The Q&A Archives: begonia kaylen blooming period and care in Seattle

Question: Since it's too late to plant the begonia kaylen right now, should I put the plant in my garage in the winter and plant it next March? Any care instructions while in the garage? Will it survive in the garage without a tuber? I have the 1 gallon pot, so I don't think there is a tuber there. Am I right?

Also, is the answer for the blooming period from actual experience or from a reference book or website? The Seattle nursery that I bought this plant said they bloom from June until frost, so they probably have some misinformation.

You asked:

I got conflicting information on the blooming period for the begonia

Your answer:

In the Seattle area, Kaylen begonia will bloom late summer until frost (August, September and October) in most years. Plant early in the year so the roots have a chance to establish and develop a tuber so it will survive over the winter months.

Answer: Kaylen is a reasonably recent introduction so your local nursery may be correct about the bloom period; an established plant will bloom earlier in the year than one that's still in the juvenile stage. If your garden warms up early in the spring, I suspect the begonia will bloom earlier for you. Since gardens have their own microclimates, the plant may perform differently for you than for someone else gardening in greater Seattle. If you brush away some of the soil you'll probably see a tuber. If so, you can withhold water to allow the tops to die down, then store the tuber in the garage. If you find no tuber, keep the plant alive by taking it indoors until you can plant it outdoors, or sink the pot into the ground in a protected place and allow it to winter over outdoors.

Kaylen hails from the University of Georgia where it was trialled and presented to Terra Nova by Alan Armitage. In Athens, the plant endured zero degree winters and hot sticky summers.

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