Skip to main content

This is how often you should be watering your begonias

Keep your begonias healthy with a good watering schedule

Did you know begonias originated in a tropical climate? They thrive best in places with higher humidity and plenty of moisture, making their overall care a little bit different than that of a regular houseplant. Watering them properly is a key part of begonia care, as they can easily dry out and wilt. Keeping your begonia healthy through regular watering is essential to keep them blooming, but overwatering can pose a threat as well. If you want to learn how often to water begonias then this guide is for you.




20 minutes

What You Need

  • Water

  • Watering can

  • Tub or basin

Yellow begonia blooms
Ihor Hvozdetskyi/Shutterstock

How often should you water begonias?

If you’ve never had one before, you’re probably wondering how often to water begonias. Begonias have different watering needs depending on how old they are. Here's what to do:

Step 1: Keep the soil moderately moist for the first couple weeks as the begonia matures.

Step 2: Be careful not to overwater it.

It’s always good to keep your plant in a pot that has good drainage, so when the water starts to come out at the bottom, you’ll have an indicator to stop watering.

Step 3: Test the soil to see how dry it is before watering mature begonias.

If you stick your finger in and the soil is dry to your first knuckle, you’ll know that it’s time to water your begonia. This little trick will also help prevent you from overwatering the plant.

A potted begonia and other small houseplants indoors on a table with a watering can
Katrina_S / Pixabay

How do you water indoor begonias?

Luckily, the same rules for watering outdoor begonias work when you’re watering begonias indoors. In a pot with good drainage, wait to water the begonia until the top portion of the soil is dry and be wary of overwatering. Having a pot with good drainage will allow excess water to drain from the soil and prevent the plant from sitting in stagnant water.

Like other indoor plants, begonias enter a dormancy period in the colder months. During this time, you’ll want to water only once every three to four weeks to avoid similar situations with the plant drowning in water. Once growth begins in the spring, you can resume the regular watering schedule.

Orange begonia blooms

Do begonias prefer sun or shade?

The ideal condition for begonias is usually a mixture of partial sun and partial shade (typically morning sun and/or filtered lighting). Many windowsills or well-lit sun spaces in a home or apartment can accommodate this well; however, if you only have a form of indirect lighting, not to worry. Many begonias can withstand full shade/indirect lighting. They just won’t be as full as their counterparts grown in a mixture of light and will often have fewer flowers.

If you have an outdoor space, like a small patio or a garden, you can also place your indoor-grown begonias out there to absorb sunlight and bring them in as-needed if your windows don’t allow for proper conditions.

Keep in mind that it is possible for your begonia, like any other plant, to be in too much sun. Sun damage is often indicated by wilting, bleached/yellowing leaves, and stunted growth. If your begonia shows any of these signs, try moving it to a different location. The damaged parts of the plant can’t be fixed, but the begonia should be able to recover over time.

Vase of flowering begonias

How to keep begonias blooming all summer long

One of the best ways to encourage blooming in begonias is to follow the proper watering and conditions tips as best you can. By providing your begonias with the best care possible, you’re most likely to see more blooms for a longer period of time. You can also fertilize your begonia once enough to ensure it has the proper nutrients needed for beautiful blooms.

A begonia with pink flowers
Ralphs_Fotos/Pixabay / Pixabay

Should you water your begonias from the top or the bottom?

Now that you know how often to water begonias, you may be wondering what the best method for watering them is. Top watering is the most common method of watering, and it just means pouring water into the soil from above. Bottom watering involves setting a potted plant in a couple inches of water and letting the soil absorb water through the drainage holes.

Both methods have benefits, and begonias enjoy both methods of watering. In fact, incorporating both methods into your watering routine can benefit your begonia greatly. Top watering helps to flush excess salts and nutrients out of the soil, reducing the risk of overfertilization. Bottom watering reduces the risk of fungal infections, since the water does not touch the leaves. However, bottom watering can only be done with potted plants. If you begonias are planted in the ground, you'll have to stick with top watering.

If you're unfamiliar with bottom watering, here's what to do:

Step 1: Fill a tub or basin with 2 - 4 inches of cool water.

