When the first autumnal frost kills the flowering stems, the pots with the tubers should be transferred indoors, the tubers dug up and placed in a dry and cool spot for some time. The moment we can easily break the old stems away from the tubers means that we must do it. And having done that, we can store the tubers over the winter in paper bags filled with dry peat or sawdust, in a cool and well ventilated room, making sure that no mice know about the storing place.
Who does not want to worry about greedy mice, correct temperature and humidity can choose an easier option and buy healthy tubers in garden centres, ready to be planted. It takes some time for the tubers to wake up after a long winter dormancy, so February or March seem to be a reasonable time option. You still can plant the tubers in April but the first magnificent flowers will appear, of course, later and there is no point in waiting that long, is there.
We can put the purchased or saved tubers with their hollow tops up in a shallow flat and cover them with with a 2-3 cm (1in) layer of moist compost. Water regularly but do not expose them to direct sunlight as begonias prefer diffused light. When the plants reach 8-10 cm (3 in.) high we can repot them into bigger containers filled with rich, porous and moist potting mixture. Water the plants regularly but let the soil become slightly dry on the surface before the next watering. Under no circumstances should we forget about watering in summer as even a short period of drought can irreparably ruin the whole plant. Tuberous begonias require sheltered locations, and occasional support, especially the upright cultivars with gigantic flowers.
If we do not like to deal with reluctant tubers, we can always switch to seeds, but this suggestions comes with a caveat: that begonia seeds are smaller than the grains of fine sand and you must be a monk blessed with limitless patience and unusual dexterity to deal with the minute seedlings those mini-grains sprout into. The best sowing time is just now, so who dares?
As I mentioned before, the cultivars of tuberous begonia come in all sizes, shapes and colours except blue. The upright ones look great in pots or in flower beds. The hanging basket strains should be planted in...hanging baskets or tall pots to make it possible for the multiple stems to show off. And they know what it means to show off.
The music accompanying today's post was composed by Biber, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, a Bohemian-Austrain composer in XVII century, not a contemporary artist whose name looks almost identical but should not be confused with the former one.