How to overwinter tuberous begonias

Updated February 21, 2017

Tuberous begonias are delightful and versatile summer bloomers. Available with colourful blooms in hues ranging from soft pastel pink and lavender to vivid reds and purples, tuberous begonias never fail to leave their mark as border plants, in flower beds, patio pots or hanging containers. Although tuberous begonias are perennials, they aren't cold-tolerant and will be killed if they're left in the ground for the winter. To save the tuberous begonias for another growing season, store them indoors.

Dig up tuberous begonias after the first frost turns the foliage yellow. Leave a small amount of soil clinging to the tubers. Using garden shears, trim the foliage down to 2.5 cm (1 inch) long.

Remove any soft or rotten areas with a sharp knife. Spread the tubers to dry in a cool, well-ventilated place such as a garage, storage shed or basement for two to three weeks.

Brush the remaining soil off the tubers and remove any remaining stem. Any stem or foliage that remains can cause the begonia tubers to rot.

Place the tubers in a paper bag with a small amount of powdered fungicide, and shake the bag to coat the tubers. Always use fungicide strictly according to the directions on the packet.

Place the tubers in a cardboard box filled with dry sawdust or peat moss. Store the begonia tubers where the temperature will be maintained between 4 to 10 degrees C (40F to 50F). Don't allow the tubers to freeze.

Replant the tuberous begonias in spring, after all danger of frost has passed. Plant the tubers where they will be sheltered from strong wind and exposed to morning sunlight, but protected from afternoon heat. Before planting, work 7.5 cm (3 inches) of compost or decomposed manure into the top of the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Garden shears
  • Sharp knife
  • Paper bag
  • Powdered fungicide
  • Cardboard box
  • Sawdust or peat moss
  • Compost or decomposed manure
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About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.