How To Prune Begonias (3 Steps To Do It the Right Way)


Begonias provide some color to your garden and a striking indoor aesthetic. But to make them stunning and healthy, you need to give them the right amount of care, including a pruning routine.

To prune your begonias, pinch off the stem tips, clip the buds, and remove the diseased and infected parts of the plant. The best time for pruning is during its growing season, which falls in spring or early summer in warm areas. If you live in colder states, you can also prune during the fall.

By following these steps on how to prune begonias, you can be sure your begonias will bloom properly, producing multiple flowers of healthier sizes and thicker growth.

Table of Contents

3 Steps To Prune Begonias

1. Pinch the stem tip.

Hold the stem of the begonia between your thumb and forefinger above the node of the lower leaves growth and start pinching above the leaf node. Pinch back or trim off the tips when the stem tips are 3 to 6 inches long at an early stage of growing begonias. This should be done after new growth begins in the spring.

Also, you have to make sure to pinch the stems back to the first or second healthy bud from the tips. Then, you can repeat this process two or three times at four-week intervals.

This method encourages maximum bushiness because it forces the begonia to branch at the pinch point, creating more stems, leaves, and flowers.

2. Prune the buds

If your begonia is mainly for blooms, strip off the side branches from the main stems, so more of the plant’s energy is focused on the remaining main stems and flower buds. This method induces tuberous begonias to produce larger blooms.

On the other hand, you must pinch off the flower buds to achieve a full bloom for begonias. Then, you just leave the central bud near the stem tips. This will keep the foliage and flowers in full bloom when they grow.

On other varieties with three buds, remove two buds with the swollen seedpods at the base of the female buds. Thus, the remaining male pods produce more prominent blooms.

3. Remove the dead and diseased parts of begonias.

Dead and diseased parts of begonias can be pruned throughout the growing season. First, the discolored branches should be cut up to the damaged area. Keep in mind to cut at a 45-degree angle.

Pro Tips to Remember When Pruning Begonias

Pruning begonias in pots and garden beds don’t involve complicated steps, but there are a few tips to keep in mind in doing so. By following these tips, you’ll become more confident that you’re on the right track and that your begonias will achieve their optimum bloom.

1. Sterilize your garden tools first.

You can get some good Garden tools here from Amazon

It is vital to secure sanitation to mitigate the spread of any possible infection on your begonias. Wipe the shears with a clean rag soaked with isopropyl or rubbing alcohol. Also, wash your hands to prevent the spread of any pests or disease organisms.

2. Cut the stems of begonias diagonally.

Begonias will grow faster by cutting at a slanted angle. This prevents the plant from rotting because of water retention in the pruned location. Remove a third of the stems with sterilized hand pruners for overgrown begonias. Then, make sharp cuts at a 45 degrees angle.

3. Prune begonias when necessary.

To keep your begonias at the desired height while maintaining a healthy, bushy foliage growth, annual pruning should be done. But you don’t have to wait until spring or summer to start pruning your begonias if they start to overgrow. Trim off the leaves of begonias when this happens as they can spread all over the garden, potentially harming other plants near it.

4. Consider the begonia variety first before pruning.

All begonias need pruning but some varieties may require more frequent and rigorous pruning than the others. For example, tuberous begonias will need more bud pinching if you’re aiming for larger flowers.

5. Follow the rules of three when pruning hanging begonias.

Begonia Hanging BasketBegonia Hanging Basket

There’s a rule of three in pruning begonias in a hanging basket. You can encourage branching by trimming three stems in half every week. Then, snip them off by 4 inches above the soil line. This pruning method used in hanging baskets can help the plant grow beautifully and lusciously.

6. Start pruning cane begonias when they are young.

Cane begonias can grow tall even as juvenile plants. If you want to achieve the best look for your cane begonia, prune it regularly to control its size. Pinch the first two inches of growth from the branches’ tips for a bushier yet less scattered appearance.

7. Consider repotting when you prune if necessary.

If the pot is already full of roots, then it is advisable to repot it. Since begonia’s roots are sensitive, you must repot it in spring to avoid cooler temperature shock if the roots are exposed. That said, the plant must be repotted in a slightly pot-bound container because it doesn’t thrive in slightly loose soil.

Other Ways to Keep Your Begonias Blooming

Overwintering. This means waiting out or living through the winter season before going back to the normal activity. Overwintering is adapting or preparing a plant for colder weather. Begonias have sensitive roots, so this should be done correctly.

Below are the following steps in digging up and storing it through winter.

1. Loosen the soil and gently lift your plant out of the pot.

2. Place the roots in a warm, dark room, and let them dry out for a week.

3. Remove them once the foliage has dried up.

4. Keep the roots at a room temperature of 55’F or 12.7’C

5. Replant the roots in well-drained soil in early spring.

Applying fertilizer. To keep your Begonias blooming, use a balanced fertilizer every 2 weeks. Put fertilizer on the houseplant once a week with a diluted fertilizer 1/4 of its strength.

This is a very good slow-release fertilizer and you can purchase it here from Amazon

On the other hand, you can do it with a diluted fertilizer 1/2 of its strength. Additionally, the blooming season for begonias is in spring and summer. Winter-flowering begonias bloom from late autumn to mid-spring.

Frequently Asks Questions About Begonias

When should I prune my begonias?

You should prune begonias when it becomes leggy or overgrown. It encourages new stems and bushier plants to grow. For tuberous begonias, they should be pruned or cut back in late fall before the first frost in winter. This will conserve the plant’s energy to grow back in winter.

How do you make begonias bushy?

First, you can use your fingers and thumb to remove the small stems. This method encourages new stems to sprout and encourages branching.

Also, pinching off the stems back to the first or second healthy bud from the tip can encourage new stems, flowers, and leaves to grow. Repeat this process two or three times at four-week intervals.

How do you prune a leggy Begonia Maculata?

To prune a leggy Begonia Maculata, you must cut 1/4 inch above the leaf node. Do not worry about overdoing it. This plant can tolerate aggressive pruning. And since it is a fast-growing plant, pruning has to be done regularly.

Bottom line

Seeing your plants blooming and healthy is surely one of the most satisfying feelings for a plant lover. With the right amount of patience and knowledge about how to prune begonias, you can grow attractive, healthy plants in your garden or indoors.

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