Begonia bonfire beginning to sprout..

usha_srinivasan(z5/6 SE MI)March 23, 2012

I overwintered my begonia bonfire in the basement after it lost all its leaves in the fall and to tell the truth forgot all about it. Until, last night I saw that it now has two very spindly tall stalks and even a couple of flowers !

Should I decap the stems, take it outside and start watering it now ? Should I repot ? I bought this plant at Lowe's last summer and under benign neglect it proceeded from being a dense well flowering plant to an anemic sparse one. I think it was Al who adviced me to overwinter the tubers (they are still in the original soil). It did survive the winter in my basement so maybe it is hardier than it looks.

Any advice on next step ?



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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)


If you haven't already, you might try posting to the Begonia Forum. That forum doesn't get as much action but maybe someone who grows tuberous begonias will see it and help.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 9:12PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

I found this post on the Begonia Forum which addresses your problem. You could also try searching that forum with the keywords "leggy" and/or "tuberous" and find other methods.

Good Luck,


Here is a link that might be useful: Begonia Forum Answer

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 9:18PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hi, Usha. You've got some really cold weather coming, after all this beautiful weather we've had this past week. I've been on vacation doing bonsai repots all week & am brown as a berry already from the sun. All my trees were coming on at once because of the heat, so it was sort of an emergency.

You can move it outside into the shade when temps are above 45*, but you need to protect it from chill. My plan would be to get it some good light indoors so it can reacclimate to brighter than basement light levels and dampen the soil until it gets a little stronger, then remove all the old soil, prune the roots, and repot into fresh soil for the new growth cycle. That's how you'll get the best performance from your plant.

I don't know what you're using for a soil, but the ingredients for the 5:1:1 mix are readily available to you.

Best luck, neighbor!


    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 11:15AM
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usha_srinivasan(z5/6 SE MI)

Thanks Al,

I have moved the bonfire begonia by my patio door to get them acclimatized to bright light. Frost predicted for tonite so
will wait and see how the weather changes. Its been crazy hasnt it ? All my spring bulbs are in full bloom and the redbuds will flower any moment !
I even have marigold re seeding itself from last year.

I have the ingredients for the 511 mix but had to discard the mulch after it got infested by fungus gnats.
The gnats however are still thriving in my house but that is another story :)
I managed to get a few of my plants repotted in the mix before this happened and they are thriving in my basement under lights.

What do you think about repotting the begonia in a mix of turface and perlite ? Else I can try to get fir bark mulch.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 12:58PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Since your begonia is going to need repotting every spring, I'd head over to the closest Bordine's Nursery/Greenhouse & pick up a bag of Royal Gardens Pine Bark Mulch - clear bag with blue labeling, some perlite, and some peat or potting soil to make the 5:1:1 mix for your outdoor plantings.

If you want to make the gritty mix, you can easily screen the PBFs from Bordine's. If you want to substitute perlite for the grit, use

3 parts perlite
2 parts screened bark
1 part screened Turface

If you want to use grit, I can tell you where to get it in either Adrian or Dexter.

The weather HAS been crazzy. I have all sorts of stuff up in the gardens that don't usually come on until mid-late Apr. I had all of last week off & it was shorts & tank tops until Fri when it cooled off a little; tonight it's supposed to go down to 24 - go figure.

Best luck!


    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 7:46PM
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