How you can Overwinter Begonias | Gardener’s Path


A single phrase on a begonia label may trigger you to overlook out on a lovely discount: annual.

Most begonias are generally thought of annuals and new begins could also have a tag that describes them as annuals at field shops or native nurseries.

However they’re really perennials grown as annuals. When you preserve that in thoughts and have a tendency to them correctly, they’re a dependable supply of free bedding crops for future seasons and indoor colour in winter.

A close up vertical image of tuberous begonias in full bloom in a pot indoors. To the top and bottom of the frame is green and white printed text.

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Many gardeners trash these Mom’s Day hanging baskets or mass plantings of wax begonias at season’s finish on the similar time after they’re pulling up zinnias and different summer time annuals.

However you already know what? You don’t should.

Chances are you’ll be gardening outdoors of the areas the place begonias are hardy: USDA Zones 9 to 11 for tuberous (B. x tuberhybrida) sorts, and Zones 10 to 11 for wax (B. x semperflorens-cultorum) varieties.

However you’ll be able to nonetheless convey crops or tubers indoors for the winter in colder areas. Have a tendency them fastidiously for just a few months and also you’ll have bedding crops or tuberous begins able to go within the floor within the spring, without having to purchase new ones.

One other species, the tuberous B. grandis, or hardy begonia, grows as a perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 9, so gardeners in elements of the Midwest, Southeast, and Northwest are capable of preserve this sort alive in winter within the floor or in a container.

Winterizing isn’t ordinarily as a lot of a difficulty for the rhizomatous and rex begonias grown as houseplants, although you may often see them within the perennial panorama in Florida or different elements of Zones 10 to 11.

You’ll find extra info on caring for these in our information to rising rex begonias indoors.

On this information, I’ll give attention to winterizing strategies for wax, hardy, and tuberous begonias grown open air. Right here’s what to anticipate:

Planning for the Chilly

Don’t consider winterizing these crops as an emergency response.

It’s one thing you intend as you design your backyard and plant, not a last-minute race to pull pots into the storage and throw sheets round when snow is forecast that night time.

A close up horizontal image of snow on wax begonia plants.

One essential a part of this planning is understanding the USDA Hardiness Zone to your rising space and whether or not the begonia you’re rising is hardy there.

The Begoniaceae household consists of dramatic tropical beauties, candy little bedding crops for cottage gardens, and tons of of different various ornamentals.

When you stay in a hotter local weather in Zones 9 to 12, you might be able to develop no less than one kind open air year-round in a backyard mattress or container.

However those that stay in Zones 6 to eight should plan both to develop a hardy begonia, raise tubers to retailer, or dig up crops with fibrous roots from the bottom to overwinter in containers indoors.

Even hardy begonias can’t stand up to winter climate in Zones 3 to five, so gardeners in these areas should go for rising these crops as annuals, after which bringing the tubers or crops indoors for the coldest months.

Be sure you establish your chosen selection early on to satisfy its particular wants for winter.

It’s additionally vital to acknowledge dormancy habits so that you don’t assume a dwelling plant has died on you, or a malingering plant is wholesome when it’s not.

Tuberous begonias, for instance, go dormant in winter even indoors, and drop their leaves and die again. Wax begonias have fibrous roots and will accomplish that nicely indoors that they not solely preserve their leaves or develop new ones, they proceed to bloom.

Hardy begonias planted open air will die again naturally in Zones 6 to 9. When you plan to overwinter them in pots in colder areas, you’ll have to trim the stems again your self.

Plan lodging for any that should overwinter indoors nicely forward of time.

A horizontal image of potted begonias in full bloom on a windowsill with snow on the ground outdoors.

There’s no level saving these ornamentals for subsequent yr in the event you can’t present the correct humidity, gentle, water, and temperature in your house or any outbuilding the place you intend to stash them till subsequent spring.

Put together a spot with optimum publicity forward of bringing any stay wax begonia crops inside.

You’d be amazed at how few locations you might need out there for a plant that requires respectable humidity and vivid, oblique gentle, so begin trying earlier than you really need that best location.

