If planting in a pot, find a pot that is twice the size of the bulb. Fill the pot 3/4 full with potting soil. Choose soil mixes with peat moss, because they retain moisture and create slightly acidic soil.
- One side of the tuber has a hollow dip and the other is round. Place the tuber round side down. The hollow dip is the top, sometimes it will already be sprouting buds. If the buds are coming up, gently place the tubers in the pot. The new growth is fragile, so try not to bump or break it.
- Cover tuber with soil, and water around the bulb. Keep pot or garden moist, but not to wet. Too much water will rot your begonias. Expect growth in 3-4 weeks after planting. If growing conditions aren’t ideal, begonias can take longer to grow.
- After begonias have sprouted and are a couple of inches tall, you can transplant if desired. If you live in colder climates and it’s free of frost, you can place outside.
Watering and Fertilizing
After planting tubers water slightly every few days or when the soil dries out. Begonias will rot if over watered, it’s best to keep their soil just barely moist. Always water around the tuber, not directly on it. Fertilize every other week with a 20-20-20 organic fertilizer.
Aftercare and Storing Bulbs
In the fall after the leaves turn yellow, and or temperatures reach below 40 degrees at night, bring your begonias inside and use as a house plant or save for next spring. Begonias will naturally begin to slip into dormancy by themselves. In colder zones dig up tubers once the foliage has passed and store in a cool, dry, non-freezing place until spring. Allow tubers to dry out for 5-7 days before storing to reduce mold and rot. It is best to place tubers in a cardboard box or paper bag full of peat moss. Make sure to label the tuberous begonias for the following season.
- Spring-Planted Bulbs Guide
- How To Grow Begonias
- View Begonia Planting Guide
- Learn The Difference Between Bulb, Rhizome, Tuber
- Growing Plants in Containers
- How Our Plants Are Shipped
Container Growing A Begonia
There are more than 2,000 different species of begonias with a wide variety of shapes and colors of flowers to choose from. They can be grown trailing over the side of a container, upright in pots or in the garden. They bloom from summer to first frost. You can grow them from small plants bought at nurseries, or from tubers. Tuberous begonias are susceptible to frost, but with proper care can come back year after year. Wax begonias tend to be compact and upright and are usually grown outside as annuals.
Begonias can be easily and successfully grown in containers if you follow some general rules: use a pot fitted to the size of the plant, use the appropriate soil and provide the right amounts of sunlight, water, food and care.
Containers to Use
Use a small, clean pot for your begonia. If you are reusing a pot, make sure it has been cleaned with soap and water and sprayed with bleach to get rid of bacteria and any diseases left in it. A small pot is fine for one begonia, as they have a small root ball. If you are planting more than one in a pot, choose a large enough pot to provide adequate room. A two to three inch tuber or root ball needs six to eight inches of space to provide enough room for roots and growth, so a six to eight inch diameter pot will work just fine. An advantage of using small pots is that you can have different colors or varieties in several small pots, which can be easily moved and attractively arranged in your garden on plant stands, porches, decks, balconies or steps. Begonias in containers can also be rotated to promote even growth and blooms on all sides.
Begonias need to be planted in a good draining soil that’s free of disease. Do not use soil from your garden or from a pot in which another plant has been planted. Use a commercial or homemade potting mix which is free of insects, diseases and weed seeds and provides good drainage. A great choice for begonias is a “soil-less” potting mix. Soil-less mix is not susceptible to disease, provides good drainage and aeration and retains water without becoming soggy. Soil-less mix is usually composed of peat moss with vermiculite and perlite, and can include compost or other nutrients.
Begonias need filtered or light sun but need to be protected from direct sun and wind. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. To test, stick your finger in the potting soil and if it is dry at the top, water. To avoid fungus or mildew, don’t get water on the leaves. Fertilize your begonias regularly, as nutrients can be washed out of the soil by frequent watering. Keep your plants clean and healthy by cutting or pinching off dead leaves and spent flowers. An advantage of using containers for your begonias is that they can spend the winter in a frost-free place and be put back outside in the spring to start flowering again. Give your container begonias a proper start and they will continue to provide color and beauty in your garden.
