Begonia plants are known to grow as tall as twelve inches and have stunning flowers that catch everyone’s attention. This plant is from the Begoniaceae family that has over 1825 species in the subtropics of the old and new world.
Although Begonia plants are not difficult to grow, they are considered to be high maintenance in the eyes of some indoor and outdoor gardeners. However, the only high maintenance for this plant is its water requirements.
How Often Should You Water Begonias?
How often you water your Begonia plants will depend on the level of humidity, the temperature, the size of the plant, and the type of soil used for the plant. The container in which your plant is kept also plays a huge role. However, a simple solution is to stick your finger into the soil. If the soil is dry when you put your index finger 1-2 inches until your top knuckle into the soil and it feels dry, then you need to water your Begonia. I keep my Begonias as houseplants and water once a week and every 3 days in Summer.
Factors That Effect How Often You Should Water Begonias
Most Begonia plants are capable of tolerating temperatures as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degree Celsius) and as low as 41-degree Fahrenheit (5 degree Celsius). But in case of hot or cold weather, their water demands change drastically.
If your Begonia plant is kept at a lower temperature, then your plant will require less water as compared to when it is kept under high temperatures.
This is because, in high temperatures, Begonia plants are unable to keep up with the transpiration demands, and thus they end up losing more water than usual.
This causes your plant to dry up faster, which means that you must provide it with more water.
Other than the transpiration rate, the surrounding heat in the air can also raise soil temperature.
A rise in soil temperature does not allow the soil to hold on to sufficient moisture since in high temperatures, water starts to evaporate. When this happens, it is important to water your plant well.
In the case of cold temperature, none of these factors are present. This means that neither transpiration nor soil moisture is lost at a rate that the plant cannot keep up.
This is why during the winter season, it is best to water your plant after one to two weeks. During the summer season, it might be necessary to water your Begonias every few days (eg. every 3 days).
Begonias are tropical plants, and thus they thrive in areas where humidity levels are high. If your Begonia is currently kept in an area where the humidity levels are between 60-70%, then you will not need to water it daily.
However, if your Begonia plant is being kept in an area where the humidity levels are low, then it is important to provide your plant with sufficient water by checking the soil moisture with your fingers or a moisture meter.
You can also reduce the loss of moisture in your plant by misting it daily.
But, when you mist your Begonia plant, make sure that you do not use tap water. This is because in some areas, tap water has high alkaline levels, and it might cause your plant to drop leaves eventually.
Instead of using tap water, you should use distilled water that is free of minerals.
In case of low humidity levels, you can also use a humidifier to increase the plants surrounding humidity.
Another trick you can use is by simply placing a tray of water with pebbles in it close to the plant. Once the water starts to evaporate from the tray, the humidity levels will start to rise as well.
A combination of low humidity levels and high temperature can be dangerous for your plant, and simply increasing the surrounding humidity levels can greatly help your plant’s health.
A well-grown Begonia plant with a healthy root system will eventually fill up the soil that it is present in. As the Begonia plant grows, there won’t be enough soil that can hold onto the moisture at some point.
In this case, you must repot your plant into a large pot or water your plant more frequently.
Begonias love to be root bound, which is why it is best to water it more often, rather than changing its pot first.
When your plant is first potted, or a seedling has been placed into the soil, then it will require less watering as compared to a fully grown plant. This is because there is a large amount of soil present to hold onto the moisture.
As your plant grows more roots and starts to fill the pot, then it will need more water.
The quality of the soil also determines how much water your Begonia plant may require. Some potting mixtures contain animal manure, compost, vermiculite, and peat moss.
These components of the soil naturally hold on to moisture a lot longer than other soil components such as sand.
Some gardeners even use water crystals or other moisture holding properties to allow the soil to hold on to moisture for a longer period of time.
But it is important to remember that Begonia plants require air spaces in between the soil so that they can breathe. If air spaces are not available for a long period of time, then the plant will die.
At the same time, your plant also demands to have some moisture for its roots. The ideal way to deal with this is by making a soil mixture containing perlite and adding a few proportions of humus such as peat moss or animal manure.
Air spaces will be left in between the solid particles of the soil, and excess water will drain away, while the peat moss will retain moisture for the plant.
The type of container you use can also make a huge difference in how often you must water your Begonia plant. Plastic or ceramic pots only lose water from the surface of the pot.
The water evaporates from the top, and some of it is even used by the roots. However, clay pots can lose water from the sides as well since they are porous.
Clay pots are wonderful for the soil and roots since they keep them cool. But during high temperatures, it can increase your plant’s demand for water.
The same also applies to containers that have fiber lines. Fiber lines are good for airflow, but once the roots of your Begonia plant have filled up the soil, it will require extra water.
The choice of container is that of personal preference. If you will not forget to water your plant, then it is best to use a clay pot.
The Rule of Thumb
It is easy to figure out when you must water your Begonia plant if you know the main rule of thumb. It is important to never let your soil dry out completely before you water it again.
In order to know exactly when to water your plant, you must stick your finger into the soil. If the soil is dry until your first knuckle, then you must water your plant again.
If you end up over-watering your plant, it can cause the leaves to turn yellow, and they will eventually fall off. You must also ensure that your soil is well-draining and that your container has drainage holes present in it.
Frequently Asked Questions about When to Water your Begonia
Can over-watered Begonia plants be saved?
Over-watered Begonia plants can be saved if the signs of over-watering are caught early. Simply add drainage holes to the pot and cut off any of the rotted roots by removing the plant and checking all of the roots.
Will my Begonia plant die if I forget to water it daily?
If the weather is hot and you are unable to provide a sufficient amount of water for your Begonia, then it can wither away.
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Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.