The water should cover the bottom of the pot without submerging the entire pot. Remember, the water will only be absorbed through the drainage holes, so that's all that really needs to be covered.

Step 2: Place your potted begonia in the water.

If the pot is light and you're worried about it tipping over, you can place a few heavy objects around it to hold it up. As long as the water can flow between the objects it won't interfere with the watering process.

Step 3: Leave your begonia sitting in the water for 15 to 30 minutes.

Small plants only need 15-20 minutes, while large ones will need 20 - 30 minutes. You don't need to watch your begonia the entire time, but if you leave the room be sure to set a timer so you don't forget to take it out. Plants can still be overwatered from bottom watering.

Step 4: Remove your begonia from the water and return it to its usual spot.

The bottom will be damp, so if your begonia typically sits on or near something that can be damaged by water it's a good idea to set it on a saucer or plate.

Step 5: Water your begonia from the top instead of the bottom every few weeks, to flush out any salts or unused nutrients that have built up from fertilizers.

You can switch between top and bottom watering more frequently if you prefer, but your potted begonia should go no more than 6 weeks without top watering.

Now that you know how often to water begonias as well as the best method to do so, your begonia will be thriving in no time. There’s no guarantee that your begonia will bloom all summer long, but proper, diligent care is the best way to ensure that you have a happy, healthy plant.

Editors' Recommendations

Kiera Baron
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kiera Baron is a freelance writer and editor, as well as a budding digital artist, based in Upstate NY. She is currently one…
How to successfully grow a passion flower indoors
Caring for a passion flower plant
Close up photo of a purple, yellow, and white passion flower

Native to Central and South America, the passion flower is a gorgeous and Instagram-worthy plant that’s often grown in gardens. For gardeners who are low on outdoor space or live in an area too cold for these tropical plants, then growing passion flower indoors is a must! The beautiful flowers are easy to care for, even indoors, and make great additions to both homes and greenhouses. If you’re wondering how to maintain a passion flower indoors, keep reading ahead to find out!

Why you would want to grow a passion flower plant
The passion flower has been used in both edible and topical products and ailments. Its health effects haven’t been researched extensively, but the passion flower and its fruit have long been promoted for helping with anxiety and sleep problems in addition to soothing pain and skin irritation. Beyond its potential benefits, the passion flower is also a gorgeous climbing vine. It consists of wiry stems with dark green leaves that fan out and short-stalked flowers with a saucer shape and oval buds. Each fragrant flower has five to 10 petals surrounding colorful filaments and golden anthers — the varieties differ mostly by color, though you'll most commonly find these plants in shades of purple and blue. Outdoor passion flowers yield two-inch orange fruit, but indoor plants seldom produce fruit.

Read more
How to keep your plants watered while you’re on vacation
Keeping your plants hydrated while you're away
A potted begonia with other small potted plants and a watering can inside on a table

When you're planning for a vacation, you've got to take care of a few things: buying the ticket, updating your passport, packing your bags, and for the houseplant enthusiast, coming up with a watering plan for all of your plants! While some drought tolerant plants may be able to handle a few missed, you'll need to take extra care if you leave your home during the summer or have foliage with high watering needs like ferns! If you're wondering how to water plants on vacation, then you're in luck. There are plenty of options available, so you can relax on your vacation without stressing about your plants.

Water your plants before you leave
For short trips under a week, you can probably get away with simply watering your plants before you leave. While you don't want to drown any roots, give your plants a thorough soaking, draining any excess water once the soil feels completely wet. If you keep your plants in a bright area, move them into a shadier spot, whether they're inside or outside. For outdoor plants, add mulch to make sure that your plants retain moisture throughout the week.

Read more
How to grow houseplants from seeds
Everything you need to know for successful propagating
Seedlings growing in brown pots

Whether this is your first plant or one of many, growing new plants can be extremely gratifying. You can propagate your existing plants through cuttings, or you can start from scratch with seeds. Which method is better?

Both are skills that require cultivation. While growing from cuttings is most accessible because you already have the plant at hand, starting plants from seeds has its own rewards. Here's what you need to know about growing houseplants from seeds — we'll even go over a few fast-growing indoor plants to make your plant-growing journey easier.

Read more