- Begonias are easy to propagate from leaf or stem cuttings.
- Plants can also be grown from seeds. As they are quite fine, it is best to grow these in seed raising trays ensuring that they are lightly pressed into the mix and not covered. Water these well ensuring that they don’t dry out.
- If you are unsure whether your plant can handle full sun check the leaves. Leafs that have a darker appearance prefer shade over those that are lighter in colour.
- Begonias love a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Check your soils pH before planting out. If it needs to be lowered then treat with Yates Soil Acidifier Liquid Sulfur. If your soil has a pH that is lower than 5.5 you will need to use some Yates Hydrangea Pinking Liquid Lime & Dolomite to raise it up to the optimum level.
- They can handle some periods of drought, but prefer to be well watered. Don’t be tempted to overwater these plants as they can rot if too much water is available or the soil is constantly saturated.
- There are many varieties of Begonias available. Some of these include:
This is the hardiest of all the varieties available. They can be grown in full sun to full shade and are low growing to create a bedding effect. This variety is often seen in public gardens, hanging baskets or streetscapes.
This variety has, as its name suggests, a cane like growth habit. These can grow quite tall with some being up to 2 metres in height! This variety is best grown in shade or semi- shade and kept away from afternoon sun.
The most commonly known rhizomous Begonia is the Rex Begonia. These are best grown in a sheltered shady environment and make a great indoor plant.
Tuberous Begonias (Begonia tuberhybrida)
Often difficult to grow these Begonias have showy double flowers that come in a wide range of colours. They prefer a sheltered position in full to semi shade and are best grown in pots. Tubers are planted during winter and early spring for lovely flowers that appear from early Summer to late Autumn.
How To Care For Begonias As Houseplants
Begonias are a popular houseplant. Some varieties of begonia houseplants are grown for their flowers while others are grown for their striking foliage. Growing begonias as houseplants only requires a little bit of knowledge in order to keep them looking their very best indoors. Let’s take a look at how to care for begonias as houseplants.
Tips for Growing Begonia as Houseplants
The first thing to do when learning how to care for begonias indoors is to determine what kind of begonia you have. Begonias belong to one of three types — tuberous, fibrous and rhizomatous. Generally, fibrous and rhizomatous begonias make excellent houseplants while tuberous begonias can be grown as houseplants but have a harder time surviving due to the need for higher humidity and light than the other two kinds.
Care of begonias indoors starts with proper location. One of the tips for growing begonia as houseplants is to place them somewhere where they will get bright, indirect light and will get plenty of humidity.
If the air in your house is dry, especially in the winter, it is a good idea to set your begonia houseplants on a shallow tray filled with pebbles and water. This will allow your growing begonias to get the humidity they need indoors without water logging the soil or exposing the leaves to excess moisture that could cause disease.
Begonias grown indoors are especially susceptible to root rot and overwatering. When you take care of begonias, make sure that you only water them when they need to be watered. Many experts suggest you actually wait until the plant shows signs of being dry, such as drooping leaves, before you water them. This will help prevent accidental overwatering, which is the main reason for begonias dying when grown indoors. Also, when you water your begonia houseplant, make sure to water below the leaves in order to avoid inviting a fungal disease.
Another tip for growing begonia plants indoors is that they are naturally pest resistant. It is extremely rare to have a begonia develop a pest problem. But, they are still susceptible to fungus issues, like powdery mildew, which is why it is best to keep the leaves dry.
Growing begonias as houseplants can fill your home with lovely flowers and foliage. In the right location, begonia houseplants can flourish indoors.
Growing begonias is fun, and you can enjoy them both in your garden or indoors. Learn everything there is to know about them in this detailed begonia plant care guide. In this article, I’m going to give you tons of care and maintenance tips, show you how to fix common problems, answer your FAQs, and much more!
