What Causes Begonia Leaves to Curl (and What to Do About It)


Begonias can be found in an astonishing number of leaf shapes.

Some appear to be angel wings, others resemble ferns, and there are even some that curl and twist – virtually like a snail shell.

The latter is the good type of curling begonia leaf. Then there’s the unhealthy type of leaf curl.

A close up horizontal image of curling leaves on a begonia houseplant.

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Begonia leaves would possibly curl up or down, horizontally, or vertically alongside the middle, because of some type of stressor.

On this information, we’ll chat about what causes such a irregular leaf progress and what you are able to do about it, whether or not it’s affecting a fairly wax sort in your backyard or a hanging angel-wing houseplant that’s received curling leaves.

Right here’s what I’ll cowl:

When you’re unsure whether or not your specimen is a kind that’s presupposed to have curling leaves, learn our information to classifying begonias utilizing the leaves and stems.

The primary drawback we’ll take a look at is one brought on by caring an excessive amount of. Sure, it’s potential to be an excessively attentive plant guardian.

1. Extra Fertilizer

Whether or not you’re rising your begonias inside or out, all of them want gentle, balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.

When the vegetation obtain an excessive amount of meals, salts can construct up within the soil and the begonias could react by twisting and curling the leaves upwards, amongst different signs.

A close up horizontal image of a gardener planting wax begonias in a plastic terra cotta pot, pictured on a soft focus background.

Outside flowering vegetation ought to be fertilized as soon as a month, beginning simply earlier than they flower and persevering with till they’re completed blooming.

Begonias grown as houseplants ought to be fed each different month from early spring by means of fall. Don’t be tempted so as to add an excessive amount of or fertilize too usually.

Indoors, I like to make use of Dr. Earth Home Plant Pump and Develop. It has an NPK ratio of 1-1-1 and is made out of recycled natural meals scraps discarded from grocery shops.

A close up of a pump bottle of Dr Earth Pump and Grow Indoor Plant Food isolated on a white background.

Dr. Earth Home Plant Pump and Develop

A 16-ounce bottle with a handy pump prime is obtainable at Arbico Organics.

For out of doors begonias, All the way down to Earth makes a pleasant possibility known as a “Vegan Combine,” which has an NPK ratio of 3-2-2 and is manufactured from soybean, alfalfa, and kelp meal, together with rock phosphate and greensand.

A close up of the packaging of Down to Earth Vegan Mix isolated on a white background.

All the way down to Earth Vegan Combine

Decide up 5 kilos of the good things in a compostable field at Arbico Organics.

Even should you’re fertilizing on the proper schedule with the precise meals, it’s nonetheless potential to overfeed. For out of doors begonias, try to be testing your soil recurrently.

Perhaps your soil is of course wealthy in potassium and right here you might be including further on prime of that, for instance.

Many vegetation will merely not take in greater than they want, however when there’s far an excessive amount of, it may burn the roots and trigger curled leaves.

2. Herbicide Damage

When you’re rising your begonias outdoor and also you discover curling leaves, take a look at different close by vegetation of various species.

Have they got curled leaves, too? Or maybe their foliage is wilting and yellowing? If that’s the case, it’s extremely possible that they’ve suffered herbicide damage.

A close up horizontal image of a hand from the right of the frame holding a spray bottle dispensing herbicide onto a lawn.

Even should you didn’t apply herbicides in your personal backyard, it’s potential that some wafted over from a neighbor or perhaps your native authorities utilized herbicides to public areas close by. Or maybe you latterly handled your garden?

You would possibly marvel if what you might be seeing is a results of a pest or illness problem. Usually, particular pests or ailments persist with vegetation in the identical genus or household.

Powdery mildew in legumes, for instance, is brought on by Microsphaera diffusa whereas in begonias it’s brought on by Oidium begoniae.

But when completely unrelated species are symptomatic, the trigger is normally one thing else like a watering problem or herbicide injury.

So, in case your begonias and close by hostas are each displaying signs of leaf curl, it’s most likely not a pest or illness problem because the vegetation are from completely different genera.

When you suspect herbicides are the issue, there’s not a lot to do besides discover the place they got here from and cease it from occurring once more.

3. Mealybugs or Scale

Sapsuckers like mealybugs and scale trigger stress to the begonia, and this stress can lead to curling leaves.

Each scale and mealybugs are pretty simple to establish as soon as you already know what to search for. Each are oval and flat, and both brown, tan, black, or white with a waxy coating.

A horizontal image of a mealybug infestation on the surface of a leaf.

They like to hang around on the stems and on the leaf joints, so look intently in these areas.

