Overwintering a Begonia

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There are more than 1,500 different named varieties of begonias from around the world. Begonias come in a variety of colors and are ideal to brighten the shady areas of your garden. They are often used as border plants for flower beds under large trees. Both tuberous and non-tuberous begonias must be brought inside over the winter. You can enjoy the green leaves of the non-tuberous varieties, but the tuberous begonias need to be stored in paper bags during their dormant state.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

things you’ll need:
  • Shovel
  • Knife
  • Fungal powder (if rotted)
  • Paper bags
  • Cardboard box
  • Flower pots
  • Saucer
  • Fertilizer

Tuberous Begonias

  1. Dig up the tuberous begonias after the first light freeze. Remove all soil from the tuber.
  2. Check the plant for pests or soft, squishy rotting spots on the tuber. Remove any rotted areas with a sharp knife and dust with a fungal powder.
  3. Lay the entire plant in a dry area for a few days until the tuber is dry. Protect them from any freezes. Detach the stem from the tuber.
  4. Place each tuber in its own paper bag. This keeps any disease or pests from spreading, and the paper bag allows the tubers to breathe. Put bags in a cardboard box. Store cardboard box in a warm dry area.

Non-tuberous Begonias

  1. Remove the non-tuberous begonias from your garden and put them in pots. Bring the pots inside a few hours each day. Increase the hours daily so the begonias can get used to less light.
  2. Place the non-tuberous begonias in an area of your home where you can enjoy them for the winter. Supply them with as much light as possible. The plants will lose leaves but will also grow smaller, thinner leaves for the winter.
  3. Group the plants together and put a saucer of water next to them. Water the non-tuberous begonias only enough to keep them from wilting. The saucer of water and the closeness of the plants will keep humidity around them.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check tubers occasionally for soft, squishy spots that indicate rot.

  • Make sure to get all of the rotting spots removed, because any left on the tuber will become larger and destroy the tuber.

  • Non-tuberous begonias need humidity, but not much water in soil to survive the winter.

  • Fertilize the plants when the weather starts warming.

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