If you think that begonias are only good for growing in your garden, think again! There’s no doubt that they add tons of color to the garden, but many varieties can also be kept indoors as houseplants.
That means you can grow your favorite varieties for years to come, either indoors or out. And it’s easier than you might think. Yaaaas!
Below I am going to show you exactly how to care for begonias. First I will give you tons of information about them, including the different types, hardiness, growing them indoors or outside, fixing common problems, and more!
Here’s what you’ll find in this comprehensive begonia plant care guide…
- Information About Begonias
- Different Types
- Are They Annuals Or Perennials?
- How To Grow
- Detailed Care Instructions
- Potting Soil
- Pest Control
- Propagation Tips
- Troubleshooting Common Problems
- Are begonias easy?
- Do they like sun or shade?
- Can they live inside?
- Do they come back every year?
- Are they indoor or outdoor plants?
- How do I save them for next year?
Information About Begonias
Before you can become a begonia care ninja, it’s important to understand some basic things about them. First, there are tons of different kinds that you can grow (and collect!).
Some can easily be kept as houseplants, while others are a synch to overwinter. But one thing is for sure, all of them add amazing color, both outdoors and inside the house.
Different Types Of Begonias
There are over a thousand different kinds of begonias, and they come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Some are adored for their gorgeous flowers, and others for their amazing foliage colors and patterns.
At a high level, there are four common types of begonia plants:
- Tuberous – (e.g.: Rieger begonias) Plants have bulbs (tubers) and large flowers
- Rhizomatous – (aka: Rex begonias) Mostly grown for their gorgeous foliage
- Cane – (aka: Angel wing begonias) Usually large, showy, and constant bloomers
- Fibrous – (aka: Wax begonias) Common bedding plants famous for the prolific flowers
They don’t all require the exact same care, so it’s best to figure out what type you have so you know if it requires any special treatment.
Angel wing begonia plant
Are Begonias Annuals Or Perennials?
Though they are commonly sold as annual plants in cold climates, begonias are actually tropical perennials that can live for many years.
Some are only hardy to zone 9, while others can survive in colder climates down to zone 6. It’s best to look up the exact variety you have if you’re unsure how hardy they are before planting begonias outside.
With the proper care, many types of flowering begonias will bloom year round. However, some of the rhizomatous varieties don’t flower at all, but have amazing foliage.
Don’t worry, what they lack in flowers, they more than make up for in unique and colorful leaves. In fact, many avid growers prefer the non-blooming types because you can’t beat their stunning foliage.
How To Grow Begonias
As I’ve already mentioned, begonias can grow either outside or indoors. So in this section, I’ve broken it down to give you specific details about caring for them both outdoors and inside the house.
Growing Begonias Outdoors
Begonias are wonderful for adding tons of color to a shade garden, or combined in mixed outdoor patio planters. Choose a spot in your garden that has rich, well-draining soil.
If you have poor-quality garden soil, you can amend it with worm castings, compost, or an organic all-purpose fertilizer before planting.
Most begonias grow best outdoors in partial shade or dappled sunlight. They can survive in full shade, but might not bloom very well if they don’t get enough sunlight.
Begonias planted outside in the garden
Growing Begonias Indoors
Once the weather gets too cold outside, you can bring your begonias indoors and grow them as houseplants. Heck, many types will even grow great indoors all year round!
Place them in a spot where they get bright, indirect light, and keep the soil consistently moist. They do best in a home that is kept between 65-75F.
If you want, you can move them outside during the summer to give them a boost. Just be sure to wait until all chance of frost is gone before moving them outdoors in the spring.
My red-leafed begonia growing indoors
Begonia Care Instructions
No matter where you choose to grow them, the good news is that the basic begonia plant care requirements are the same for all types. That’s great, and definitely makes things much easier. Keep reading to get all the deets…
Stunning dark foliage on a begonia plant
Proper watering is one of the most difficult parts of successful begonia plant care. That’s because they like to be kept evenly moist, but won’t tolerate being overwatered. It can be a difficult balance.
