How to Cut Back Foliage Begonias

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Begonias have tuberous roots that must be stored during the winter months to survive during cold weather and bloom again the next year. Like all plants with underground root structures, it is best to wait as long as possible to cut off the foliage so the begonias can continue to soak in the sun, convert it into sugar and store it in their tubers to use the next year.

Moderately Easy


things you’ll need:
  • Clippers
    1. Wait until the foliage turns yellow, which occurs in the fall, typically after the first frost. You may notice some of the the leaves have fallen off, which is OK.
    2. Cut off the foliage so that it is about five inches above the soil. Use sharp clippers and cut only a few stems at a time to get a clean cut.
    3. Dig up the begonia tubers, which are typically buried just beneath the soil’s surface. Use a trowel and dig a couple inches from the stem to avoid damaging the tubers.
    4. Cure (dry) the tubers in a warm, dry location. It should out of reach of animals and children. Lay the tubers individually–with the stems still attached–on newspaper.
    5. Check on the tubers in a few days. Gently pull the stems from the tubers. If they are not easily separated, then wait another couple days and try again. After a week, check everyday so the tubers don’t shrivel up. Once you can safely pull the foliage off, then it’s time to store the tubers for the winter in a cool location (40 to 50 degrees F) buried in some peat moss or vermiculite.

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