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How to Overwinter Begonias in Cold, Frosty Climates

Rachel is a passionate plantsperson, YouTuber and author living in Ireland. She grows a wide range of hardy subtropical and tropical plants.

There's no need to throw away your begonias in winter. Instead, save the tubers to plant again in spring! It's easy and will reward you with even more flowers.

There's no need to throw away your begonias in winter. Instead, save the tubers to plant again in spring! It's easy and will reward you with even more flowers.

Don't Toss Your Begonias in Winter!

Tuberous begonias are typically grown in pots or hanging baskets and make colorful displays all summer long. Many people discard these begonias in winter and buy new tubers to pot up again the following spring (they're readily available in packets in garden centers in spring), but there's no need to toss perfectly good begonias!

It's very easy to overwinter tuberous begonias, and if you do so, you should have larger plants with even more flowers next spring.

An Easy Guide to Overwintering Begonias

The first thing to understand about your begonia is that it's a tender perennial. That means it can survive indefinitely in a frost-free environment, but frost will kill it in temperate climates like mine. Your tubers need to be lifted before the first frosts, so that means usually October.

  1. Watch for yellowing leaves. From September, the leaves on your tuberous begonia will begin to yellow. This is the trigger to reduce watering.
  2. Cut back the top growth on your begonia to about an inch.
  3. Remove your plant from its pot and loosen its soil with your hands. Work the soil off gradually until you find the tuber at the center of the clump.
  4. Remove the tuber and place it on a frost-free surface for a day to dry slightly.
  5. Pop your begonias in a paper bag and store them there through the winter. (You can also store begonias overwinter in very moist sand or soil, but personally, I find that this takes up too much space.) Begonia tubers do not need exposure to light during storage.
  6. Store your begonias at cooler temperatures (at a minimum of 45˚F or 7˚C). If you don't have a greenhouse or shed, you can bring them into a cool room in the house.
  7. Check your begonias regularly, especially if they're in a paper bag, to ensure that they don't dry out too much. If they are starting to shrivel, water them slightly.
  8. In spring, pot up your begonias in fresh compost and look forward to another summer of colorful plants.

Happy growing!

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© 2021 Rachel Darlington

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