You’ll additionally have to winterize earlier than it’s too chilly to your chosen kind, so word when such climate usually arrives in your gardening journal or set a textual content reminder in your mobile phone.

Additionally go away time to schedule an inspection of any crops you intend to guard for the winter. Search for pests like spider mites, mealybugs, or scale, and proof of illnesses together with root rot.

If a pest inhabitants or injury is found but it surely’s minimal, remove the issue earlier than you take the time to winterize.

When pests are proliferating or crops are unhealthy, destroy these specimens, skip winterizing, and discover new choices for the subsequent rising season.

When you’re accomplished planning, right here’s the best way to full winter preparations for the varied forms of begonias:

Deliver Wax Begonias Inside for Winter

Outdated-school however ever-popular wax begonias are one of many best mass-planting flowers to overwinter and develop once more subsequent yr.

They’ll develop as perennials in Zones 10 and 11, however these gardeners in Zones 3 to 9 should present them with a winter house in the event that they’re anticipated to outlive climate colder than about 60°F.

A close up horizontal image of a gardener pruning begonias growing as houseplants.

Put together for the transition by lowering irrigation by half beginning in late summer time. By late August, stop fertilizing.

Rake plant particles from the backyard mattress or choose useless leaves and weeds from container-grown crops. The very last thing you need is to convey bugs or fungal ailments inside with the crops.

To ease their transition to a brand new indoor setting, pinch the stems again to a top of about three inches. Some old-timers additionally pinch all of the flowers in late summer time, however I’ve discovered it’s sufficient to deadhead any which have turned brown.

Container-grown out of doors crops can transfer inside of their out of doors pots in the event that they’re not too heavy and you’ve got someplace to set or dangle them. Guarantee they’ve drainage holes on the backside and a saucer to catch extra water.

In the event that they’re rising in a backyard plot or panorama, you’ll need to transplant them into light-weight, shallow pots full of a sterile, well-draining potting combine.

Bear in mind, whereas they want humus-rich soil to help in drainage, they don’t want fertilizer in the course of the winter, so keep away from premade mixes that comprise time-release fertilizer.

Dig up the crops earlier than you anticipate temperatures under 60°F to reach, and repot them on the similar stage they had been within the floor, backfilling with contemporary potting combine.

Once they’re indoors, the crops require plentiful oblique gentle. Direct daylight will scorch the leaves, so keep away from that.

Water sparingly in winter, solely when the soil is dry to about an inch and a half under the floor, which you’ll test along with your pinky or a soil moisture meter. If unsure, skip the water since these ornamentals are notably susceptible to root rot from overwatering.

Throughout the winter, preserve the crops wholesome by constantly deadheading the blooms, eradicating useless leaves with a pointy, clear paring knife, and instantly eradicating any plant particles from the soil floor to discourage illness.

These ornamentals don’t like transitions (I can relate!), so ease their stress by introducing them to new situations progressively.

Begin with just a few hours a day within the new location, whether or not shifting the plant to a hotter indoor spot in autumn or a cooler out of doors spot in spring.

Add an hour or two per day till per week has handed. By then, your begonia needs to be acclimated.

Study extra suggestions for rising and caring for wax begonias in our information.

Save Tuberous Begonias for Subsequent Yr

Their inexperienced foliage is so sprightly and people double-bloom rosettes so fairly that after all, we’d all wish to convey B. x tuberhybrida inside for the winter.

However this selection would solely have a brief life as a blooming houseplant in chilly climate. It goes dormant as the times get shorter, whether or not it’s out within the winter climate or not.

A close up horizontal image of potted plants ready for overwintering in a greenhouse.

As a budget-stretching various, dig up and retailer the tubers in the course of the chilly months. Then use them to start out new crops you’ll be able to transplant outdoors in spring.

To organize tuberous begonias for winter storage, scale back water to 1 / 4 of the standard quantity and cease fertilizing in late summer time, about eight weeks forward of the typical first frost date in your space.

Plan to raise the tubers just a few days after the primary frost in your space however nicely earlier than the bottom freezes. Be sure you take away useless leaves, weeds, and every other plant particles so that you gained’t be inviting fungi or bugs to overwinter with the tubers.

