Why Are Begonia Leaves Turning Brown & Crispy?

Begonias, popular for their vibrant colors and diverse leaf patterns, can suffer from browning and crispy leaves. This issue signals that the plant’s living conditions may not be ideal. It is critical for begonia enthusiasts to understand why their plants are showing these symptoms, as it affects the plant’s health and aesthetic appeal.

begonia leaves turning brown crispy

What are the 5 Main Causes of Brown and Crispy Leaves on Begonias?

Begonias are popular plants known for their beautiful leaves and flowers. However, sometimes their leaves turn brown and crispy. There are five main reasons why this can happen:

  1. Inadequate watering: Begonias need the right amount of water. Not enough water can dry them out, causing leaves to brown.
  2. Low humidity: Begonias like moist air. Dry air can make their leaves lose moisture and become crispy.
  3. Sunburn: Too much direct sunlight can burn begonia leaves, turning them brown.
  4. Too much fertilizer: Over-fertilizing can harm the roots and leaves, leading to browning.
  5. Pests or diseases: Bugs or sickness can damage the leaves, which may turn brown and crispy as a result.

1. Inadequate Watering

Watering is one of the most common issues when it comes to brown leaves on your Begonia plant. These houseplants love to have constant moist, but not too soggy soil.

In between watering, you shouldn’t leave its soil dry out completely. Try to check it frequently, and if the top half of the soil is dry, then it is time to water your plant.

As I said, Begonias hate soggy soil, so after watering you should discard any water left in the saucer.

If you’ve been busy, or you forgot to check the soil frequently enough, or the temperatures are just too hot and the soil dried out completely, then you have to give a good soak to your plant by bottom watering.

How to do this? It is easy. Just place your plant with its pot in water and leave it to soak up the water through the bottom drainage hole.

The soaking should take around 45 minutes, but if you want to speed it up, you can add some water from the top of the soil as well.

After the soil is all soaked, you should take the pot out of the water, and leave it for a while to drain the extra water from the soil. After it is drained properly, you can put the pot back on its saucer and put the plant back to its usual place.

If you soak in water you Begonia regularly, you can prevent its leaves from turning brown.

2. Low Humidity

Low humidity can be another reason for brown leaves on your Begonia plant. Together with consistently moist soil, Begonia loves humidity as well.

If the air in your house is dry, then you should increase the humidity with a humidifier or by adding some water in a tray or small container.

Misting Begonias is not always a good idea, as some varieties, like Begonia Maculata (Polka Dot Begonia) does not like it. This can easily develop powdery mildew because of misting.

However, if you mist the air around the plant, should be fine, but make sure you are not misting directly on the leaves. You should avoid getting the leaves wet on your Begonia at all times.

begonia flowers turning brown crispy

3. Sunburn

Begonias are tropical plants and they love the humid and warm environment, however, if placed in direct sunlight, these can get a sunburn.

Sunburn is another reason why your plant’s leaves are turning brown. Begonias should be kept in a bright place, but not in direct sunlight. Filtered sunlight is best for them.

Or if you have a window available that is east-facing, that would be the perfect spot for your Begonia. There it can enjoy enough bright light, but the sun will not burn its leaves as this will not shine on them directly.

4. Too Much Fertilizer

Over fertilizing can be also a cause for browning leaves on your Begonia plant.

If the soil is not draining well, it is clay-rich soil, then your plant’s roots may rot or these can become constricted and these cannot absorb enough water and nutrition.

On the other hand, if the soil is too sandy, this will not contain enough nutrition for your plant.

To resolve the problem do not over-fertilize. This can also cause brown leaves on your plant. By over-fertilizing salt can build up and this can harm your plant’s roots.

Instead, you should flush the soil washing out the salt residues out of it and keep a balanced fertilizing habit.

5. Pests or Diseases

If you checked for all the above reasons and you think these are not the causes for browning leaves, then still some diseases or pests can cause crispy and brown leaves on your plant.

For example, thrips is among the most common pests which can cause problems on your Begonia.

As I mentioned above, different Begonia varieties are also prone to powdery mildew. When this occurs, not only the browning leaves are specific, but the curling leaves and distinctive white patches on the leaves as well.

First, the curling of the leaves and the white patches will appear, then if uncured, the leaf will turn brown, will die and then fall from the plant.

Another cause can be anthracnose disease which is caused by fungi. This is very common in Begonia plants. The curling leaves are specific for this disease, but also signs of yellowing and browning spotted lesions.

If you spot any disease on your Begonia plant, you should remove the infected leaves and treat the other parts. To prevent diseases, you should avoid wetting the leaves while watering or misting the plant.

What to do With Damaged Begonia Leaves?

When begonia leaves turn brown and crispy, it means they are damaged. Dealing with these leaves is important for the plant’s health. First, identify the brown or crispy leaves on the begonia. Gently touch the affected leaves to check. If the leaves are dead, they will feel dry and brittle.

Remove these leaves by cutting them off with clean scissors or pruning shears. Make sure to cut just above a leaf joint or the base of the stem. Do not pull the leaves off, as this can hurt the plant.

After removing the damaged leaves, take steps to prevent more damage. Check if the plant needs water, provide proper lighting, and protect it from pests.

Begonia   Updated: November 21, 2023
avatar Hi, I'm Amy, a devoted horticulturist and the creator of PlantIndex.com, where I use my expertise to help beginners foster their green thumbs. My blog is a vibrant community where I unravel the complexities of gardening and share my profound love for nature.
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