Store begonias properly to ensure plenty of flowers next year.
image by Patrycja Cieszkowska: sxc.hu
Begonias thrive in a shady areas of the garden where other flowers may not be able to grow. The long-lasting blooms come in a large array of colors including pink, orange and yellow. They bloom with single or double flowers. In areas where winter temperatures dip below freezing, begonias must be dug up over winter and placed somewhere warmer. Begonia bulbs, actually a tuberous root, go dormant regardless of the outside temperature, but long frosts will kill them in the ground.
Stop applying fertilizer by the end of August to begin forcing bulbs into dormancy. Reduce watering and remove any flower bulbs by the end of September.
Allow the leaves to yellow and die on their own, usually after the first hard frost. Avoid removing the leaves prior to this stage, as they are needed to collect energy for next year's blooming.
Cut the stems to five inches in length once they have yellowed. Use a pruner or a sharp knife.
Dig up the bulbs. Dig around the bulb five inches from the stem, and then lift out of the ground. Avoid cutting or bruising the bulbs when digging.
Lay bulbs to dry on newspaper inside and out of direct sunlight until the stem becomes brittle. Gently pull the stem off the bulb and brush off any soil.
Fill a box or bag with vermiculite or peat moss. Store in a cool, dry place between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit until spring. Garages, enclosed porches or basements may be ideal.