How to Grow Begonias
There’s nothing quite like begonias for brightening up a shady spot. With flowers in a
dazzling range of shapes, sizes and colours, they’re perfect for filling pots, hanging baskets
or gaps in borders. Easy to grow, happy in shade and drought-tolerant, begonias are perfect
for any garden.
When your plants arrive
Unpack your plants immediately and check the compost to ensure it has not dried out in
transit. Water with a fine spray, or sit the plants in a tray of shallow water if the compost is
Pot on plants as soon as possible (preferably within 24 hours) after they have had time to
Potting on and planting out
- Handle each plant by the plug root ball, rather than the stem to avoid damage.
Pot each plug into a 7.5cm (3in) pot using a good multi-purpose compost or a
Grow on for a few weeks in a greenhouse or a bright, frost-free place, but avoid
Keep moist but do not over-water. If very cold weather is forecast, cover with a layer
Once there is no more danger of frost, the plants can be moved to their permanent
Harden off your plants before planting them out by placing the pots outside during
the day and bringing them back in at night. After 7-10 days, the plants will be ready
to plant out.
How to care for begonias
Plant in partial or dappled shade in well-drained soil or a good multipurpose
- Water regularly, but allow the soil to dry out between waterings to avoid root rot.
- Feed fortnightly with a high-potash liquid feed such as tomato feed.
How to protect begonias over winter
Tuberous begonias (these tend to be the ones with large, showy flowers) can be
overwintered in a similar way to dahlias.
- Stop feeding in late August and reduce watering
Once the first frosts have blackened the foliage, cut back the stems and dig up the
- Place the tubers in a dry, frost-free shed or greenhouse for a week or so to dry off
- Once the tubers are dry, store them in trays of sand or wrap them in newspaper.
- Keep them somewhere cool, dry and frost-free over winter.
In spring, pot the tubers up into pots filled with moist multipurpose compost and
grow on in a warm place until ready to plant out again after the last frosts.
Pests and diseases
Begonias may be prone to the following pests and diseases. Read more about how to
control common plant pests and diseases here.
- Vine weevils
- Powdery mildew