With their exciting varieties and vivid colors, Begonias make excellent houseplants. Plant lovers enjoy growing them in summers as the conditions are suitable then.
When winter comes, your Begonia flowers can begin to wilt. It is because they are susceptible to cold. However, you don’t have to toss them out. I’ve found some ways of keeping Begonias safe over winter.
How Do You Keep Begonias Over Winter?
For storing Begonias over winter, remove them from their pots and chop most of the leaves off. Dry the tubers for some time by spreading them on a newspaper. Afterward, you use paper bags to store them. For some Begonia varieties like Wax Begonia, you don’t have to take any extra steps. Bringing the pot indoors in a warmer area for the winter will keep them happy.
Why Keep Begonias Overwinter?
If you are a Begonia fan like me, chances are you are planning to grow them for years. After all, their delightful scent and colorful flowers are irresistible.
Sadly, Begonias are not the most resilient plants. They don’t have much chance to survive harsh weather on their own.
Over the years of working with Begonias, I’ve found that keeping them over winter is very economical. You won’t have to shop for any expensive equipment. As a plant grower, you will already have the necessary things at home.
The best part is that once the winter is over, you can regrow your plants. Having to buy new Begonias for every season is heavy on the pockets.
If you like their intriguing varieties, they will be even more costly. In worst-case scenarios, your local gardens may run out of your favorite Begonias.
So, you will be doing yourself and your Begonias a favor by protecting them over winter. You will also get to witness a regrowth of your hibernating plants.
As someone who is fascinated by plant cycles, I find their rebirth very interesting.
What Happens to Begonias if You Let Them Be in the Winter?
Some people prefer to let their plants grow naturally. It is not the best thing for your houseplants because many of them are not very tolerant.
Some Begonias will go dormant in the winter. You can also think of it as hibernation. Their foliage and stem will likely fall off.
Other Begonias can’t cope like that. Their soil will grow cold as days pass. Begonias need warmth to stay healthy. So, without that available in the winters, they will suffer. The coldness of the soil can hurt their roots.
If you water your Begonias, their roots may not be able to absorb that water. The pot can flood, and water will pool around the plant. It increases the risk of root rot.
If you have icy winters, it will also affect your Begonia’s tissues and cells. Each of their cells has fluids that keep them active.
This cell sap can begin to freeze. It also has mitochondria, chloroplast, and other components. When these structures stop working, your plant won’t feel right.
Your Begonia won’t be able to prepare food through photosynthesis. It will soon run out of energy. One morning, you may find that all its leaves are wilting. Ultimately, it will die.
Luckily, you can steer clear of all these problems by storing your Begonias overwinter.
What is the Best Time for Keeping Begonias Over Winter?
The best time for you can vary based on where you live. If you live in places with Northern climates, you want to store your Begonias at the first light frost. You can confirm this by looking at local weather predictions.
But for plant lovers in Southern climates, there is no such hurry. You won’t have to be too worried about storing Begonias unless the weather is colder than usual in a given year.
Otherwise, you can just take your Begonia pots inside when you feel the days grow colder.
Details for Keeping Begonia Varieties Over Winter
Here are some practical tips for keeping your Begonia varieties overwinter.
- If colder months are approaching, you want to water your Tuberous Begonia less over time. It is because their growth slows down in winters.
- When you experience the first light frost for the season, your Begonia will change. Its foliage can fall or become yellow.
- Firstly, pull your Tuberous Begonia gently out of its pot. Make sure you remove the sticking soil.
- Take a newspaper and spread your tubers on it. Please space them out.
- Leave them to dry in the winter sun for at least a week.
- Now, they are ready for storage. I use sulfur powder for some of my plants as it helps them avoid fungus. Some people prefer powdered fungicides. You can also use these on your Begonias.
- Next, place each Begonia plant in a different paper bag.
- You can store these in a cardboard box at a cool place. But make sure that it’s not freezing there. I’d say the ideal temperature would be 40-50 °F (4.4- 10°C).
If you grow Wax Begonias, you don’t have to store their tubers in paper bags. There are some other ways that can keep them safe over winter.
- If your Wax Begonias are blooming in your garden, you want to bring them indoors. It is wise if you do this right before winter arrives.
- Before you move them, examine the leaves and stem closely. You want to check for any signs of pest infestations or fungal infections. It is essential because you may have other houseplants indoors.
- Next, you can gently remove the plant from the garden. If the roots seem deep inside, use a knife around the base. It will make it easier to dig.
- Disinfect a suitable pot, as you would while repotting I use brushes to clean my wooden pots.
- Use peat moss or a well-balanced soil for your Begonias.
- You can take the pots inside when it is done. Store it where it gets some winter sun.
- Remember to only water it occasionally.
Angel-Wing and Dragon-Fly Begonias
Though these Begonia varieties don’t look the same, they have similar needs. They have increased light requirements compared to any other Begonias I grow.
You should also bring their pots indoors when you experience first light frost. It’s critical because they won’t go dormant. So, leaving them outside (even if they are in a garden) can kill them.
They stay happy when the air is slightly humid. In winters, they also need light feeding. Because they are used to the sun, I’d recommend placing them next to your window. East-facing windows are great for bright, indirect sunlight.
How to Reuse Begonias When Winter is Over?
You can revive your Begonias when spring arrives. I restart my Begonias in February so, by the time June arrives, they are blooming. If it is still cold in February and March, make sure you wait till the air feels warm.
For your stored tubers, you want to prepare a shallow container. It should have loose and well-drained, nutritious soil. Plant your Begonia tubers there, and water them lightly. They stay happy in partial shade and slightly moist soil.
For potted Begonias indoors, you can start by giving them filtered sunlight. It will help them cope with new weather conditions. Later on, you can plant them in the garden again.
Soon, your Begonias will be thriving.
Frequently Asked Questions about Overwintering Begonias
How can I make sure my Begonias don’t get sick when I store them overwinter?
Using some fungicide or sulfur on your Begonia tubers will help them stay healthy. You should also periodically check on them to see how they are doing.
What if I leave my Tuberous Begonia outside in the winter?
It is frost-sensitive and will go dormant. You should place it indoors if you wish to grow it again.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.