Begonias are a classic potted plant for both indoors and outdoors gardening. With their glossy, waxy leaves and colourful blooms, they’ve been popular since the Victorian era, both in container plantings and as annual bedding plants. However, since they are actually tender perennials, they can be overwintered indoors to bloom again another year!
When grown as annuals, potted begonias will last until the first frost. They may take several months to bloom when started from seed or leaf cuttings, which is why most gardeners buy plants that are ready to flower. Once they start, they bloom almost non-stop, and non-tuberous varieties will keep that up if brought indoors for the winter.
How to Care for Potted Begonias?
- Plant begonias in a loose, well-draining soil mixture.
- Water when the top inch of the soil has dried out.
- Feed twice to three times a month with a liquid fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength.
- Keep the pots in a spot with morning and late afternoon sun, but shaded at midday.
Can Begonias Survive the Winter in Pots?
Begonias are tropical perennials, so unless you live in a region where temperatures stay above freezing all winter, you will have to bring them inside until the spring.
If you are growing fibrous-rooted, or wax, begonias, they will continue to flower through the winter months indoors. Tuberous begonias, however, naturally become dormant in winter, with their foliage dying back. You can either keep the tubers in their pots in a cool, frost-free spot over the winter, or lift the tubers and store them in a paper bag.
Potted Begonias Temperature Tolerance?
Potted begonias will thrive in temperatures around 72°F (22°C), and anything below 50°F (10°C) will result in damage to the foliage and flowers. In really hot weather, keep them in the shade, and bring them indoors when temperatures start to drop in the fall.
Do Potted Begonias Come Back Each Year?
Because begonias are tender perennials, they will bloom again if protected indoors over the winter, but the plants do not tend to last longer than about 2 or 3 years. However, it is easy to propagate new plants from leaf cuttings, so you will be able to keep your pots full of blooming begonias indefinitely!
When Should You Plant Begonias in a Pot?
If you are growing tuberous begonias, plant the tubers in pots in late winter or early spring. Use a loose, well-draining soil mix with lots of perlite or vermiculite. These rainforest natives are used to a soil that stays moist but never soggy.
How Long Do Potted Begonias Take to Grow?
If you are growing wax begonias, they keep their foliage and often bloom throughout the winter indoors, but tuberous begonias will need 5 to 6 weeks before fresh shoots appear, and then a couple of months after that before they start blooming.
How Long Will Potted Begonias Last Inside?
Potted wax begonias are one of the most reliable houseplants, lasting for a few years with proper care, and blooming throughout the year. They will do even better if they are moved outdoors for the hot summer months; just be sure to keep them in a shady location.
What’s the Best Way to Start Potted Begonias?
It is possible to grow both wax and tuberous begonias from seed, but they are one of the most difficult plants to start this way. They need to be started as early as January to ensure blooms in summer, and the seeds.
If you want to grow just a few begonia plants, you’re better off buying plants at your local nursery; if they’ve started blooming, you’ll be able to select your favourite colours.
However, once you’ve bought those plants, you’ll be able to propagate lots more from cuttings or division. With wax begonias, you can take leaves and cut them into wedges, ensuring that each piece has a vein, and tuck them into a moist soil medium. Alternatively, simply cut a stem below a node and set it in a jar of water.
Using either method, they should root within a month.
With tuberous begonias, you can take leaf or stem cuttings, or cut a root into chunks, ensuring that each section has at least one eye, similar to a potato. Plant each piece out separately in its own pot. It should start to sprout foliage within a month or two.
Beautiful and long-flowering, begonias are an ideal container plant in summer. Even better, wax varieties will keep blooming indoors all winter, and tuberous begonias can be stored until the next spring for another long season of brilliant blooms!
See how long other potted plants last:
- How Long Do Potted Azaleas Last?
- How Long Do Potted Petunias Last?
- How Long Do Potted Dracaena Last?
- How Long Do Potted Coleus Last?
- How Long Does Potted Creeping Jenny Last?
- How Long Do Potted Tomato Plants Last?
Janice is a retired High School teacher who is spending her leisure years keeping busy with all sorts of projects. Aside from freelance writing, she’s an enthusiastic amateur chef, home wine maker, and tends a large raised-bed vegetable garden, while at the same time running a Bed & Breakfast.