Begonias, although often sold as half-hardy annuals, are mostly in fact, perennials. The tuberous varieties can be over-winter for progressively better results year after year.
As you may know, I do love Begonias and every summer my garden is full of these colourful and varied flowers.
I especially prize my collection of tuberous rooted varieties, such as Begonia ‘Apricot Shades’, ‘Non-stop Mocca’, ‘Aromantics’ and trailing varieties such as ‘Cascading Picotee’ and Boliviensis.
Many Begonias have tuberous roots which means that they are actually perennials, but unfortunately incapable of surviving the damp and cold of the UK winter. They will require a period of dormancy in a cool, dry place. The main benefit of storing tubers is that you not only save having to buy new plants in the spring, but every year the tuber increases in size and so does the plant that comes from it!
Protecting Begonia Tubers
Overwintering Begonia tubers is quite simple:
- Dig up the entire Begonia plant with foliage still attached before the hard frosts set in, ensuring that the tuber is not damaged in the process.
- Cut away with a sharp knife, any disease parts of the tuber.
- Leave it to dry in a frost free and sunny place for about 1 week.
- Remove the foliage by gently teasing the stems from the tuber.
- Clean away any excess soil or compost.
- You may dust your Begonia tuber with sulfur powder to guard against rot.
- Store tubers in a cardboard box, space them evenly apart and put them in a dry, frost-free and dark place until spring and then plant as normal.
I like to occasional check my Begonia tubers during winter to ensure they are still dry and rot-free. I tend to remove any that aren’t to prevent the risk of infecting other tubers.