Rather than watering begonias on a set schedule, you should always check to make sure they need it first. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels wet, then let it dry out a bit more before watering again.
If you struggle with getting it right, then I recommend using a soil moisture gauge to help you out.
Indoors they do have a greater risk for fungal problems and rot if the leaves get wet. So, to avoid any issues, it’s a good idea to water them from the bottom.
To do that, simply fill the plant tray or cache pot with water, and allow the soil to soak it up through the drainage holes.
Don’t let them to sit in water for too long though, only to the point where the soil is moist again. Dump out any water that hasn’t been absorbed after 20 minutes.
Growing begonias in African violet pots is a great way to make bottom watering easy, and it will also help prevent overwatering.
Tuberous begonia Funky pink
Like most tropical plants, begonias like a lot of humidity. This usually isn’t a concern when they’re growing outside, but can be a struggle indoors.
Humidity is especially important during the winter months, since heating our homes makes the air even dryer than normal. An indoor humidity monitor is a great tool to use to keep track of how dry the air is.
There are several things you can do to help increase the humidity to a level that will make your begonia happy.
Try running a humidifier near them, or place them on a pebble tray filled with water (don’t allow them to sit in the water though).
You could even grow small begonia plants in a decorative cloche, or keep all of them in a mini indoor greenhouse for the winter.
Weeping orange begonia plant
Some begonias need more sunlight than others, and there are new varieties on the market these days that can even handle full sun.
But most will suffer if they get too much sunlight, and it can burn their tender leaves. In general, they prefer a partial shade location where they are protected from the intense afternoon rays.
Indoors, you should grow begonias in a spot where they get bright, indirect light. An east or west facing window would be the perfect spot.
If the leaves start to turn white or faded, or look like they’re burning, then that means it’s getting too much sun. In that case, move it to a shadier location.
On the flip side, if the stems start to grow leggy and reach for the window, then they’re not getting enough light. Move it closer to the window, or add a grow light.
Gorgeous red begonia flowers
Begonias aren’t super fussy about the type of soil they’re planted in. But ideally, they prefer one that is fast draining, and also holds moisture.
You could certainly use general purpose potting soil, and that will usually work just fine for them. An African violet potting mix would also work well for growing begonias.
To help the soil retain moisture, or if you tend to under water, add peat moss and/or vermiculite to the mix before planting. Outdoors, you can amend your garden soil with compost, worm casting, or peat moss.
Begonia Illumination ‘Golden Picotee’
Begonias will benefit from regular feedings during their active growing season (spring and summer). Start by giving them a weak dose of half or quarter strength liquid fertilizer in early spring.
Then gradually increase the dose, so you’re feeding them weekly as part of your regular begonia plant care routine during the summer.
They can be sensitive to chemicals tough. So I highly recommend using an organic plant fertilizer on them, rather than synthetic ones.
A good quality organic compost fertilizer is always a great choice. You can buy it in a liquid concentrate, or get tea bags and brew your own. An organic African violet fertilizer would also work great for feeding begonias.
Instead of liquids, you could mix a granular fertilizer into the soil a couple of times throughout the summer, if you prefer. Stop fertilizing begonias in the fall, and don’t feed them at all during the winter.
Angel wing begonia flower
The best time to repot is in the spring. But only repot them once they have outgrown the container. Begonias like to be root-bound, and can struggle if repotted too often.
When it’s time for repotting begonias, be certain to choose a container that is only one size larger than the current one. They can start to suffer if they’re planted in a pot that’s too large.
Always use a container that has drainage holes to prevent overwatering. Also, pots that are made out of plastic or ceramic are better choices than terracotta. Clay wicks moisture out of the soil, and it ends up being too dry for growing begonias.
Regular pruning is a great way to keep begonias growing and looking their best. Deadheading the faded flowers also helps to encourage new blooms.
Spring is the best time to trim them for shape and size. Pruning begonias in the fall or winter can result in weak and leggy growth.
