Wax begonias

mytime(3/4 Alaska)September 17, 2011

I was wondering if anyone has kept wax begonias in a dormant or semi-dormant state over the winter by placing them in a refrigerator. I know you can take cuttings to propagate them, or I could just repot for in the house, but I travel a lot in the winter and only keep houseplants that can tolerate weeks of dryness and then bounce back after a week of watering. So no begonias for a houseplant.

I have some from a mixed pot that I really like, so would like to try keeping them for next year.

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If you have an unusual wax begonia you'd like to propagate for next year, you could try growing cuttings (or a small heavily cut back plant) in pots in a high-top plastic dome. You might be able to keep the soil moist inside one of these for a few weeks while you're away. The better domes have adjustable ventilation and cost about $7-8 each. They fit over standard-sized plastic flats.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 10:35PM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

Thanks for the idea, Eric. It's been years since I used anything like that, and I should definitely go back to it. I certainly have nothing to lose.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 1:54AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I hope you'll try the frige experiment also, and let us know what happens.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 11:26AM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

I will. When my son moved this summer he didn't want to take his old "garage" frig; DH remembered that I had complained that our garage was too warm for storing my dahlia tubers and that I was going to look for a free frig on CL, so he brought it home for me. A full sized frig! For nothing but my gardening stuff! So in addition to dahlia tubers and some tender bulbs, I'm sticking in geraniums, fuschia, and I'll try 2 of the wax begonias. I might find some other stuff to try, too, as I clean up the flower beds.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 1:25PM
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The fibrous rooted or 'wax begonia' here last for years through winter temperatures in the mid twenties. Touring France a few years ago we were pleased to see them frequently used in 'roundabout' plantings where care is very minimal. Al

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 9:21AM
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I've been overwintering a wax begonia someone gave me for a few years now. I save one to keep on a bookcase next to a lamp(with a compact flo bulb). It tries to put out small flowers occasionally through the winter, but I pinch them off. The leaves get lush and it makes a nice houseplant. In the spring I split it into 3 or 4 plants and use them in different areas.
Maybe you could keep a pot of it and try a wicking watering system while you travel. I haven't tried it myself, but here's a link to wicking info on the African Violet forum via a search on the Houseplant forum...HTH

Here is a link that might be useful: wicking info

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 1:39PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Al - the French roundabout plantings would not be left out over the winter. They are summer bedding plants. Usually Begonia semperflorens are grown from seed every year for this purpose.

mytime - you say "I travel a lot in the winter.." I don't blame you ;) Zone 3/4 brrrr.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 2:29PM
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