UACES Facebook Begonias


October 24, 2015

QuestionOn October 3, a reader asked about overwintering angel wing begonias. Yes, they do look very pretty right before the first hard freeze. But they drop flowers every day, which is a real pain when they're in the house. I finally realized I am MUCH happier buying new ones in the spring than cleaning up after them all winter


AnswerThe same thing could be said for Boston ferns, tropical hibiscus and others.  But for those who don’t mind vacuuming, the plants should be inside now.  If you wait until a killing frost, they will shed even more, since they will have been exposed to some pretty low temperatures


(October 2015)

Question My dragon wing begonia has done the best I think it has ever done.  The plant is huge and covered in blooms.  I do not have access to a greenhouse, but I would love to keep this plant for next year.  I just can’t bear the thought of it dying with a frost.  Is there anything I can do? It is in a large pot and I could get my husband to move it inside if you think it will live.



I have one that is pretty too, but I don’t think you would have great results all winter, but if you want to try, go for it.  Move it into a cool room with bright sunlight.  Move it in early October if you are going to attempt to grow it as a houseplant.  You want the inside and outside temperatures to be about the same when you move it to make the transition easier.  One other option that I think would probably work better is to take some cuttings.  Begonias root extremely easy and you could take 10 or more cuttings, and start new plants, which would give you some new starts next summer.  Cool rooms and bright light would work here as well. The reason I opt for cooler rooms, is the lack of humidity inside is hard on plants.  In warm dry rooms it is tougher on plants than in cooler locations.    Good luck!  If all else fails, you can buy a new plant next spring!



December 2012

Question I took stems from an angel wing begonia and placed them in water and put them in sunlight on the window sill. As I hope, white thread-like roots have now developed. What do I do now? The obvious answer seems potting soil, but I am not sure. Please advise.

Answer Angel wing begonias root readily, and while many gardeners like to watch the roots develop in water, I always prefer to root them in soil. That being said, you need to plant yours in soil now. If there are a lot of roots, don’t cram them down in the potting soil, but lightly spread them out and fill in with fresh soil. Water well but don’t keep the soil too wet. Angel wing begonias will grow tall and leggy if you don’t pinch out the centers occasionally to get bushiness. When you do pinch out the center, you have a new start for another plant.

Question I overwintered several pots of wax leaf begonias. They did fine, and bloomed virtually all winter. Now they are way too tall and thin, but still blooming. Is there any way to get them to fill out and still enjoy the flowers?

Answer I would sacrifice a few blooms now, in the hope of gaining more this summer. Clip off the spent flowers, and prune the plants back by one third to one half (depending on how tall they are). Then replant the part you cut off, by sticking them down into moist soil. Not only will your mother plants begin to fill out, but the tops should root, and you have doubled the number of plants. They should be in bloom before you know it.

August 2010

Question In the early summer I purchased two pots of the dark large leaf begonia plant. They were so pretty but have only gone backward since purchased. They wilt and rot at the soil line. What can I do? Thanks for any help you can give me.

Answer Rex begonias are fabulous foliage plants and there are so many new varieties that it is hard to resist them. I love the 'Escargot' variety and am growing it with good success this year. The key is to keep these Rex begonias in the shade--avoid direct afternoon sun at all costs. They can be quite susceptible to crown rot if they are in heavy soil or are kept too wet. If you have them in containers with other plants and you are watering a lot, that could be an issue. They would prefer to dry out in between watering. Plants wilt if they are too wet, just like they do if too dry. If they have crown rot, the damage is usually at the soil line, cutting off the supply of food and water to the tops. Cut off the damaged tissue and try to reroot the top portion. Hope this helps.

 October 2005

Question I have several plants that I would like to keep over the winter. Mosquito plant, Mexican heather and begonias. Are any of these winter hardy in central Arkansas? If so, what can I do to get them through? If not, how can I over winter them inside? Also, do I need to cover my gardenia bush for the winter and if so what is the best material to use for cover?

Answer Except for the gardenia, none of the plants you mentioned are reliably winter hardy in central Arkansas. Mexican heather and some begonias have managed to survive a few of our winters, but you shouldn’t count on it. To guarantee these plants back in your garden next season, you will need to either move them indoors or take cuttings for new starts. I would advocate the latter, if these plants are in the ground. The mosquito plant—a scented geranium is not going to make it, even with extra mulch, so move it indoors or store it in your garage. For the Mexican heather and begonias, after taking some cuttings, add extra mulch when the weather turns cool and see what you have next spring. Gardenias only need protection if the weather gets below 15 – 20 degrees. If needed, cover with something porous—a sheet, blanket, or cardboard box.

 September 2006

Question This is the first year for my Dragon Wing Hybrid begonia and it is quite large and very beautiful. Is it possible to winter this plant? What could I do? I live in Cherokee Village.

Answer The dragon wing begonia is a phenomenal summer annual, but it will not over winter outdoors. You have two options to help it survive. One is to dig it up and put it in a pot indoors for the winter, or an easier choice is to take cuttings and root some new plants. Either way, give it bright light indoors for the winter, and cut it back if it gets leggy.

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