How keep your potted Begonia plants happy
Begonias can only be grown outdoors throughout the year if some very specific criteria are met. Unfortunately, most countries experience some fairly extreme temperatures from time to time and this means that Begonias have become more popular as potted plants. Still, they require certain conditions even when living inside your home. A happy Begonia is a flourishing one so make sure that you keep these care tips in mind.
The right light
All plants need some amount of light in order to live and grow. That said, some plants enjoy direct sunlight whereas others prefer mostly shade. Begonias can usually be placed near any window apart from those facing north. If you have selected a spot for your plant and you notice that it’s not doing too well, you might want to choose a new location. You can usually tell within two weeks if your plant is happy with the amount of light it is receiving. If the plant starts to branch out, it usually means that it needs some more light. If the plant seems to have stunted growth of it has burned patches, a bit more shade is advised. These plants usually enjoy about 14 hours of sun per day. When the weather does not offer this much light in a day, you can use special lights to keep your Begonia happy.
The perfect pot
The pot you choose is not just a container but more like a home. It needs to house the roots and offer them enough room to grow. Your Begonia will outgrow its pot from time to time and a larger pot will be needed. That said, it’s not a good idea to try to take a short cut in this regard. If you place a small Begonia in a huge pot, it might be too much for the small root system to handle. If you notice that the soil does not seem to dry out, this could mean that the pot is too big. When transferring to another, smaller pot, do not use the soggy soil. Use fresh potting mix instead.
When you buy a Begonia, it will arrive in a pot with suitable potting mix. While these plants need water to survive, they don’t enjoy soil that retains water. This is why soil-less potting mix is ideal. When you water your plant, the water will flow freely and the plant will absorb whatever it needs. The rest will evaporate easily and the soil will not remain wet for long. This means that your Begonia’s roots will not rot.
There is such a thing as over watering when it comes to potted plants and Begonias are no exception. Make sure that the potting mix is dry before you water. Your watering routine will change depending on the weather and rate of evaporation of course.
Your Begonia might not like soaking in wet soil but they do enjoy humid environments. Misting them is great or you can invest in a humidifier. Plastic tents are also great and, if you are using artificial lighting, make sure that these tents are not flammable.
Pruning is necessary from time to time. You need not throw these shoots away though. You can use them for growing more Begonias! Keep mealy bugs away from your Begonias by using rubbing alcohol and a small brush to target these bugs. If there are a lot, you can gently spray your plant with some rubbing alcohol. Don’t use too much – you can always reapply from time to time until the bugs are gone. Avoid spraying the alcohol on the potting mix and aim only for the plant itself.