But you can prune dead leaves and flowers at any time during the year. You can simply pinch out the spent flowers, but be sure to use a sharp pair of precision pruners to avoid damaging the plant while trimming the leaves and stems.
Another awesome thing that makes begonia plant care even easier is that they don’t usually have much trouble with houseplant pests. Yes! Fungus gnats and mealybugs are the biggest risks, so keep an eye out for them.
The presence of gnats in the soil is a sign that you’re overwatering. The best way to get rid of them is to allow the top inch of soil to dry between waterings. You can also use a yellow sticky trap to help control them.
Bugs on the leaves are pretty rare. But if they do appear, it’s best to treat them by hand rather than spraying anything on your begonias. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol, and use it to kill and remove the bugs.
Many times you can wash the leaves with a diluted mild liquid soap and water. But some begonias are sensitive to this, so be sure to test it on a few leaves before washing the whole plant. Learn more about how to get rid of houseplant bugs here.
Washing bugs off begonia plant leaves
Begonia Propagation Tips
Mature begonias can be propagated by leaf or stem cuttings, by division, or even by collecting and then planting the seeds.
Begonia stem cuttings are pretty easy to root, as long as they get enough humidity. For best results, take cuttings that are a couple of inches long, and include a few leaf nodes. Remove some of the lower leaves, as well as all of the flowers and buds.
Dip the cut end into rooting hormone, then stick it into a light propagation soil mix (made with peat moss, vermiculite and perlite or pumice).
Keep the soil consistently moist, and be sure the air around the cutting stays very humid. I have found that it’s much easier to use a propagation chamber to root begonia cuttings, and I’ve had the best success with that.
Growing begonia seeds is definitely the hardest (and slowest) form of propagation. They can be a bit difficult to grow from seed, but it’s fun to experiment.
If you want to try saving seeds from your begonia, then don’t deadhead the flowers. Seed pods will form where the flowers were.
Allow the pods to dry on the plant, then collect them in a small bowl. The seeds are tiny (like dust), so don’t attempt this when it’s windy!
Orange begonia Nonstop ‘Mocca’
Bringing Begonias Indoors For Winter
If you put your begonias outside for the summer, make sure you bring them back indoors before it gets too cold, or they could start to suffer.
It’s best to bring them inside before the temperature gets below 60F in the fall. They don’t like to be cold, and the shock might be too much for them to survive.
Tuberous varieties are the only ones that can’t be kept as houseplants, they prefer to go dormant during the winter. Learn how to overwinter tuberous begonias here.
Troubleshooting Common Begonia Care Problems
The most frustrating thing about growing begonias is when they start having problems, and you have no idea what’s wrong. So, in this section, I’ve listed out some of the most common problems, along with the probable causes, and solutions.
- Leaves turning brown – Most of the time, brown leaves means they aren’t getting the right amount of water (usually under watering). But can also be caused by lack of humidity or extreme temperatures (freezing or sunburn). Ensure the soil stays consistently moist, and run a humidifier next to them if the air is dry.
- Flowers turning brown – Begonia flowers turn brown as they start to die back, which is totally normal. Pinch out the brown/faded flowers regularly to encourage fresh new blooms.
- Leaves turning yellow – This is usually caused by overwatering, but in some cases could be due to a fungal disease or lack of light. Ensure the soil is not wet or soggy. If you suspect disease, prune off the yellow leaves, give your begonia better air circulation (an oscillating fan works great indoors), and never water over the top of the leaves.
- Dropping stems and/or leaves – When a begonia starts dropping leaves and stems, it’s usually because of too much water (especially during the winter). But it could also be from exposure to cold temps, or moving the plant around too much.
- Leaves turning white – White or faded leaves usually happens when they are getting too much direct sun. Move it to a location where it gets bright, indirect light inside, or to a shadier spot outside.
- Curling leaves – This can be caused by a number of problems. First, check to make sure there aren’t any bugs on the leaves. Otherwise, it could be due to lack of humidity, improper watering, or too much sun or heat.