These pests don’t transfer a lot, and so they are likely to cluster collectively, so folks generally mistake them for signs of a illness.

However strive scraping them off and squishing them –if they arrive off simply or they are often smashed, they’re bugs, not signs of a illness. I do know, gross.

If scale or mealybugs are the reason for the leaf curl, you possibly can merely scrape them off the plant utilizing a butter knife or dab them with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol.

4. Mites

Broad, tropical, or begonia mites (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) are an invisible monster. They’re about 0.02 millimeters in size, so that you gained’t be capable of see them with the bare eye.

These pests thrive in the identical circumstances as begonias, specifically heat and humid. You’ll discover them throughout in greenhouses and tropical areas and so they feed on many warm-weather species.

When the mites feed on the plant, they trigger the terminal leaves to twist and roll. They will additionally trigger deformed buds and stunted progress.

You will get out a magnifying glass and study the begonias intently to attempt to see the mites.

They like to cover in areas which can be shaded and hidden. When you see them and even suspect an infestation, deal with the plant with insecticidal cleaning soap.

Spray as soon as every week with the cleaning soap on a day when there isn’t any rain anticipated in case your vegetation are outdoors. Insecticidal cleaning soap is useful to have round because it tackles many insect issues.

A close up of a spray bottle of Bonide Insecticidal Super Soap isolated on a white background.

Bonide Tremendous Cleaning soap

Seize some Bonide Tremendous Cleaning soap in quart-sized ready-to-use containers at Arbico Organics.

5. Underwatering

More often than not, should you don’t give your vegetation the moisture they want, they wilt. However power underwatering causes curling and leaf browning alongside the margins in lots of begonia species.

A close up horizontal image of the foliage of polka dot begonia plants growing in pots.

Mostly cultivated begonias do finest when the soil is saved constantly moist and never allowed to dry out fully or get too moist.

Often, over- or underwatering a few times isn’t the top of the world, but when it occurs repeatedly, it actually begins to emphasize the plant and may trigger leaf curling and stunted progress.

Guess what the answer is? Give your vegetation the correct amount of water!

When you seize a little bit of soil and roll it in your hand, it ought to simply maintain collectively for a minute earlier than it falls aside. If it crumbles instantly, it’s too dry. If it sticks collectively and water squeezes out, it’s too moist.

It’s simpler for me to only envision the feel of a well-wrung-out sponge. That’s what the soil ought to really feel like.

6. Overwatering

As with extra fertilizer, overwatering is a helicopter plant-parent drawback. It’s extra generally seen in potted vegetation, however it may occur with vegetation within the floor, as effectively.

A horizontal image of a gardener watering potted plants indoors with a yellow watering can.

Overwatering as soon as gained’t trigger an excessive amount of bother. However when it occurs again and again, the leaves in your begonias would possibly begin to curl and switch brown.

This occurs as a result of the roots underground are primarily drowning. They will’t entry sufficient oxygen and the entire plant is burdened.

Cut back the quantity of water you’re providing by half and provides the plant a while to get well.

In case your vegetation are rising in containers, test to verify the soil is draining effectively and the drainage holes aren’t clogged.

If they’re rising within the floor, think about how a lot water you’re offering based mostly on how effectively your soil drains. You shouldn’t be including water extra incessantly if the soil isn’t draining sufficiently.

7. Viruses

Many viruses assault begonias. Impatiens necrotic spot (INSV), tobacco ringspot (TRSV), broad bean wilt (BBWV), cucumber mosaic (CMV), tobacco necrosis virus (TNV) are all potentialities.

A close up vertical image of the symptoms of necrotic spotted wilt virus on the surface of a leaf.

All of them trigger discoloration and malformed progress that may embody curled leaves. Search for angular yellow patches, distorted progress, and curled leaves.

Don’t fear in regards to the specifics. It doesn’t actually matter which virus your plant is contaminated with.

If it’s sick, the one factor you are able to do is toss it. In any other case, you danger the virus spreading to different specimens through bugs like aphids and thrips, and these viruses assault many, many species. Plus, there isn’t any treatment.

Don’t Curl Up and Die

Curls in your hair or your fries are an excellent factor. Curling begonia leaves are normally a nasty signal.

Whether or not it’s brought on by viruses, pests, or one other drawback, leaf curl is never one thing you wish to see. The excellent news is that curling leaves is normally one thing you possibly can cope with.

A close up horizontal image of beautiful begonia foliage on potted plants growing indoors.

Which trigger is affecting your vegetation? Have been you in a position to determine it out? Do you want extra assist? Both means, tell us what’s occurring within the feedback part beneath.

Able to study a bit extra about begonias? Now we have a number of different guides that may curiosity you, together with:

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