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Wax begonias and tuberous begonias

  • Annuals, perennials and bulbs
Begonia tuberosa 'Fortune Pink'
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Lise Servant)
Begonia tuberosa 'Fortune Pink'
  • Begonia tuberosa 'Fortune Pink'
  • Begonia tuberhybrida



Origin and description

Various new cultivars, the result of decades of hybridization, are compact excellent bloomers. They are grown as annuals in northern gardens.
30 cm
Height: 30 cm

Semperflorens-cultorum (or wax) begonias are sturdy bloomers with green or bronze-tinged foliage. New cultivars produce clusters of large white, pink or red flowers on plants 60 to 90 cm high.

Tuberous begonias produce tubers. They naturally lose their leaves and have a cold winter dormancy period. Their many single, semi-double or double, pendent or erect flowers may be two colours or plain white, cream, yellow, orange, pink, apricot, salmon, bright red, dark red or burgundy (e.g.: Begonia Nonstop™, Begonia Dragon Wing™, Begonia Illumination Series, Begonia 'Ikon Blush White'.

Common name

Wax begonias and tuberous begonias

Latin name (genus)

Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum, Begonia x tuberhybrida

English common name

French common name

Botanical family

  • Begoniaceae

Growing conditions

Begonias should be grown in sun or partial shade in cool, well-drained soil.

Storing and restarting tuberous begonias

In fall, once the leaves have been hit by frost, cut the stems back to within a few centimetres of the soil and dig up the tubers. It is important not to clean off the tubers when you dig them up, to avoid root rot. Leave them to dry in a cool (4 to 10ºC), dark and well-ventilated spot for two months. Then clean off the tubers. Remove the dried soil, roots and stems. Store the tubers in boxes filled with a mix of dry sand and/or vermiculite until early March. Check them regularly to make sure that they haven't withered or rotted.

In spring, to restart the tubers, fill a tray with damp soil and set the tubers upside down (hollow spot on the bottom) on top of it, to reduce the risk of rotting if moisture gets into the hollow. Keep the temperature at 10ºC for one week to allow the tubers to rehydrate. Then gradually raise the temperature from 17 to 24°C over the next 2 to 3 weeks. Keep the soil surface damp by misting it with water frequently. Once a good number of roots have appeared, repot the tubers in their normal position (hollow upward). Cover the top of the tubers with 0.5 cm of soil.

Once shoots start to emerge, move the pots to a cool spot (14 to 17°C) with a minimum of 14 hours of bright sunlight every day.


See also

Pests and diseases
Physiological disorders

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