begonia frosty

Begonia Frosty: Two Cold-Tolerant Species And Varieties

Although the begonia actually likes it warm, there are also winterproof varieties that survive our winters. We present two frosty begonias. In summer the exotic Begonia is beautiful to look at. But if you don’t take the trouble to dig them up again in winter or bring the pots into the house, you can start buying new plants every spring. But a few begonia species and varieties will survive the winter with a little luck and the right protection.

Are There Frosty Begonia?

The term “frosty” does not really apply to begonias. They are a genus of plants that have chosen the warm tropics and subtropics for their life. At most on the mountain tops, frost or snow can be seen from time to time, but begonias do not go that high up. Only very few species can cope with light frosts. The Japanese slate, for example, is native to the mountainous countries west of Beijing.

There, the temperatures fall more often below 0 °C in winter. The species Begonia panchtharensis, which originates from the Himalayas, can also survive our winters well protected. Presumably, some species unknown to us, that could survive Central European winters, still live in Asia’s mountain-regions. Who knows, maybe we will be in for a surprise or two in the coming years and decades?frosty-begonia-japanese-square leaf

Two Frosty Begonia Species And Varieties

The Japanese sample leaf is a beautiful perennial for the garden. It knows how to transform even shady areas under trees or shrubs into beautiful places. With a height of 60 centimeters (in exceptional cases even 80 centimeters), it reaches a stately height. After the winter, the begonia sprouts again at the end of May in order not to be exposed to late frosts.

The flowers also appear late in the year from August onwards, but then continue to beautify the garden until autumn with their delicate white and pink tones. The leaves, on the other hand, have a strong green color on the upper side and are streaked with red veins. The red underside of the leaves is in contrast to this.

The species has different subspecies and varieties:

  • Heron’s Pirouette: Between 60 and 90 cm high, the variety ‘Heron’s Pirouette’ grows. It has large leaves and numerous pink flowers.
  • Sapporo: this variety has deep pink flowers and can grow up to 80 cm high.
  • Evansiana: this very well known subspecies of the Japanese slantle leaf has light pink flowers and can reach a height of up to 80 cm.
  • Claret Jug: This variety has the strongest leaf coloration of all Japanese slate leaves and grows up to 70 cm high.
  • Marie: The variety ‘Marie’ remains small with a height of about 40 cm.
  • Grandis: The subspecies grandis is extremely vigorous, but does not grow higher than 70 cm.
  • Alba: The variety ‘Alba’ is something special with its pure white flowers.
  • Sinensis: The subspecies of the Japanese slate leaf grows only about 30 cm high. It has smaller leaves, but a more upright growth habit. The pink flowers appear in July.
  • Red Undies: This variety has a particularly intense red-colored underside of the leaves.

The species Begonia panchtharensis originates from the Nepalese part of the Himalayan Mountains. Its leaves have a completely different shape than those of most begonias. They are deeply indented and grow up to 60 cm long.hardy begonia-light pink flower

In fact, they are probably more reminiscent of the leaves of giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) than those of a begonia. However, it can be recognized as a begonia from July onwards with its delicate pink flowers. The species is considered relatively hardy and can survive frosts down to -9 °C.

Begonias Overwinter

Even the so-called frosty begonias need sufficient frost protection. These species are not really hardy. Quickly a winter in the USA, Germany, Austria, or Switzerland becomes colder than -10 °C. In order for the plants to survive the winter anyway, they should be given a warm coat of brushwood, leaves, and mulch. In autumn, the above-ground parts of the plants die off and they retreat underground.

Then it is time to cover the plants thickly. In rough locations, however, even this is often not enough. Then you should dig out the plants after the first light frost and winter them in a pot between 3°C and 10°C in the house or garage.

The Japanese slanting leaf develops breeding buds, so-called bulbils, in its leaf axils. These also often survive the winter when the mother plant dies. In spring, small, young slanting leaves grow everywhere where the bulbils have fallen down. If you want to make sure that the bulbils survive, you should also collect some in autumn and winter in the refrigerator. In March then you can prefer the small round buttons in the house.

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