Storing tuberous begonias and caladiums, pot and all

linnea56(z5 IL)November 7, 2010

An idea:would this work?

I brought my deck pots inside about two weeks ago, that contain tuberous begonias and caladiums. The caladiums died back a few weeks earlier: the first cold seems to have sent them into dormancy. Now the stems have dropped off almost all the tuberous begonias and they are ready to dig up.

But do I need to dig them, at all? The combination worked so well ; I would just replant them in the same way next year, anyway. Can I just store them in my cool dark basement (sump pump closet), planted in the pots as they are, pot and all?

Or do they both need a different sprouting up process in the spring? Thanks!

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denninmi(8a)

I am storing virtually ALL of my tender bulbs in this way now. Unfortunately, I've gotten to the point that I've got about 60 pots of various sizes, some as large as 20" in diameter, AND a small house, so it's a bit of a challenge getting all of those down into the basement. But, I've gotten creative and found nooks and crannies for them.

IMO, it is by far a superior way to store them. Not only is it less work overall than digging and storing, I think that they store far, far better this way. I rarely lose any to any kind of rot or disease issues over the winters. I don't water any of the at all, yet nothing shrivels up and dries out as can happen when digging and storing.

I don't see any problem with the caladiums and begonias being in the same pot, either -- they both need pretty much the same cultural conditions -- coolish (say 60-65 degrees) dry storage in the winter, and warm, moist, semi-shady growing conditions.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 6:36PM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

I don't grow caladiums but it definitely works for the begonias. You can either refresh the mix when you see those little pink buds starting to show (usually there are only old roots left and they come off with a gentle scrub from an ancient toothbrush. Beware of the fleshy extensions of the tuber, though.) Or you can leave them in a bigger pot and simply 'topdress' with new mix once the leaves are further through.

Definitely agree that most of the tubers make it through. Proviso: some of the very small first season tubers may dry out and not make it through. Some of those bought in punnets right at the end of the season.

In this zone it's "safe" to leave them in the garden bed over winter - until the rabid gardener turns up with a new treasure and spears the dormant tuber. Baaad. :-(((

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 3:58AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Thanks! A couple have dropped their stems and are ready for storage now. I am keeping all of them in a disused bedroom, with heat off, until they are ready to go in the yet cooler, dark basement. Maybe the cooler temps in the bedroom there are helping the process. This will save me so much time!

While checking on them today, I noticed that a few have resprouted tiny leaves! Does this mean it is still too warm there, and they are getting confused? Do I need to put them outside for a day, to scare them with the cold into going to sleep? Or will the dark basement be enough to get the message across that itâÂÂs time to rest?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 12:06PM
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goren

The tuberous kind of begonia should be allowed to be touched by frost...a killing frost that does in their foliage. At that time you then remove the foliage and dig up the bulb, let them dry for a day or so in your garage or shed, then store them in your cool basement, away from light, away from heat, away from water. Make a note of which end is UP...store them in a way you know which is which.
Then in March, bring them out and you can put them ontop of the refrigerator--there they might begin to grow a root.
Whatever, pot them up, just barely under the soil surface...their tips might even be seen, water them, give them sunlight and pretty soon a little bit of fuzz shows on the surface....it might look like like mildew...but its not...its the bulb beginning to grow. Keep the soil damp...but not wet.
Tuberous begonia is one of the slowest forming bulbs and it might be June or July before they come to sizable growth and bloom.
The bloom they produce is worth the wait.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 4:37PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I do not have begonias but the caladiums I store in the pots. I have been doing pot storage for 2 years. Never lose any that way.

This year I topped them off with fresh soil next year I will dump them when they start growing and change the soil.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 8:54PM
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denninmi(8a)

I haven't crossed the Rubicon of fresh soil in the pots yet. The very first ones are probably going on five years now in the same pots with the same soil. The worst thing I've noticed is with the Cannas being very crowded, but they grow and bloom beautifully. Luckily, I potted those in some very strong fiberglass type pots, otherwise I suspect they would have broken the pots by now. They are really packed in there, and form new rhizomes on the soil surface.

I do give these pots a lot of liquid fertilizer all season, as well as a generous helping of Osmocote, so I think this helps. But yes, I know that many of them should be divided and replanted in fresh soil. Maybe this spring.

My problem there will be what to do with all of the offsets, I really can't come up with any more storage space, I'm really pushing the limits now.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 4:14PM
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denninmi(8a)

I haven't crossed the Rubicon of fresh soil in the pots yet. The very first ones are probably going on five years now in the same pots with the same soil. The worst thing I've noticed is with the Cannas being very crowded, but they grow and bloom beautifully. Luckily, I potted those in some very strong fiberglass type pots, otherwise I suspect they would have broken the pots by now. They are really packed in there, and form new rhizomes on the soil surface.

I do give these pots a lot of liquid fertilizer all season, as well as a generous helping of Osmocote, so I think this helps. But yes, I know that many of them should be divided and replanted in fresh soil. Maybe this spring.

My problem there will be what to do with all of the offsets, I really can't come up with any more storage space, I'm really pushing the limits now.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 4:15PM
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