I live in Chicago (Zone 5b) and this Begonia was accidentaly left outside planted in the ground. We had several nights of medium frost (28 degrees was the lowest I measured) and even a light snow and this is how the plant looks like after I got it inside today. Well, and before the leaf loss will most likely start... LOL
Oh, and sorry for the mess in the background. Operative chaos, you know... ;)
Some canes can handle a few nights of freezing temps without a lot of harm. Even if the soft wood is destroyed they often sprout from the hard wood and also send up sprouts from the roots. I left 3 large canes of Sophie, Irene, and Lana in a 22 inch pot outdoors a couple of winters ago because I had a few pots of each safely tucked indoors. Then in early December I had a change of heart and ripped those 3 canes out of the extra large pot and brought them indoors - one retained most of its woody stems while the other two were destroyed to within a couple of inches of the soil line but they all came back with a flourish.
One winter a few decades ago I took cuttings of all my canes I had planted in the ground and only one of those did not root for me that winter so I lost it. The next spring I had one cane come back from the roots - it was the one that failed to root for me indoors. That was coccinea.
Here is a pan of those 3 canes I brought in a couple of years ago a few weeks later after I cut off the destroyed canes. They stayed in this aluminum pan all winter without any extra soil other than what was attached to their roots.
Several years ago I had huge pots of Caribbean King and Caribbean Queen. I left them outside a little too long - early November where we got a hard frost. That really set them back and it took 3 years or longer to get back to some big rhizomes. That same year I had Bayberry Lane that was easily 8 foot across (kind of leggy) and it was knocked back to six inches (it though is an easy begonia to propagate and could almost be considered weedy).
Here is what Caribbean Queen looked like after the big frost.
So I guess it would be ok for me to put C. King and Queen in the ground here then !! Good info. I don't mind if they get knocked back if we get a frost/freeze, just so long as they will come back.
Thanks for posting this.
Yeah, I a bittttt farther north but I think they would be ok too. Especially since I mulch heavy. They aren't all that big as I got them in trade in late August, so I'll probably wait till next winter to test them when I can have divisions for back ups.
I thought you might be a bittttt further north but I didn't bother looking it up to find out how many miles apart you are. Isn't Miami zone 10? Of course there are folks in coastal S.C. who swear they are in zone 9 so what do I know?
Always good to keep a small piece indoors as a bit of insurance. You could always put some frost cloth on top of your outdoor ones too.
glad to hear your story about a "change of heart" with one of your begonias. I did the same with my big LBM this year. I had a good sized plant from spring cuttings and 2 small fall cutting plants but no room for the big mother plant. At the last minute I decided to save the big plant from the compost pile. We had had a couple of mild frosts but it was buried beneath other debris so not frozen. I cut it in half and repotted it and am waiting to see if it will survive. So far it hasn't died and seems to be sending some new shoots. I did cut it back to about 3 inches above the soil. Time will tell.