Gardentalk – Bring your begonias, dahlias and fuchsias in for the winter

Dahlia (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)
An award-winning dahlia flower as shown during a community garden harvest fair in Juneau. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

Master Gardener Ed Buyarski says it’s time to get your begonias, dahlias and fuchsias inside a cool, but not a freezing place.

Tuesday morning’s record low temperature of 23 degrees at the Juneau International Airport may be Mother Nature’s way of saying more cold snaps and frosty mornings are not that far off.

Buyarski recommends snapping off begonia stems and then putting the whole pot into the garage so the plant will dry out for a while. Later, he’ll take the begonia tubers out of the soil and store them for the winter in cardboard boxes or paper bags in an area which will remain at 50 degrees.

For dahlias, cut the stems about two inches above the soil. Pull them out of the pots, wash off the soil, and then let the tubers dry out.

Strip all the leaves off fuchsias and apply a soap spray to eradicate any aphids still hiding in the soil. Store the pots in a cooler space, like a root cellar or crawl space. Check on them at least once a month and water them occasionally so they don’t dry out completely.

Buyarski also answered more questions from listeners.

“Can you suggest plants that could provide year-round privacy on a very small condominium deck?” writes Michele.

Buyarski recommends an arborvitae or an upright yew. As winter approaches, he suggests insulating plastic pots with bubble wrap or flexible foam wrapping. Covering the plants with burlap will help protect them from cold, drying winds and repeated freeze-thaw action.

“Do you know where I can buy plants and flowers that isn’t a retail shop” writes Shawn.

Buyarski said Juneau area growers (like himself) have important local knowledge and can make recommendations for specific micro-climates around Juneau. He recommends checking out Glacier Gardens, Landscape Alaska and Sunny Slope Farm on Douglas Island.

Listen to the October 10th edition about begonias, dahlias, and fuschias:

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