Dying Iron Cross Begonias
The following question was sent to the P&PDL diagnosticians here at Purdue University:
Question: I have an Iron Cross Begonia that appears to be dying. I bought it at the plant sale at the Purdue Horticulture open house. I really love this plant and I would like to try anything to keep it alive. I have many other plants that I have no problems with taking care of, yet I can't seem to keep this one alive. The stems are getting brown and dying and falling off. My first thought was that maybe I had over watered it, but I haven't really watered it that much. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Answer: Rotting off of stem pieces could be caused by a number of different causal factors, including exposure to cold temperatures (where is the plant located? how did you transport it home from the Hort Show? was it exposed?), excess water, insufficient humidity (dry rot), as well as possible fungal or bacterial problems. It is difficult to diagnose via the computer without seeing a sample. Before control recommendations are given, it is very important to identify the problem correctly. You are welcome to submit a sample to our lab and we will diagnose the problem for a fee. You can find a copy of our sample submission form on our web site.
--Gail Ruhl and Peggy Sellers