Annuals Bulbs Gardening Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Unbelievable Miss Montreal Begonia

20170613B Unbelievable Miss Montreal_21244
Unbelievable Miss Montreal is practically covered in flowers all summer long. Photo: Dümmen Orange

Sometimes really interesting things happen by pure coincidences. That’s the case when the new begonia Unbelievable Miss Montreal (Begonia Unbelievable ™ Miss Montreal) was launched on the North American market as a new plant introduction for 2017.

You see, Montreal celebrates the 375th anniversary of its foundation this summer and you might have thought that the plant’s developer, the Dutch plant breeder, Dümmen Orange, had named the plant because of this special occasion, but no. I checked with them and they knew nothing of the anniversary! The name “Miss Montreal” was in fact chosen to emphasize this begonia’s exceptional resistance to cold temperatures (I assume the Dutch figure Montreal is pretty much the equivalent of the North Pole and indeed, if you visit the city in midwinter, the resemblance can be striking!).


20170613C Unbelievable Miss Montreal_21254.jpg
The flower color is hard to define, but most attractive. Photo: Dümmen Orange

Begonia Unbelievable Miss Montreal is an absolutely striking begonia, the result of complex crosses between the classic tuberous begonia (B. x tuberhybrida) and the Bolivian begonia (B. boliviensis). It’s a semi-trailing plant with stems at first upright and then arching, forming a mound about 10 to 16 inches (25 to 55 cm) high and 18 to 20 inches (45 to 50 cm) in diameter that will trail gracefully from a hanging basket or flower box. The large 3-inch (7.5 cm) double flowers are at creamy white with pale yellow highlights and a coral-pink edge, then, still keeping the coral-pink edge, turn a very pale apricot, a charming combination. The dark green and bronze foliage, rather narrow and pointed, brings out the best in the flowers.

This plant blooms abundantly throughout the summer until well into fall, even when temperatures begin to drop, showing exceptional cold resistance. It is self-cleaning, so you won’t need to deadhead to keep it blooming.

The plant has proven to be a hit with growers and is currently available in nurseries everywhere.


20170613A Unbelievable Miss Montreal_21253.jpg
There is no limit to the way you can use Unbelievable Miss Montreal. Photo: Dümmen Orange

Plant begonia Unbelievable Miss Montreal in rich, well-drained soil in sun or, better yet, part shade. You can grow it in a container or in the garden. It’s not a very needy plant when it comes to fertilizer: just one application of all-purpose, slow-release organic fertilizer at planting time will suffice. In the garden, space the plants about 12 to 14 inches (30 to 40 cm) apart to ensure complete coverage. In pots, you can easily grow it all by itself, but it’s also attractive used in mixed baskets.

If rainfall is irregular during the summer, make sure not to forget to water it. During periods of drought, a thorough watering about every 5 to 7 days should be sufficient.

How to Overwinter Tubers

In the fall, when the frost has killed back the foliage, you’ll need to store the tuber indoors over the winter. First place the plant in a shed or garage for about a week so the tuber can start to dry out. When the stems practically snap off the tuber on their own, remove them and toss them in the compost, keeping only the tuber.

If you grew yours in a pot, it’s often more convenient to leave it there during the winter, just storing the whole pot indoors. If yours is growing in the ground, dig the tuber up, clean it thoroughly and store it in a perforated container so as to allow a bit of air circulation, covering it in shredded paper or peat moss. In both cases, store the tuber in a cool, dry, frost-free place for the winter.

In the spring, about 6 to 8 weeks before the planting-out date, repot the tuber (if it was stored bare) or just bring out the pot and start gently watering again. To start the plant on the way to summer bloom, place it in well-lit spot indoors at normal room temperatures. In no time, your Unbelievable Miss Montreal begonia will be in full leaf and shortly after, in full bloom as well, just what it takes to properly launch your new flowering season.

The Unbelievable Miss Montreal begonia: a true winner!20170613B Unbelievable Miss Montreal_21244

5 comments on “Unbelievable Miss Montreal Begonia

  1. alisonberry28

    I love this begonia, although it has been hard finding it over the years. This year the closest I could find is “I” Conia Miss Montreal, but it looks identical. I have never been successful in overwintering it. Other begonias readily come back after storing in paper bag in cool dark place, but never Miss Montreal…alas.

  2. Barbara Maher

    love this plant and really trying to propagate some of the stems indoors now before cold weather. I will try to keep in our sunroom alive all winter!

  3. Thank you for all the excellent information about this plant. I bought one a few weeks ago because I was so struck by the colour of the flowers. I have it in a pot on my balcony and started wondering how it would fare over the winter. So I’m very glad to know that I can simply bring the pot in and hopefully have this beautiful plant for more than one season.

  4. I bought this Begonia yesterday in a garden center, just because I liked the colour so very much. Searching for more detailed information, i found it all here. Now i love my flower even more. Thank you very much!

Leave a Reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!

%d bloggers like this: