How To Overwinter Sparks Will Fly Begonia Indoors In Iowa

Filed Under: Annual Plants, Techniques & Methods, Growing Basics · Keywords: How To, Overwinter, Begonia. Sparks Will Fly, Indoors, Iowa · 2633 Views
I had great success with this plant over the growing season and have brought this pot in from the cold. I would love to see it again next year and wanted to know if I can overwinter it and what is the best method to do this?

Thanks - Krista

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Answer #1 ·'s Answer · Hi Krista - I grew some of the Sparks Will Fly Begonia in containers on my back deck last year (2013). They are very attractive plants! Didn't try to save mine because I grow too many plants...over 170 container gardens. I don't know all the details about Spraks Will Fly but do know it has a tuberous parent, Begonia boliviensis, which could make them a little more difficult if not impossible to overwinter indoors. I just never checked to see if the plant had regular roots or tubers (elongated bulbs). If Sparks Will Fly has tubers, as with other tuberous begonias the plant would require a complete dormancy period in order for it to survive long term. Maybe you can dig down in the soil to see if you can find what types of roots the plant has. If just regular roots, as cane begonias have, you might be able to keep them going if you can provide them with enough light and keep the soil moist but not wet throughout the winter. You could also try to rooting some cuttings that you can set outside next year.

I uploaded a picture of a sketch of a plant tuber.

If the plants are tuberous you need to begin in fall by reducing the water to the plants until the tops have died back and the soil is completely dry. Once the plant has gone completely dormant you can remove the tuber from the soil. The tuber is usually found where the stems meet the ground. Carefully clean off the tuber of soil and old roots and store in a warm dry location over the winter. In early spring you can plant the tubers in a pot filled with a good potting mix and set them in a windowsill where they won't get too cold. Plant the tuber so that the upper surface is even with the surface of the soil in the pot. You can water them with a solution of light watersoluble fertilizer. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. When you see new stems emerging keep the soil consistently damp, but not constantly soggy, which can rot the tubers. I'd suggest a 4 or 5 inch size pot to start the tubers in.

All this is a little too much trouble for me so I just buy new plants every season. If you try, do let us know if you were successful or not. Also let us know if you find that the Sparks Will Fly Begonia are tuberous or have regular roots.


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Answer #2 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Krista-The Sparks Will Fly (cultivar 'Brothglow') is a deciduous tuberous perennial. Researching the patent (US PP23,447 P2 Mar. 5, 2013) on this plant I found the root description to read: Fleshy to fibrous with tubers produced for overwintering. It supposedly is possible to overwinter this plant in your home but only with perfect conditions. As Brent mentioned this is almost impossible growing indoors during the winter. If infact the plant did produce tubers the best course is to let the plant follow its natural cycle of dormancy and restart them again in the spring as Brent noted. Following Brent's instructions for digging up and storing your tubers in my opinion, with what research I did, will give you the best chance for regrowing this beautiful begonia next spring.

Hopefully this has helped.


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