Can I overwinter this begonia?

lschibleyOctober 17, 2009

I guess the first question is, is this a begonia? You can see it between the pink impatiens and the yellow-green coleus. From Sept 27 2009

I received it as a tiny plant in the spring and it has been a show stopper all year. It's so healthy looking, even after our first light frost, that I am starting to think I wan't to save it, but I have no idea how. Can any one offer detailed directions? Please keep in mind that I have NO houseplant ability or experience. Do I repot it? Feed it? Not feed it? What kind of soil do I use? I do have a south facing window, would that be appropriate it? If anyone can offer suggestions, I would be grateful for the help. Thanks!


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Well, the flowers look like some kind of semperflorens begonia (wax begonia). You can winter it over by placing it in a sunny warm location or under lights. Let it dry some between watering. You can also take cuttings and start those for more plants (they root easily). Use a quality potting mix and you should be okay. A lot of potting soil has some slow release fertilizer in it and that should be fine to start with.

One thing I noticed on some semperfloren begonias indoors is they might get powdery mildew. This usually occurs in damp, cool conditions so if you can eliminate that you should be okay. If you can't then you might have to spray with some kind of fungicide (Neem oil is one option).

Once you move them back outdoors for summer they regain their beauty once again.

Here is my extra large blooming semp.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 10:00PM
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Thank you so much for the reply. I hope you don't mind a few more questions...Should I cut it back at all? Do I feed it through the winter after the initial repotting? Do I need to do anything else when I bring it in? Thanks again!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 11:53AM
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You don't have to cut it back at all but most times that encourages new growth and you get a chance to make new plants for a bit of insurance in case the mother plant dies (it has happened to me many times).

You don't have to feed it in winter as generally they need a rest. If it is actively growing then a slow release might be helpful.

Just clean it up when you bring it indoors - remove sick, old leaves, litter, look it over for pests, etc.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 12:04PM
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ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)

Where abouts should you cut to promote new growth?

My begonias, will post picture tomorrow, are planted in a huge planter with ground cover (didn't know at the time)completely over growing my begonias and spider plantlets. I live in Texas and this week is suppose to be in the mid 70's. Should I just leave them outside or should I dig them up and plant indoors?

My grandma gardens everyday, she told me the begonias will die and to just buy new ones next year. I would rather overwinter them but not sure what i should do?


    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 4:19PM
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Are they semps? If so, you can cut them back fairly hard. I have not cut any back to ground level but have cut them to an inch or two. You may be able to grow them outdoors year round depending on how cold it gets there (I had the one shown above come back after last winter). For insurance you can root the cut tops and grow them indoors for winter.

I'm with your grandmother when it comes to some begonias - treat them as annuals. If your begonias are hard to come by, then try to save them if you can. If they are common then compost them and buy new ones the next year.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 7:49PM
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ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)

Hcmcdole, here are a couple photos of my Begonias. Do they look like Semps? Let me know what you think I can do. And if I should prune it, where would be best? All the way to the soil?

I have them in a big pot with 2 spider plant babies (planted early spring '09)and ground cover that is taking over the whole pot!

Also this next photo is of begonias in my pool courtyard. Just thought I'd show. Too beautiful!


    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 1:08PM
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Yes, those are semps (short for semperflorens (always flowering) aka wax or fibrous rooted begonias).

I would cut them back to the first node or two but not all the way to the ground unless you want to take a chance. You should save a few tops (trim these kind of short too) and root them for a bit of insurance. Usually the tops will make a better plant in the long run.

Here is a pot of semps I saved from last year via cuttings. They looked like crap all winter but once moved back outdoors they regained their health and beauty. Of course the other begonias around them make them look kind of small.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 7:55PM
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ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)

Thanks for the help! Beautiful begonias by the way! :)


    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 5:34PM
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