Overwintering begonias in a sunroom - my first year doing so!

bettylu_zone6aFebruary 1, 2010

Last fall I posted a question regarding overwintering begonias in my barely heated sunroom and I wanted to let you all know how they were doing.

This sunroom has a baseboard heater that just keeps it above freezing when it it extremely cold, and obviously the solar gain during the sunny days brings the temps up to a much warmer level. When I use the sunroom, I can turn on the fireplace to immediately bring up the temp to a comfortable level, but that hasn't been too often so far this winter.

The far right of the linked picture has my begonia "Last Laugh" (on the pedestal) which has had no leaf drop at all - it just lost a few tiny tender baby leaves, but that may have been because I let it get a little too dry one week.

Just above the back of the couch, you can just see the tops of "Black Coffee" and a noid with burgundy leaves. The one that is struggling the most, is my rex, but it didn't look the greatest going into the winter.

I am hopeful that now that we are getting longer days that I will actually see some growth on the smaller ones. The "Last Laugh" begonia is actually so big (over 2' across) that I am going to have a hard time keeping it on my very small front porch next summer without bumping it. I don't know if I can split it - I have never had a begonia grow as vigorously as this one and I don't know what to expect if I try to pry apart the roots to split it. Is this safely done?

I am thrilled that I haven't lost any yet - we have had a pretty cold winter here in St. Louis and seeing how well everything is doing in spite of the bitter cold is really encouraging! I expect it helps the plants that the 8' baseboard heater is about 2' below all the plants along the south facing window - so I am sure the heat rising keeps a bit of a micro-climate of above freezing levels right there.

Any experts out there who have suggestions about repotting or dividing begonias - feel free to comment. Keeping such nice, large houseplants over the winter is somewhat new to me - I have been more of a backyard shade garden person so far.

Thanks!

BettyLu

Here is a link that might be useful: My overwintering begonias/others in the sunroom

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hcmcdole(z7)

Looks good BettyLu,

You have many ways to divide a large begonia - split it up by pulling it apart or use a sharp knife to cut it in sections. You can also start new plants by cuttings from long wayward stems and leaf cuttings from rhizomatous begonias which Last Laugh is. Use a humidity cover to start new plants and pure perlite is an excellent media to start cuttings in.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 7:20AM
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bettylu_zone6a

I am going to try the cuttings soon, I am hoping they will root quickly so that I can share them with friends! I also read the post about the tuberose begonia propagating and the article was great, with a lot of good information!

Does anyone know how long it takes to get a cutting to a size that you can pot up and share (where it looks like anything, anyway!)? Would it be of a size after two months where you could see the leaf patterning?

BettyLu

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 10:57PM
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hcmcdole(z7)

If you had great growing conditions then two months should be enough but if you are like most folks growing indoors then two months might be hard to have a nice plant to share. I wouldn't keep to a time schedule in this case.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 3:46PM
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doughahn

Dear BettyLu..

Just a quick note. I'm a member (since 1978) of the American Begonia Society living in Saint Charles, Missouri. There is a small group of us locally just now starting a branch here in Saint Louis. i thought you might be interested. i will be sending out an e-mail newsletter shortly, if you are interested. Or you can ask specific questions, if I can be of any help,

Doug Hahn
3156 Flatboat Station
Saint Charles, Missouri 63301-4699
doughahn@aol.com
Cell (636) 233-1772

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 7:54PM
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