The Q&A Archives: Begonias

Question: I have some kicking begonias, can I bring them in for the winter, and any special instructions?

Answer: The genus Begonia contains hundreds of species and thousands of cultivars, all grown for their beautiful flowers. (Sorry, not a 'kicking' begonia in sight!) Begonias generally fall into one of three major groups; fibrous-rooted, tuberous-rooted, or rhizomatous - each with different habits and needs.

Tuberous begonias need to go through a resting period before they can bloom again. Wait until the stems have fallen off the plant on their own, then lift the tuber, shake off dirt, dry the tuber in the sun for 3 days, and store in a cool dark place such as a garage. When little pink buds become visible in the spring, plant them in pots and begin watering them.

Wax begonias can be grown as a houseplant over the winter. Simply place them in a bright spot, keep soil reasonably moist, and they will continue to grow and flower all winter. You can trim them back anytime--they are vigorous growers.

If you have regular bedding plant begonias (fibrous rooted), put them in the sunniest window possible in your house or under grow lights, pinch back the stems as they get leggy and the plant should flower into the winter for you. Reduce the watering and fertilizing to a minimum during the winter. Begonias can easily rot if overwatered this time of year.

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