Begonias are finicky plants, but mastering their care can be rewarding. With a bit of work and patience, you can enjoy their bright leaves and pretty blooms.
These plants thrive in a moist environment, so make sure you never let the soil dry out completely between waterings. You can check by sticking your finger into the soil to see if it’s moist or dry to the first knuckle.
Begonia plants need to be watered frequently in order to thrive. Overwatering can lead to fungal diseases, which will quickly destroy the plant.
To ensure that your begonia plants get enough water, aim a hose at the root system or use overhead watering. Make sure that you don’t water over the top of the leaves, since this could cause damage to the stems.
Humidity is another important factor for your begonias. If your house is too dry, you may need to run a humidifier or place them in a pebble tray filled with water to achieve the proper level of humidity.
Taking cuttings is one of the easiest ways to propagate your begonias. You can do this by using stem or leaf cuttings, or you can propagate tuberous begonias by dividing the tuber. Regardless of the method used, you need to sterilize your knives and blades before and after making cuts.
If you notice wilted or yellowish leaves on your begonia plant, it may not be getting enough light. Begonia plants need at least six hours of bright, indirect light per day to thrive.
Some begonias can tolerate partial shade, but they should be protected from direct sunlight whenever possible. This is especially true if you are growing these flowers indoors, where they can be placed on an east- or west-facing windowsill.
Aside from lighting, nutrient issues are also common. If your begonia plant is wilted or has brown tips, it may need more fertilizer.
Most begonia plants prefer a lot of humidity, but this is a tougher issue to manage indoors. They may benefit from running a humidifier, placing them on a pebble tray filled with water, or using a misting spray.
Begonia plants rely on soil nutrients to help them grow and thrive. Without fertilization, these plants can quickly become weak and unattractive.
Garden-grown begonias should be fertilized monthly during their active growth phase in spring and summer, and once or twice a week throughout their blooming period. Fertilizer should be applied to the soil surface around the base of the plant, and not directly on the leaves or stem.
Container-grown begonias should be fertilized every two weeks during their active growth phase. Spread the fertilizer evenly on the soil surface between the plants, taking care not to get it directly on the leaves or stem.
Begonias are particularly sensitive to chemical burn and nutrient burn, so it’s important to choose a slow-release fertilizer that won’t cause them harm. They also prefer fertilizers that are poured or sprayed around the base of the plant rather than applied directly to the leaves. Regardless of the type of fertilizer you use, it’s best to dilute it in water first before applying.
If your begonia plants become overgrown and leggy, pruning them can help you promote optimal growth. It also helps your plants get the amount of sunlight and air they need to grow healthy.
For example, if you have a flowering begonia that’s too big, you can prune back the main stem by a third to a half in late spring or early summer, just before it blooms. This will encourage new, bushier growth and give your begonia plant a fuller, more rounded shape.
Pruning is also beneficial for the begonia plant because it clears away overgrown branches and leaves that can rot and attract diseases and pests. If you’re looking to sell your begonias, pruning them regularly can help make them look their best.