Are Begonias Perennials or Annuals? Care And Overwintering Tips

Whether begonias are perennials or annuals might be a confusing question for gardeners. With their vivid colors and distinctive leaves, these lovely blooming plants have won many people over. But depending on a number of factors, such as the environment and the particular type of begonia, their lifespan and behavior might change.

In this article, we will delve into the world of begonias and explore the perennial vs. annual debate. We’ll talk about the numerous types of begonias, their development patterns, and the various factors to take into account while growing them as annuals or perennials, depending on the type. By the end, you’ll have a thorough grasp of begonias and be prepared to choose how to cultivate them.

Are begonias perennials or annuals? The answer is both. Begonias can be either perennials or annuals, depending on the climate and the specific type of begonia. Begonias are perennials in hot regions, such zones 10 and 11. They are able to flourish as delicate perennials in zones 9 and 10. However, most places grow begonias as annual blooms in the spring.

Annual vs. Perennial Begonias

To better understand the perennial vs. annual nature of begonias, let’s take a closer look at these two terms and how they apply to these plants.

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Annual Begonias

Annual begonias go through their whole life cycle in only one year. They begin as a seed, develop, bloom, make seeds, and ultimately perish. Usually planted as bedding plants, these begonias provide a burst of color and beauty throughout the summer. To guarantee a timely and colorful show, gardeners often buy young seedlings or start seeds inside.

Perennial Begonias

On the other hand, perennial begonias have the capacity to reappear year after year. There is a type of begonia that behaves like a perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 9. Begonias are perennial in certain zones, however it’s vital to keep in mind that they are not winter hardy and cannot endure freezing.

Types of Begonias

Let’s examine the many varieties of begonias before we delve into the technicalities of growing begonias as annuals or perennials. It would be easier for you to pick the right types for your garden if you are aware of their traits.

Tuberous Begonias

Begonias with fleshy tubers and spectacular blooms are known as tuberous begonias. They thrive in a little shade and produce enormous, colorful flowers. Most gardeners regard tuberous begonias as annual flowers since they are not always winter resistant.

Rooted Begonias

The lovely foliage of rooted begonias, commonly referred to as fibrous begonias, makes them desirable. They give aesthetic appeal to any garden because of their wide range of forms and hues. Begonias with roots may withstand colder conditions better and can be overwintering inside to increase their lifespan.

Tuberous Begonias vs. Rooted Begonias

Let’s compare the characteristics of tuberous begonias and rooted begonias:

Characteristics Tuberous Begonias Rooted Begonias
Type of Propagation Tubers Cuttings
Flower Size Large Small to medium
Flower Colors Varied Varied
Foliage Green Varied
Winter Hardiness Tender Tolerant
Lifespan Annual Perennial

Now that we’ve explored the different types of begonias, let’s dive deeper into the factors that influence their growth and determine whether they can be cultivated as perennials.

Are begonias perennials or annuals?


There are various cultivars with different traits and growth patterns within each type of begonia. Let’s examine two noteworthy cultivars that are often mentioned while talking about perennial begonias in more detail.

Begonia grandis ‘Alba’

Begonia grandis ‘Alba’ is a gorgeous cultivar with lovely heart-shaped leaves and small, pink blooms. Zones 6 through 9 may support this perennial begonia, giving gardeners in those areas the chance to enjoy begonias year after year. Alba is renowned for its tenacity and capacity to self-sow, giving gardens a native appearance.

Begonia grandis ‘Torsa’

With a growth pattern like that of “Alba,” the notable cultivar “Begonia grandis “Torsa” is also remarkable. It has striking silver-patterned leaves and lovely pink blooms. If you live in zones 6-9, ‘Torsa’ is another perennial begonia that may provide enduring beauty to your landscape.

Are there perennial begonias?

Let’s discuss the question of whether perennial begonias really exist now that we’ve looked at their many types and cultivars. Yes, but only in certain hardiness zones can they survive the winter and come back the following year.

Certain begonia species and cultivars may display perennial behavior in zones 6–9, where the environment is warmer and the risk of frost is reduced. The severe winters in zones 5 and below, however, prevent gardeners from growing begonias as perennials.

Overwintering Begonias – Begonias in Winter

There are numerous techniques for overwintering begonias for individuals who live in climates where these plants cannot survive the winter outdoors. Let’s look at the many strategies you may use to protect your cherished begonias.

Leaving Them in the Ground

It is feasible to leave some begonias in the ground in areas where winter temperatures don’t drop too low. Begonia grandis cultivars and other hardy begonias that can endure colder temperatures are best suited for this strategy. To protect the plants’ roots and crowns from excessive cold, it is necessary to provide enough protection, such as mulching.

