Begonias produce abundant blossoms in shades of yellow, red, salmon, orange and pink that appear singular, ruffled or double. The plants thrive in shady locations where other plants often fail to grow. The plants are small and compact so they easily grow in containers or hanging baskets. The begonia enters a dormant period during the wintertime. The tubers are not hardy and must be lifted to store until the following spring.
Choose a planting location in the shade or partial sun. The soil should have adequate drainage. Begonias will grow in a wide range of soils but prefer a high organic content. When planting begonias mix ample amounts of aged manure and peat moss into the soil.
Plant tubers in May when all danger of frost has passed. Plant the tubers with the hollow side facing up. Place only 1/2 inch of soil over the top of the tubers.
Keep begonias moist but not water-logged. Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the plants or over the planted tubers to help keep the root system cool in the summer, keep the soil moist and keep weed growth back.
Fertilize the begonia every two to three weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer. Apply according to the directions on the label. Sprinkling bone meal on the newly planted begonias also helps add nutrients to the soil.
Reduce watering and cease fertilizing begonias the end of August to force the plants to enter dormancy. The foliage of the begonia will begin to yellow and die. Gently dig the tubers up and prune the foliage back so only 5 inches remain protruding from the tuber. Allow the tuber to dry out indoors out of direct sunlight. Pull the dead foliage away from the tubers as it dies.
Store the begonias in bags filled with peat moss or vermiculite. Place the bags in a dark location where the temperature hovers between 40 to 50 degrees F. Check the tubers monthly for signs of rot or decay. Discard any tubers that appear unhealthy so the other tubers are not infected.