Begonia lost to stem rot ! | Green Patches - Mediterranean Gardening

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Begonia lost to stem rot !

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begonia elatior stem rot, rotting, stem rot
Stem Rot

Here is how I lost my poor Begonia to stem rot.  I only had it for a couple of weeks and here are all of the things I did wrong (in hindsight) which ended up killing the plant.  Here's a post on what to do, if you plant is affected by stem rot. Since this is not the only plant I lost I learnt a couple of things.  Hope this helps.

When I purchased the Begonia I left it outside and I noticed that the soil was constantly dry, I thought this was a good sign, that the plant was in good health so I watered it every other day and left a small container underneath the pot so the access was not removed but eventually absorbed as well.  Big mistake!

The first time I noticed there was something wrong was when the flowers started drooping, as can be seen in the picture above.  I thought that since it was September it was time for them to fall out so it didn't really bother me that much.  Then came the rain.  We had a heavy downpour and that's when I noticed that the soil remained for over a week.  Something was wrong.

I took the plant inside thinking that a few days without watering in a sunny window would do the trick and the soil will dry out.  It didn't.  I moved the leaves about the see what was going on with the stems and an entire stem came off in my hands.  The end of the stem where it broke off was soggy and brown and looked rotten.  That's when I did some research and I found out that stem rot is a disease, a fungus which keeps growing until the plant dies.

The main culprit, over watering with no drainage for access water.... sounds familiar.  Another lesson learnt. 


In hindsight what I should have done was cut off a stem which wasn't infected and try to propagate the plant.  This is possible by cutting a large enough stem, with possibly some buds in it, at a 45 degree angle and plant it potting soil.  Just enough not to overwhelm the plant.  As you can see above I still have a small part of the plant to the right which is not infected.

1 comment:

  1. Great article, I wish I had seen this earlier! I bought a Begonia for my girlfriend on Valentine's day and it was beautiful. She took care of it and we joked it was a symbol of our love and even named it. She left for NY and I'm taking care of it and it has been succumbing to the same symptoms you describe. I guess she watered it too much, the soil didn't drain well, and we have been having regular thunderstorms. So I'm hurrying to find a solution before she finds out. I have cut off the brown parts and put some seemingly healthy stems in water to hopefully root. I might have to replace it and act like nothing has happened. It is extra stressful because the plant is a symbol of our love, I don't want my girlfriend to be convinced our love is rotting away...