How to Preserve a Tuberous Begonia
A shade loving flower, tuberous begonias produce blooms in red, white, pink and orange. They grow from a disc-shaped tuberous root system, thus earning them their name. Tuberous begonias are a perennial flower, but they aren’t frost-hardy. You must dig them up each year and preserve the begonias over winter so they can be replanted in spring. Digging them at the right time and properly preserving them for storage is critical if you want the begonia to survive.
things you’ll need:
- Paper bag
- Peat moss
- Dig up the begonias once the first fall frost has caused the leave to yellow and die. Dig down around the begonia plant approximately 6 to 8 inches, then slide the spade under the tuberous root and lift it out of the ground.
- Cut off the top stem to 4 to 5 inches with a clean pair of shears. Brush off any excess soil and bring the roots inside.
- Spread the roots out on newspaper and place them in a cool, dry room to cure for two to three weeks. The begonia tuber finishes drying during this period and enters dormancy.
- Brush off all the remaining soil from the root. Inspect it for any damaged or diseases areas, which may be soft or discolored and shriveled. Cut off these areas with a clean knife.
- Place the root in a paper bag and place a fungicide, called bulb dust, in the bag with the root. Shake the bag to fully coat the root with the fungicide. Follow the package directions for the bulb dust for exact application amounts.
- Fill shallow boxes with dried peat moss. Place the begonia roots in the peat moss until they are covered. Store the tubers in a dry 50-degree F room until spring replanting.
Tips & Warnings
If roots are still clinging to the bottom and sides of the tuber after curing, brush them off with your hand prior to storage.
Check on the tubers once a month during storage and dispose of any that are rotting. This prevents the rot from spreading to healthy begonias.
Avoid planting the begonias outside until all danger of frost has passed in spring.