Use a trowel or small spade to dig up the crops, tubers and all.

Gently shake all however a skinny coating of soil unfastened from every tuber.

Depart the stems hooked up, however trim them to be an inch lengthy.

Let the tubers “treatment” in a cool, dry area like a shed or storage for a few weeks. This enables them to dry, in order that they’ll keep contemporary in storage.

You’ll know that they’re prepared when the remaining stem stubs are unfastened and dry.

Then mud off any soil that’s nonetheless holding on with a superb paintbrush or clear toothbrush, and nestle the cured tubers into a few inches of sawdust or a peat various in a cardboard container. I like to make use of shoeboxes, or one thing of the same measurement.

A close up of a bag of Burpee Vermiculite isolated on a white background.

Vermiculite

Natural vermiculite is my prime choose for indoor gardening initiatives like this one. Pure horticultural vermiculite is accessible in eight-quart luggage from Burpee.

Cowl the tubers with one other inch of sawdust or vermiculite and stow the field someplace that’s reliably 40 to 50°F.

They need to be superb till you might be able to replant them open air or begin new crops from the tubers indoors. However do test first to verify the tubers haven’t grow to be overly moist, mushy, or odiferous, and destroy any which might be.

Some of us like to make use of a separate small paper bag to comprise every tuber, so if one goes unhealthy it gained’t have an effect on the others and could be readily disposed of.

To study extra about propagating tuberous begonias from tubers, see our information.

Put together Hardy Begonias for Freezing Climate

Hardy begonias provide gardeners in Zones 6 to 9 an opportunity to develop these crops open air year-round.

They’re hardy all the way down to about 23°F, although a protecting mulch could also be wanted to assist them by way of the winter within the coldest Zones inside their vary.

A horizontal image of pink hardy begonias in a garden border.

The guts-shaped leaves are beautiful even with out blooms, however additionally they produce clusters of aromatic flowers in white or shades of pink.

They’ve a beautiful trait of blooming from midsummer by way of late fall and are successful with pollinators.

As the times get shorter in autumn, they start to go dormant, with the primary signal being yellowing leaves.

The cool factor about these is that in dormancy, they type pea-sized bulbils that can drop to out there soil and sprout into new hardy begonia crops come spring.

When you like, you’ll be able to harvest these bulbils your self and plant them the place you’d wish to see extra begonias.

Hardy begonias have tuberous roots however the overwintering course of isn’t the identical as you’d use for much less cold-resistant tuberous sorts.

To assist them thrive in dormancy, ensure that to weed across the crops, deadhead spent flowers, and apply a heavy layer of mulch to any you might be holding within the floor within the weeks main as much as the typical first frost date in your space.

You can even dig them as much as overwinter in containers in a frost-free shed or storage, or wherever that’s cool however not freezing.

Lower the stems to face 4 inches above the tuberous roots first, and raise them from the soil the identical approach you’d wax begonias.

Word you gained’t be rising these as houseplants inside within the winter. They gained’t bloom indoors when the times are quick and can nonetheless go dormant.

Container-grown B. grandis can merely be moved immediately into your chosen cool-but-not-freezing spot after the primary frost, however be sure you mulch the crops closely first.

Come spring, out they go, however solely after per week or so of hardening off of their pots.

A Winter Break with Begonias

I’m a fan of holding begonias alive over the winter in order that they’ll develop once more subsequent season, and never solely as a result of I like a discount.

A close up horizontal image of bright red wax begonias growing in the garden.

Tending these flowers all yr lengthy offers me extra alternatives to grub round within the grime, and I’m delighted to have a bit of the backyard stored inside beneath my watchful eye within the gloomy months.

Have you ever had the pleasure of defending a begonia from the chilly so it may survive the winter? We’d admire studying about your expertise or suggestions within the feedback part under.

We’ll additionally reply ASAP when you’ve got a query about overwintering these varieties that you simply didn’t see lined on this information.

For further methods for winterizing flowers, learn these articles subsequent:

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