Begonias are some of the most beautiful and diverse houseplants you can grow. They have a reputation for being tricky at times, and I wouldn’t disagree with this. However, if you find your begonia wilting, there is usually an easily identifiable cause that can be fixed. This article is going to show you how to fix your drooping begonia and give you some tips to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Overwatering and underwatering are the most common causes of a begonia wilting. Begonias wilt quickly once their soil dries out, but maintaining excessively wet soil can also result in dramatic wilting due to root rot. Temperature stress, transplant shock, pests, and disease can also cause drooping.
Unfortunately, there are several reasons why your begonia may be wilting, so you’ll need to do a little detective work to find out what has gone wrong. Thankfully, the tips in this article can help you easily work out the cause and fix most problems.
How To Fix A Wilting Begonia
The most important thing to do first is to assess your begonia’s growing conditions and work out if there are any major problems that could have resulted in your begonia’s leaves drooping.
Check how wet the soil is – Begonias don’t like completely dry or waterlogged soil.
Check the pot you are using – Make sure it has plenty of drainage holes to let the excess water drain away after watering.
Think about where your plant is located – Low light conditions make overwatering much more likely, as your plant’s water needs will reduce dramatically in low light. Placing your plant in intense direct sunlight is not a great option either, as this can cause leaf scorching and wilting due to rapid water loss from the plant.
Consider the soil – Begonias like their soil to hold onto some moisture, but excess water should drain easily. If water pools on the surface of the soil for more than a few seconds when watering, the soil is not sufficiently well-draining.
Check the humidity level – Humidity below 40% makes wilting much more likely.
Examine your plant for pests – Many pests like to feed on begonias, accelerating water loss from your plant, causing wilting in the case of a significant infestation.
Check for infection – Black or brown patches on the leaves may indicate infection. Pathogens such as pythium spread rapidly to the roots, stems, and leaves, quickly resulting in your plant dying.
8 Causes Of A Wilting Begonia And How To Fix Them
Let’s look at each of the common causes of begonia leaves drooping to help you work out what the issue is with your plant. I’ll talk you through the symptoms to look for, as well as what steps to take to nurse your plant back to health.
Let’s start with a fairly simple one. If you let the soil of your begonia dry out completely, it will wilt spectacularly before too long. This will happen quickly with certain types of begonia such as Begonia rex varieties and Begonia maculata for example. Wax begonias (Begonia semperflorens) tend to be much more tolerant to drought.
If you see your begonia wilting dramatically, just feel the soil. Dig your finger down a few inches into the soil, and if at least the top few inches feel fairly dry, then underwatering is the most likely cause of the problem.
How To Prevent Your Begonia Drooping Due To Underwatering
The most obvious thing is to check your plant every few days and check to see if it needs to be watered. Make sure to dig your finger into the soil to see how dry it is before watering it. I also find it really helps to lift the pot to test the weight. Dry soil feels much lighter than wet soil, and after a while you’ll be able to tell instantly whether your plant needs watered.
It’s not enough to just add a little sip of water to the top of the soil. Often this only gets a tiny portion of the soil wet, and very little gets to the roots. This can lead to you thinking the plant has plenty of water, when in reality, it is parched.
Soak the soil completely until water runs freely out the drainage holes. Bear in mind that very dry soil can sometimes repel water, so you may be better adding a bit of water at a time over the space of a few minutes to ensure the soil is well soaked.
Your wilting begonia should perk up within a few hours and be back to normal within a day or so. It’s generally best to water your begonia before it is showing any signs of wilting, but I’ve generally found that most begonias recover well after occasional wilting due to underwatering.
Watering seems so easy, but it’s really an art that takes practice and skill to get right. You can read my article about watering houseplants for some more tips to get it right.
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