Mature begonia brown tips – House Plant Journal

Mature begonia brown tips

Plant: Begonia maculata, var. Wightii

How long have you had the plant? 20+ years


The tips and edges of many leaves turn brown.

It’s been years and I’ve tried several cures, including repotting with entirely new soil, having sprayed for fungus.


Light Situation:

Plant Parent: In this position, the plant receives roughly 1 hour of direct sun.

How do you determine WHEN to water? I wait for the soil to become completely dry

Describe HOW you water: I thoroughly soak the soil and let excess drain away; I’ve tried watering more than once/week, once/week and less often, when completely dry. I don’t let it sit in water.

What fertilizer (if any) do you use? Yes, always have.

Soil situation: I repotted the plant about 1 to 2 years ago.

Darryl’s Analysis

Wow – this is an impressive Begonia!  It is definitely a testament to why it is a classically loved houseplant.  These windows are great for the plant.

Since you’ve had the plant for over 20 years, I’d say you already have a handle on general care of the plant.

When I look at the overall plant, it looks completely healthy to me – sometimes thrips can cause begonia leaves to become brown but I don’t see any from the closeup photo.

Older leaves will eventually get browned tips – and once it starts happening, there’s nothing you can do to reverse it.  If you want to see more nice new leaves, you can prune back the upper stems and wait for new growth.

There is a way to slow the onset of the browned tips by occasionally flushing the soil – this is where you continually pour water through the soil and have it exit the drainage hole (obviously, this should be done outside or over a sink).  Doing this will flush out the potentially built up minerals in the soil – but be sure to follow up by watering with fertilizer since the flushing also washes away nutrients.  You can do this every few months.

Let me emphasize again: older leaves will eventually get browned tips.  It is inevitable (but will affect different plants to different degrees).

The youngest leaves will have nice, pristine tips.  After a few months (or maybe a year or so), they’ll eventually become brown as a result of filtering minerals – just the wear and tear of hard work.  As long as the plant is pushing up new leaves to replace the old ones, you’ll be happy with the plant.

Learn my long-term enjoyment approach to houseplant care – learn from my course.

Tired of your houseplants dying on you?

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