Growing Begonias in Pots

Growing begonias in pots is an additional method for storing them for the winter. Begonias may be moved inside when winter approaches if you put them in pots. To guarantee the longevity of the potted begonias, place them in a cool, bright spot, such as a sunroom or a window with good lighting. During the dormant season, don’t forget to alter watering frequency and cut down on fertilizer treatments.

Digging Up Begonias for Storage

Digging up your begonias before winter and storing them in a dormant condition until the next growing season is an option if you prefer a more hands-on approach. To begin, gently take the plants from the ground while being cautious not to injure their roots. Remove any extra soil and cut any vegetation that is dead or damaged. Put the begonias in pots with a light-weight growing medium, such peat moss or vermiculite, next.

Keep the containers in a place that is regularly above freezing and is cold and dark, such a basement or garage.

Growing as Perennials

Now that we’ve covered overwintering methods, let’s discuss the pros and cons of growing begonias as perennials.

Pros of Growing Begonias as Perennials Cons of Growing Begonias as Perennials
Enjoy them year after year Begonias do not tolerate cold temperatures well
No need to buy new seeds or plants every year They may not survive the winter in some regions
Can hone your gardening skills Some varieties may require special care to overwinter
Some varieties are deer and rabbit resistant They may not bloom as profusely in subsequent years
Tuberous begonias can grow as perennials in zones 9-11 Some varieties may require more maintenance as perennials

Growing as Annuals

In regions where begonias cannot survive winter, treating them as annuals is the most common practice. Let’s explore the pros and cons of growing begonias as annuals.

Pros of Growing Begonias as Annuals Cons of Growing Begonias as Annuals
Easy to grow and care for Typically grown as annuals in most regions
Wide variety of colors and sizes Need to be replanted each year
Deer and rabbit resistant Susceptible to diseases and pests
Can be grown in containers Requires regular watering and fertilizing
Continuous bloom throughout the season Less hardy and susceptible to extreme weather conditions

6 Garden Begonia Care Tips

Whether you decide to grow begonias as annuals or perennials, here are some crucial maintenance suggestions to make sure your plants grow strong and healthy:


In general, partial shade is the optimal environment for begonia growth and flower production. With midday shadow or filtered/indirect light, they would like to have 4-6 hours of direct sunshine, ideally in the morning. The begonias may grow and blossom at their best under these balanced lighting conditions. It’s crucial to keep in mind that too much direct sunshine will burn the leaves and that too much shadow might prevent them from flowering.


Because they love wet, well-draining soil, begonias need careful watering. When the top inch of soil seems dry to the touch, water them, according to established practice. But it’s best to avoid overwatering, which may cause root rot and other fungi problems. It is preferable to water begonias deeply, letting the extra water to drain out between each session. To make sure the plants get enough water, keep an eye on the soil’s moisture levels on a regular basis.


For begonias to get the nutrients they need for strong development and copious blooming, regular fertilization is crucial. Fertilizing begonias every two to three weeks is advised. Apply a liquid organic fertilizer that is balanced and diluted in water to the plants as you water them. Using fertilizer with a greater phosphorus level on begonias with ornamental foliage may encourage blooming and improve the general look of the leaves.


Begonias need deadheading, or the removal of wasted or wilted blooms. By routinely deadheading the flowers, you may divert the plant’s energy into developing fresh blooms, leading to a display of flowers that lasts longer. Additionally, by encouraging continued flowering throughout the growing season, this method promotes the maintenance of the plants’ aesthetic attractiveness.


It is important to mulch around begonias with dry leaves before winter arrives. Mulching insulates the soil, shielding the roots of the plants from frost and freezing temperatures. Mulch controls temperature, aids in soil moisture retention, inhibits weed development, and maintains a consistent microclimate for begonias throughout their winter dormancy.

Planting Depth

Wax begonias should be buried at a short depth while being planted. This allows their fragile, shallow-rooted structure to function. They might develop more slowly and experience stress on their roots if you plant them too deeply. It is crucial to handle an established wax begonia carefully if you need to transfer it since the roots are delicate and prone to injury.

You can make sure that your garden begonias flourish and produce beautiful blooms and healthy foliage by following these maintenance instructions.

Final Thoughts: Are Begonias Perennials or Annuals?

Depending on the environment and the particular type of begonia, begonias may be both perennials and annuals. While certain begonias behave perennially in zones with warmer climates, they are not frost- and winter-hardy. They are thus often cultivated as annuals in most places.

You may make wise choices and design a healthy begonia garden by learning about the distinctive qualities of many begonia types, investigating overwintering techniques, and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of growing begonias as perennials or annuals. Begonias are guaranteed to offer color, charm, and elegance to your outdoor environment, whether you decide to take advantage of their transient beauty as annuals or observe their enduring presence as perennials.

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