December 21


Experts share tips on how to successfully overwinter begonias

How to overwinter begonias – with advice from the experts

Hardy begonias are a popular choice among gardeners and can be a great addition to your outdoor space. However, when the colder months approach, you may start thinking about how to prepare your begonias for winter. With the right techniques and advice from experts, you can ensure that your begonias survive the frost and come back strong and healthy the following season.

One of the first things to consider is where to store your begonias during the winter months. Experts suggest bringing them inside and storing them in a cool, dry place. It’s important to keep the temperature around 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent the tubers from drying out. Make sure to check on them regularly and water sparingly to avoid overwatering.

If you prefer to keep your begonias in the garden, there are other measures you can take to protect them from frost. Mulching around the plants with a layer of straw or leaves can help insulate the soil and keep the tubers at a more stable temperature. Some gardeners also use a cold frame or greenhouse to provide extra protection from the harsh winter conditions.

Before the first frosts arrive, it’s important to prepare your begonias by acclimatizing them to the dropping temperatures. Start by reducing watering gradually and cutting back on fertilizer. This will help the plants enter a dormant state and better survive the colder months. Once the foliage starts to yellow and die back, it’s a good sign that they’re ready for winter.

Tuberous begonias, which are known for their showy flowers, require a slightly different approach. According to experts like Nick Langdon’s, they suggest lifting the tubers out of the ground before the first frost. Cut back the foliage and allow the tubers to dry for a few days. Then, store them in a cool, dry place like a basement or garage.

For those who prefer to keep their begonias in pots, the process of overwintering is relatively easier. Simply bring the pots indoors and place them in a well-lit area. Make sure to provide them with enough light, but avoid placing them in direct sunlight. You can also keep them in a cool room where the temperature stays around 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Water sparingly during this time to avoid rotting the tubers.

Overall, the process of overwintering begonias may seem daunting, but with the right advice and techniques, you can ensure that your plants survive the winter without any issues. Whether you choose to store them inside or outside, remember to acclimatize them gradually, prepare them for dormancy, and provide them with the ideal conditions to survive until the following growing season. With a little care and attention, your begonias will be ready to flower again when spring arrives.

How to overwinter begonias

If you have begonias in pots, you need to think about how to ensure they survive the winter. Begonias are not hardy plants, so they won’t tolerate freezing temperatures. Here’s how you can prepare your begonias for the winter:

1. Check the temperature

Before bringing your begonias inside, check the weather forecast. If the temperature is going to dip below 50°F (10°C) at night, it’s time to bring them inside.

2. Prepare the pots

Before bringing the begonias indoors, remove any dead leaves or flowers. Keep the pots clean to prevent the spread of diseases or pests.

3. Acclimatize the plants

To help your begonias adjust to the new conditions inside your house, gradually reduce their exposure to light. This process, called “hardening off” or “acclimatizing,” will help them avoid shock.

4. Bring them inside

Next, bring your begonias indoors. Place them in an area with filtered light, away from drafts and extreme temperature changes.

5. Remove tuberous begonias

If you have tuberous begonias, remove the tubers from the pots. Clean off any soil and let them dry for a few days before storing them in a cool, dry place.

6. Water sparingly

6. Water sparingly

During the winter, begonias don’t need as much water as they do during the growing season. Only water them when the soil feels dry to the touch.

7. Store the tubers

If you have tuberous begonias, make sure they are completely dry before storing them. Store them in a paper bag or a shallow container filled with peat moss or vermiculite.

8. Keep an eye on the plants

Throughout the winter, check your begonias regularly for signs of pests, diseases, or rot. Remove any damaged or decaying parts to prevent further spread.

9. Get them ready for the next season

9. Get them ready for the next season

In early spring, start watering your begonias more regularly and provide them with more light. This will help them wake up from their winter dormancy and prepare for the growing season ahead.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your begonias survive the winter and are ready to flower again in the following season.