- Wilting or drooping leaves – Droopy leaves is usually caused by under watering. But it could also happen after the plant has been repotted, if it’s being overwatered, or if it’s getting too hot.
- Not flowering – First off, not all begonias flower, so this may be normal for the variety that you have. If you have a flowering one, then it could be caused by lack of fertilizer, using the wrong type of fertilizer, or not enough light.
Begonia leaves turning yellow
Begonia Plant Care FAQs
In this section, I will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about begonia care. If you don’t see the answer to your question here, then ask it in the comments below. I’ll get it answered for you as soon as I can.
Are begonias easy to grow?
Yes, they are easy to grow, as long as you give them right care. They are the most fussy about water and humidity, which can be a struggle to get right for some.
Do begonias like sun or shade?
Most begonias like shade, and will burn in the full sun. However, there are new cultivars that have been bred to grow in the full sun. So it really depends on which variety you have.
Can begonias live inside?
Yes, and they make excellent houseplants! The only types you can’t grow indoors are the tuberous ones. Those require a period of winter dormancy each year. See the “Growing Begonias Indoors” section above for more details.
Do begonias come back every year?
It depends on where you live. Begonias are tender perennials that can survive outside during the winter in the right growing zone. Some are hardier than others though, so it’s important to know the ideal climate for each variety that you have.
Are begonias indoor or outdoor plants?
Begonias can be grown as either indoor or outdoor plants, depending on where you live and the type that you have.
Bring them indoors for the winter. They can either be grown as houseplants, or you can overwinter the tubers – depending on what type you have. See the “Bringing Begonias Indoors For Winter” section above for details.
Growing begonias is easy, and you can enjoy their beauty year round. Plus it’s fun to collect different varieties, and they are all sure to add tons of color to your home and garden. If you follow these begonia plant care tips, they will thrive for years to come.
If you want to learn how to grow plants indoors through the coldest months of the year, then my Winter Houseplant Care eBook is for you! It’ll show you everything you need to know in order to keep them thriving all year round! .
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More About Different Houseplant Types
- How To Care For A Voodoo Lily Plant
- Plumeria Plant Care Guide: How To Grow Plumeria Plants
- Lipstick Plant Care Guide: How To Care For A Lipstick Plant
- How To Care For An Amaryllis Plant
Share your begonia plant care tips in the comments section below.
- Cane type. These grow from straight, sometimes brittle stems and are prized for both their blooms and their foliage. The very popular and beautiful angel wing and dragon wing begonias are cane-type begonias. These hybrids generally feature clusters of pendant flowers that appear throughout the year.
- Shrub type. Shrub begonias grow in mounding piles from multiple stems. They range in size from small to huge plants that would dwarf a full-grown man. These are not as common as cane-type begonias.
- Rhizomatous. Rhizomatous begonias grow from thick underground rhizomes. These types of begonias are popular for their beautiful leaf shapes and colors, with leaves that can attain massive size under the right conditions. These are very popular plants and include some of the most commonly cultivated indoor begonias.
- Semperflorens. These are the common wax begonias because of the waxy appearance of their leaves. In temperate areas, these are grown as annuals, but they are perennial shrubs in warmer areas. Wax begonias have been bred with pink, white, and red flowers, either in single or double blooms. Although they are most commonly grown outdoors, they can be grown indoors.
- Tuberous. Tuberous begonias are primarily grown for their flowers, which are often show-worthy. They have a short dormant period in the fall and winter. In terms of plant structure, tuberous begonias include trailing types and upright plants.
- Trailing. Trailing begonias are great for hanging baskets. They feature pendant growth with beautiful displays of flowers, sometimes year-round. Most pendant begonias have bright-green leaves.
- Rex. Rex begonias are a type of rhizomatous begonias, but they deserve special mention for their showy and beautiful leaves. Rex begonias offer a truly bewildering array of leaf shapes and colors, including greens, red, purple, silver, white, and many others. These types of begonias have insignificant flowers, but the leaves make up for their lack of interesting blooms.