Bonfire begonias in winter

(Question)

Do I need to lift the bonfire begonias in my outdoor garden for the fall and keep the tubers cool and dry until next spring? Or can I re-pot them inside and keep them going all winter?

(Answer)

It is possible to keep begonias going indoors over the winter, but it is very difficult to acclimatize them and keep light and humidity at ideal levels for them to thrive. So most gardeners dry and store begonias (the exception is wax begonias which are much more forgiving) for the winter.

Your begonias can be dug up in fall once the foliage has faded or just after the first light frost. Spread the begonia clumps on newspaper and leave them in a sunny spot for about a week until they are completely dry. Cut off any remaining foliage and gently shake off any soil still clinging to the tubers.To prevent problems with fungus or powdery mildew while wintering your begonias, dust the tubers with sulphur powder before you put them away. Store the begonia tubers individually in paper bags or place them in a single layer on newspaper in a cardboard box in a cool, dark, dry location. Make sure you do not store them in plastic. They need to breathe and stay completely dry.