How to overwinter tuberous begonias

Tuberous begonias are a stunning addition to any garden, with their vibrant flowers and lush foliage. To ensure that your tuberous begonias survive the winter and bloom again the following year, it is important to properly prepare and overwinter them. Here are some expert tips on how to overwinter tuberous begonias:

  1. Check the frost date: Before overwintering your tuberous begonias, make sure you know the average date of the first frost in your area. This will help you plan when to bring them indoors.
  2. Acclimatize gradually: Tuberous begonias need to acclimatize to the change in temperature before being brought indoors. Gradually reduce their watering and expose them to cooler temperatures for a few weeks before overwintering.
  3. Remove the foliage: Just before the first frost, remove the foliage from your tuberous begonias. This will prevent any diseases or pests from overwintering with the plants.
  4. Prepare for storage: Clean the tubers by gently brushing off any excess soil. Make sure they are fully dry before storing them.
  5. Store in a cool, dry place: Place the tubers in a container filled with peat moss or vermiculite. Store them in a cool, dry place with a temperature of around 45°F (7°C).
  6. Check on them periodically: Throughout the winter, check on your tuberous begonias to make sure they are still in good condition. Remove any tubers that show signs of rot or decay.
  7. Prepare for planting: In early spring, about 6-8 weeks before the last frost date, start preparing your tuberous begonias for planting. Bring them out of storage and gradually expose them to warmer temperatures and increased light.
  8. Planting time: When the temperature has warmed up and there is no sign of frost, you can plant your tuberous begonias back into the garden or containers.

Following these tips will help ensure that your tuberous begonias survive the winter and come back strong in the spring. Happy gardening!

How to overwinter hardy begonias

The fall season is the perfect time to start thinking about how to overwinter hardy begonias. Unlike their more tender tuberous counterparts, hardy begonias are able to survive winter temperatures without needing to be dug up and stored. However, some preparation is still recommended to ensure their survival through the colder months.

Check for signs of dormancy

Before the winter season hits, it’s important to check if your hardy begonias are entering their dormant phase. This is often indicated by the leaves starting to drop and the plant looking less vibrant. Once you observe these signs, you can start preparing for overwintering.

Prepare for overwintering

To prepare your hardy begonias for overwintering, start by cutting back any dead or dying foliage. This will help the plant conserve energy and make it easier to store. Next, dig up the tubers from the ground and gently shake off any excess soil. It’s important not to wash the tubers, as this can remove their natural protective coating.

Store in a cool, dark place

Store in a cool, dark place

After preparing the tubers, it’s time to find a suitable storage space. Ideally, this space should be cool and dark, with a temperature between 40-50°F (4-10°C). A dry basement or garage is usually a good choice. Place the tubers in containers lined with dry peat moss or sawdust, ensuring they are not touching each other. This will help prevent rot and keep them in good condition throughout the winter months.

Check periodically

During the winter months, it’s important to periodically check on your stored tubers. Inspect them for any signs of rot or decay, and remove any damaged tubers immediately to prevent spread. Also, check the moisture levels in the container and add a small amount of water sparingly if needed, as overly wet conditions can promote rot.

Bring them back to life in the spring

As the next spring season approaches and the danger of frost has passed, it’s time to bring your hardy begonias out of storage. Gradually acclimatize them to the outside conditions by placing them in a sheltered spot for a few days before planting them in the garden. This will help them adjust to the new environment and prevent shock.

By following these steps, you can ensure the survival of your hardy begonias through the winter and enjoy another season of beautiful flowering in your garden.

Can I keep begonias in pots over winter

Many gardeners wonder if it is possible to keep their begonias in pots over winter. The good news is that it can be done, but there are a few things you need to consider in order to ensure the survival of your plants.

First, it is important to understand that not all begonias can be overwintered in pots. Tuberous begonias, like the popular ‘Barbosa’ and ‘Fernandes’ varieties, are the most suitable for overwintering. These begonias have tubers, which are swollen underground stems that store nutrients and water.

In areas with frosts, tubers need to be lifted from the garden before the first frost hits. It is recommended to wait until the foliage has died back, as this indicates that the tubers have gone dormant and are ready to be stored. To lift the tubers, use a garden fork or trowel to gently lift them out of the ground, taking care not to damage them.

Once the tubers are lifted, remove any loose soil and let them dry for a few days. After drying, cut back the stems to about two inches. This will help prevent the tubers from rotting during storage.

The next step is to store the tubers. Place them in a tray or flat in a cool, dry place, like a garage or shed. Make sure the tubers are not touching each other and that there is good air circulation around them. Some gardeners like to dust the tubers with a fungicide before storing them, to prevent any potential fungal diseases.

During winter, check on the tubers periodically to make sure they are not drying out. If they appear to be shriveling, you can lightly mist them with water. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can also cause damage.

