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Monday, July 31, 2023

2 Years Later and My Begonia Plant is Going Strong

How was your weekend? I hope you enjoyed some time off. We've had beautiful weather, so I made sure to have lunch outside each day. Anyway, I wanted to update you on my budget begonia basket from 2021.

I bought this tuberous begonia bulb for $3.50 in spring of 2021 to plant in a free-pile hanging basket. When fall rolled around that year, I discontinued watering, allowed the foliage to die back, and moved the bulb, pot and all, into our garage for the rest of fall, all of winter, and early spring. In mid-spring, I brought the pot back out to the deck and began to water it. After a few weeks, some new growth emerged from the soil. We enjoyed the large white begonia blooms all summer. When fall of 2022 rolled around, I repeated the process to ready the plant for winter storage again. This past spring, I brought the pot out and began the watering routine. So far I have 6 blossoms in some state of blooming. I also have about 8 stems with leaves on the plant.

Here's a photo from the original plant in 2021. It was a nice, but small plant for this basket that summer, only providing about 4 blooms total. Last year the plant was larger with more blooms and leaves. And this year, the plant is filling the basket even more.

To overwinter begonias, the plant needs to be prepared by decreasing watering at the end of season/beginning of fall until the point the leaves have withered. Before the low outdoor temperature drops below 50 degrees F, the dry plant needs to be moved to a cool, not cold, and dry location, like a garage or cool room of a basement. Some folks dig the bulbs out of the soil and store them in a dry medium like vermiculite. I've found simply allowing the plant to die back and the soil to dry thoroughly is enough for my situation to overwinter in our cool, but not freezing garage.

When spring 2024 rolls around, I'll bring the potted begonia back out to the deck and start the watering routine up again. I hope by next year I have even more blooms on this plant. 

My original cost was $3.50. With 3 years of enjoyment so far, my cost per year averages out to a little over $1. That's a bargain for so much beauty and so little work.


  1. That's so satisfying when something outlives its expectations. When we lived in Houston, our begonias in the ground went through the same process as you are doing in your garage. We planted them once and they came back every year.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      You've lived in a couple of warm-climate locales. You must've been able to grow quite a variety of plants. Has there been a particular plant that you could grow in one of your former gardens/yards that you can't grow now where you are but wish you could?

      And yes, this has been satisfying. Most folks in my area treat begonias as annuals.

    2. I miss the big, lush lantana plants we used to have. It was warm, but it was also hot! So in the summer, many of the plants were just barely hanging on until it got a little cooler. That was especially true with many traditional vegetables.

    3. Hi again Live and Learn,
      I had to look up lantana. They look very pretty and colorful. I can imagine the summer heat could be too much for many plants. I once read about making submerged or sunken beds for hot climates to take advantage of the naturally cooler level of soil a few inches deeper than found with standard gardening.
      Thanks for answering my question.

  2. So pretty! My in-laws do the same with their begonias. I should ask them how many years they get out of their plants.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I would be very interested in knowing how long your in-laws can keep their begonias going, if you happen to remember sometime when visiting. Good to know others are having success with this, too.


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