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How to Prune Begonia? The Best Guide

How to prune begonia

Begonias are a beautiful, popular plant and to maintain their beauty it is important to know how to prune begonia. Begonia is a genus with more than 2000 species. They produce beautiful colorful flowers and are a great addition to the garden. They are known for their variety of colors and for ease of growing it. Its prominent features are its tepals, are petals and sepals together, which comes in two pairs of different sizes.

They are hardy in frost-free areas. Also, they grow best in part shade or filtered sunlight. In areas that have frost free climates, depending on which type of begonia, they can even grow all year round! There are two main types of begonias: either they are tuberous or they are fibrous and rhizomatous. Tuberous begonia dies back to their bulb so they don’t need much pruning but the fibrous and rhizomatous require annual pruning for a bushier plant. However, all begonia can benefit from early pruning. which makes the plant stronger and healthier.

Begonias are low maintenance and don’t require extensive care to thrive. However, timely pruning can have many benefits. But before you start pruning, you must have the necessary knowledge of pruning begonias. Don’t know much? Read on to learn how to prune begonias!

You may wonder, does my begonia really need pruning? Or how will pruning benefit my begonia? To answer this question, we must first understand what pruning is. Pruning is the horticultural practice of selective trimming of some leaves, branches, buds, and roots. It is essential for some species of plants so that they produce more fruit than usual, but how exactly does cutting off a plant’s parts help it exactly in making a plant more productive? Well, there is where the ‘selective’ part comes. You see, selectively cutting off involves trimming off dead branches that are dead weight, leaves that have diseases on them which can cause the entire to get sick, or roots that have molds on them. These parts of the plant are causing harm to the plant and so must be removed. 

Pruning is also for conserving energy resources for later growth. If there are branches, buds, or leaves that are unnecessary, then they will be removed as well so that the energy will be transferred to more important areas such as producing more fruits. Also, pruning will also be useful for controlling the growth of a plant. This is needed as you don’t want some plants causing the death of other plants in your garden by strangling them.

All of these benefits of pruning will also apply to your begonia. Now that you have learned the importance of pruning your begonia, let us start on teaching you how to prune it.

StepWise Guide for Pruning Begonias

Your Toolkit

  1. Pruning shears: A good pair of pruning shears is essential for trimming back the stems and leaves of your begonia. Make sure their blades are sharp and they have a comfortable grip.
  2. Clean, sharp scissors: For smaller trimming.
  3. Rubbing alcohol: Tools should always be sterilized to prevent the spread of diseases between plants. You can also dip them in bleach.
  4. Protective gloves: Minimize the risk of cuts, scratches and potential allergies.

When to Prune?

Pruning is usually done in the fall for cold climates and in spring for warmer climates.

There are two main types of begonias: tuberous; rhizomatous and fibrous.

Tuberous Begonias

Tuberous begonias die back in the fall to their tubers and remain dormant throughout the winter. Due to this, they don’t need any fall pruning. It is a good idea to dig them up in fall and store them in cool places for the winter. 

Rhizomatous & Fibrous

These need to be pruned annually as they don’t die back in summer. Cane begonias is a type of fibrous begonia and they need pruning to grow bushier. 

Steps for Pruning Begonias

1. Pinching New Growth: How To Pinch Back Begonias?

All types of begonias benefit from pinching back the new growth. It helps to make the plant bushier and wider. To do this, just pinch off the new growth from the begonias when the plant grows by 3-6 inches. You can do this 3 to 4 times for a sturdier bushier plant. When you pinch the new growth, the plant starts focusing on lateral growth.

How To Prune Begonia

Pruning Cane Begonias

You have learned how to pinch back begonias in its early stages, but what about a plant that would still need pinching back even after it has matured? For pruning cane begonias, you should remove one-third of the canes during the growing season. This will encourage new growth. If you don’t the canes will grow in the upward direction and you’ll have a leggy plant to worry about.

2. Overgrown begonias

Once established, if begonias become overgrown, it is best to remove one-third of the stems. To do this, use sterilized hand pruners and make sharp cuts at a 45 degrees angle. By cutting at a slanted angle, begonias regrow faster and it prevents the plant from rotting due to the retention of water at the pruned location. Remove the tips from a tall begonia branch to improve the shape of the plant. You can also remove the last two sets of leaves from a tall branch to induce new growth. Failing to do these can cause your begonia to spread all over the garden, which can potentially harm other plants that are nearby.

You may keep pruning off some large stems on your begonia to make it appear more attractive and more uniformly. The begonia is a hardy plant, so don’t be hesitant in pruning off the plant for appearance’s sake.

3. Removing Flowers: How To Deadhead Begonias?

When the blooms of begonia start to wither, cut them off to preserve the energy of the plant from being wasted in seed formation. By cutting the withering blooms, plants can focus more on producing new blooms and new growth. Most begonias have flowering seasons in spring and summer. Some begonias may have the blooming season in late fall and early spring. Whatever the growing season might be, ‘how to deadhead begonias’ remains the same.

4. Cutting Back

Cut back begonias in autumn after the blooms have withered. This helps to preserve the energy of the plant during the dormant season. Cut back the main stem to 4 inches. For perennial begonias, cut backbone-third of all stems. If you have the winter variety of the begonia, cut them during spring after they have finished blooming.

5. Remove Dead and Diseased Parts of Begonias

Removing the diseased and dead branches is an integral part of the knowledge of how to prune begonia  Dead and diseased parts of the begonias can be pruned throughout the growing season. Diseased branches are usually discolored and can be spotted easily. You should cut these branches up to the damaged area. If the damage is spread throughout the branch, cut the entire branch to the main stem. Remember to cut at a 45-degree angle. Also remove the diseased branches, that you just cut, from the ground to prevent the spread of infection. 

6. Bud Pruning

This step is especially applicable to tuberous begonias. Additional buds are removed from the stem to improve the size of the flowers. A stem may have lateral buds and tip buds. Lateral buds are removed by pinching to direct the energy of the plant towards the growth of one flower.

Sometimes two or three buds may be present close to each other. By only letting one bud stay, we can have bigger blooms.

Final Thoughts on How to Prune Begonia

In contrast to other plants, begonias grow well in filtered sunlight. But, if there is a shortage of exposure to sunlight, they can turn leggy. Pinching back in the early stages of the plant may seem harsh and weak-at-heart people may even have to close their eyes before they could proceed. However, it provides dividends in the end. A sturdier and bushier plant will stay longer and healthier. Cane begonias need to be pruned off from the tops during the growing seasons as well. Deadheading will stimulate new blooms and removing the diseased branches will keep the plant in optimum health throughout the growing season. Tuberous begonias die back in fall. The tubers can be dug up in the fall and stored in a cool shaded place throughout the winter. They can then be replanted–come spring!

As you must have noticed, the pruning of begonias is simple and easy. You won’t have to keep the pruning shears on the bedside table, most of the begonias only need pruning before and after blooming. Through this guide, you now have all the information on how to prune begonias. Prune often, prune better!

Now that we have shared with you this information, do you have any questions, tips, or thoughts you would like to share? Comment below! Also, our website offers some other guides as well such as How To Grow Lotus From Seed and How to Grow Kale.

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