In early spring, when the danger of frost has passed, you can start to prepare your tubers for planting. Remove any dead or damaged parts and make sure there are healthy-looking eyes or buds. If there are any signs of rot or disease, the tuber should be discarded.

Before planting, it is a good idea to “wake up” the tubers by giving them a soak in tepid water for a few hours. This will help hydrate them and stimulate growth. After soaking, plant the tubers in pots or directly in the garden, and keep them well-watered and in a warm, bright location.

With proper care, your tuberous begonias should survive the winter and reward you with beautiful flowers in the following season.

How to overwinter Begonia semperflorens

Overwintering Begonia semperflorens, commonly known as wax begonia, is relatively easy and can be done successfully with proper care. These beauties are popular for their continuous flowering throughout the summer season and can bring color and vibrancy to any garden or container. To ensure their survival during the colder months, here are some expert tips on how to overwinter Begonia semperflorens:

  1. Prepare the plants: Before the first frost hits, start preparing your Begonia semperflorens for the winter. Trim back any long shoots or stems to about 6 inches in length. This will help the plant adjust to lower light conditions and conserve energy.
  2. Remove the flowers: If your Begonia semperflorens is still flowering, it’s best to remove the flowers before overwintering. This will divert energy to the tubers and help the plant survive the winter.
  3. Check for pests: Before bringing your Begonia semperflorens indoors, check for any pests that might have made a home on the foliage. Treat them accordingly to prevent infestations during the winter.
  4. Bring indoors: Just before the first frost, bring your potted Begonia semperflorens indoors. Choose a well-lit location with a temperature between 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help the plant adjust gradually and prevent shock.
  5. Water sparingly: During the winter, Begonia semperflorens requires less water. Water the plant sparingly, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. Overwatering can lead to root rot.
  6. Keep in a cool spot: Begonia semperflorens prefers cooler temperatures during its dormancy period. Keep the plant away from direct heat sources and drafty areas.
  7. Check for light: Even during the winter, Begonia semperflorens needs some light. Place the plant near a window where it can receive indirect sunlight for a few hours each day.
  8. Consider mulch: If you have Begonia semperflorens planted in the garden, consider applying a layer of mulch around the base of the plants before the first frost. This will help insulate the tubers and protect them from severe cold.
  9. Check tubers regularly: Throughout the winter, check the tubers of your Begonia semperflorens regularly for any signs of rot or decay. Remove any affected tubers to prevent spreading.
  10. Gradually reintroduce outdoors: When the risk of frost has passed and the temperatures start to rise, gradually reintroduce your Begonia semperflorens to the outdoors. Start with a few hours each day and gradually increase the time spent outside.

By following these expert tips, you can successfully overwinter your Begonia semperflorens and ensure its growth and flowering in the next season. Remember, each Begonia variety may have specific overwintering requirements, so it’s always a good idea to check the specific instructions for the variety you are growing.

Do you cut back begonias in the winter?

When it comes to overwintering begonias, the question of whether or not to cut them back is a common one. The answer largely depends on the type of begonia you have and how you plan to store them during the winter months.

For tuberous begonias, cutting them back before bringing them indoors is generally recommended. Barbosa Fernandes, from the Housegrail gardening blog, suggests removing the foliage and leaving about an inch of stem attached to the tuber. This will help the tubers store better and prevent them from rotting.

On the other hand, for begonias grown as houseplants, many people prefer to keep them intact during the winter. This is especially true if the plants are still flowering or have a good amount of foliage. Light pruning may be done to shape the plant or remove any dead or damaged leaves, but drastic cutting back is not necessary.

Langdons, a well-known begonia supplier, recommends gradually reducing the watering and moving the plants to a cooler space before the first frost. This will help encourage dormancy and make it easier for the plants to survive indoors. Once the plants have gone dormant, they can be moved to a darker and cooler location, such as a basement or garage.

For those who prefer to overwinter begonias without removing them from the garden, mulch can provide some protection. Blackmore and Langdons suggest applying a layer of mulch around the base of the plants, which can help insulate the tubers from the cold temperature.

When it is time to bring the plants indoors, make sure to check for any signs of pests or diseases. Removing any affected foliage or treating the plant before bringing it inside can help prevent them from spreading to other plants.

Overall, whether or not to cut back begonias in winter depends on the specific variety and how they will be stored. Tuberous begonias generally benefit from some pruning, while houseplant begonias can be left intact or lightly pruned. By following these tips, you can ensure your begonias are ready to thrive again come spring.


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