Hanging begonias are not hardy. Because the picturesque flower cascades sprout from perennial tubers, you can overwinter the magnificent balcony flowers. Read this guide to learn how to overwinter hanging bulbous begonias in hanging baskets and balcony boxes.
Are hanging begonias worth overwintering?
The most beautiful hanging begonias come from the stunning Tuberhybrida series (Begonia × tuberhybrida). Due to their tropical origin, the colorful flowers are extremely sensitive to frost.
Thanks to their robust tubers, hanging begonias can still reach a proud age. Overwintering hanging begonias is always a worthwhile project for hobby gardeners. Read the instructions below to find out how.
Preparation begins in the fall
If your hanging begonias are still in full bloom in September, start preparing for the upcoming winter. With this modified care program, you can prepare the slate leaf plants for the move to their winter quarters:
- Do not fertilize hanging begonias from the beginning of September
- From the beginning of autumn, gradually water less
- Stop watering in mid/end of October
The aim of the preparation is that the above-ground parts of the plant move in good time before the first frost. This process is important because valuable nutrients are transferred to the tubers as an energy reserve for the next year.
Cut hanging begonias, clean, sort out
Unlike dahlia bulbs, tuberous begonias do not tolerate frost at all. Hanging begonias should not be abused with temperatures below 8° to 10° Celsius (59-64 F). Before moving to the winter quarters, drawn-in shoots and adhering soil must be removed. Here’s how to do it competently, step by step:
- Cut tendrils back to 2-3 cm (0.7 -1.17 inches)
- Take the begonia tubers out of the substrate
- Brush off tubers
- Cut off the roots with disinfected bypass scissors or a sharp knife
- Dust cuts with wood ash or rock dust
Discard any tuberous begonias that are damaged, have rotten spots or are infested with pests.
Store and overwinter hanging begonias – tips
The tubers of trailing begonias overwinter in a dark, dry, and cool place. The balcony plants make similar demands as deciduous flowers. The tubers should not lie around openly. The following tips provide practical information on how and where to store and overwinter the tubers of begonia:
- Wrap bulbs in newspaper and place on a wooden shelf
- Store in a box with sand, sawdust, or unfertilized coconut soil
- Overwinter in a wicker basket filled with straw
As winter quarters for hanging begonias, we recommend a windowless, frost-free room with temperatures around 8° Celsius (46 F). The basement, garage, garden shed, or attic are shortlisted. Under these ideal conditions, all bulbous flowers from distant lands like to keep company during the winter, such as dahlias, canola, or magic flowers.
For trailing begonias, hibernation ends in February. The bulbous begonias can easily be pulled forward on the windowsill for an extra-long flowering period on the balcony.
A night in lukewarm water or camomile tea awakens the floral spirit. Pot the tubers about three centimeters (1.17 inches) deep in a loose substrate with the concavity upwards. Pour in soft water, put on a transparent hood, and place the pot in a bright, warm window seat.