Begonias, although often sold as half-hardy annuals, are mostly perennials. The tuberous (and rhizomatous) varieties can be over-Winter for progressively better results year after year. Fibrous rooted groups such as ‘wax begonias’ and ‘Angel’ or ‘Dragon’ winged varieties can be pruned into a manageable shape and taken into the house to serve as a pot plant during the colder months.
Many Begonias have tuberous rooted perennials. Unfortunately, the majority of varieties are incapable of surviving the Winter, here in the UK. 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 occasionally 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.