How to Prune a Begonia

Begonias make delightful houseplants. image by mrmac04: morguefile


Shade-loving begonias brighten dark corners of your yard with their showy blooms and attractive foliage. As a specimen plant, they create a dramatic display of color in the yard or on the patio. These tender annuals suffer when temperatures drop and must be moved inside for the winter where they can be successfully grown as house plants. With minimal pruning to establish shape and promote new growth, they adapt quickly to the new environment.

Step 1

Prune overgrown stems back to maintain the overall shape of begonias. Pinch the fleshy stems at the appropriate length any time you notice the plant needs shaping. Avoid simply cutting off the top as this gives the plant and unnatural appearance. Regular trimming encourages lush growth and creates an attractive plant.

Step 2

Cut begonias grown outside back to 4 inches when moved inside to revitalize the plant and reduce stress associated with a change in growing conditions. Save cuttings and root in a jar or vase of water to produce new plants. Pot when the cuttings have developed healthy roots.

Step 3

Pinch out the center leaves on begonias once a month to encourage a compact plant. This forces new foliage to form along the stem and around the base of the plant. Pinching can be reduced once the plant appears full and shows lush growth.

Tips and Warnings

  • Move begonias inside when nights begin too cool. Those left outside until the first frost may not survive when brought inside.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shears (optional)


  • American Begonia Society
  • National Gardening Association
  • Missouri Botanical Garden

Who Can Help

  • Begonia Characteristics and Care
Keywords: trim begonias, prune begonias, cut back begonias

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.

Photo by: mrmac04: morguefile