Why is My Begonia Leggy?

The begonia’s striking leaves, which are symmetrical, make it the focal point of any collection. But what happens if your begonia’s more of a stem than leaves?

If a once lush and green plant produces more than enough stalks and stems and shoots, it grows until it’s nothing more than an edging of greenery on the length of a stick.

Although begonias are susceptible to become sloppy however, there’s a easy fix that could lead to more begonias! Read on to find out how you can turn this dreadful situation into a win-win for your garden indoors.

To correct a begonia that is leggy first identify the cause of the growth and then address it by increasing the light temperature, or by changing the plant’s pot. Once you have solved the root cause, trim your plant from top to bottom and remove the leggy areas. Then, trim off any stray leaves regularly to ensure that your begonia is healthy.

What is Leggy Begonia?

When we say that a plants can be described as “leggy,” we mean that the growth of the plant is concentrated on its stems. This causes begonias, especially cane varieties like the well-known Polka Dot or Angel Wing varieties, to become large and slim, with fewer leaves on the stems.

A begonia that is leggy appears barren with a lack of leaves. They may also grow sprawling due to the fact that stems growing fast often do not have the strength required to keep their heads straight. The stems that are weaker tend to lean and smile, and the plant will take up more space in your plant arrangement.

A begonia with a leggy appearance reminds me of a teenager who is in an era of growth. large and out of proportion and there’s a certain truth to this.

A leggy begonia, similar to an adult, is growing rapidly. Etiolation refers to the rapid growth of the part of the stem that is between the leaves. The stem expands, which causes the usual gap between the leaves to grow too large and wide.


Overgrowth is common across all begonias, however it is particularly evident when it comes to cane begonias. The rhizomatous, tuberculous and waxy begonias may not experience as much trouble as the cane variety, however the long and malformed leaves may be observed.

Causes of Leggy Begonia

The absence of light

Check out the environment in which your begonia is growing. In a dimly lit area, you will stimulate your begonia to send long stalks of plants to search for illumination.

The plant is unable to photosynthesize or produce food if it’s not exposed to sunlight. Since your begonia isn’t able to grow both stems and leaves, it concentrates on the stems with the intention of getting better light.

Begonias require less light than the majority of home plants. While they work best in shade or indirect light, it isn’t the same as having no lighting at all.


Begonias were first discovered in the tropical regions and flourish in humid, warm climates. The majority of indoor plants however are able to thrive in a sort of perpetual spring, in which it’s warm but not scorching and there is a lack of humidity within the atmosphere.

A brief time of uncharacteristic temperatures will encourage your begonia to take advantage of summer’s conditions, which results in an overgrown plant.

Excessive fertilizer

The growth of plants is expensive and requires the consumption of nutrients. The majority of potted plants are limited in resources, which means that the growth rate is limited.

If you’ve been over-fertilizing your begonia, it could take advantage of the opportunity to get started growing rapidly and eventually becoming sagging. This is particularly true during warmer temperatures – more about this later.

Pot size

Begonias as per the conventional wisdom, benefit from smaller pots than average. A tiny amount of root binding is perfect for keeping your plant neat and healthy. If you allow your begonia too large a area, the plant will take the chance to expand as fast as it can in the new area.

Repot your begonias when they’re completely root-bound. If you are looking for a new pot, select one that is just one inches (2.5cm) or more over the entire top. If you offer greater than one inch, they’ll need a mile in this instance the mile is straight upwards.


Begonias lose their leaves when they get older. A mature begonia can be prone to legginess because the leaves on the stems that are older are shed. In contrast to other forms of leggyness, this one isn’t caused by excessive growth. Instead, it is due to losing its hair, something that many gardeners will certainly recognize!

How To Fix Your Leggy Begonia

Giving your begonia’s leggy limbs cut is the most effective way to tackle it! The act of slicing your begonia’s swollen stems and pinching its uncontrolled growth, however dramatic as it might appear as it is the best method to bring the growth under control.

Cane begonias need to be cut regularly to promote a more robust growth. Other species are benefited by having overly strangly growth cut off as well.

Begonias that are tuberous or rhizomatous benefit from the removal of leaves and will provide you with new growth and better developed growth.


It might seem harsh It may seem brutal, but there isn’t much you can do about it. You’ll need cutting shears for pruning ( This is my preferred one) I would suggest a bowl or jar of water for cuttings that are larger More on that later! It is best to perform your pruning during the warm seasons in the time when your plant’s in full bloom as well.

  1. Have a closer look at the shape of your begonia before you start. Are you able to see if it is skewed towards one direction? Do you wish to save one leaves? Since you only have the ability to cut one time, think about the things you would like to save and which you’ll need to be cut off.
  2. Start by removing the highest stalks that are thin and the longest. Cut just above the nodes of growth to give your plant something it can work on when it begins to grow new leaves.
  3. Don’t be scared! The process of trimming a cane begonia enables you to cut off as much as two-thirds of a stem without worrying about killing the plant. Different varieties might not require as vigorous a trimming, but any delicate begonia can benefit from having its overgrown stems and stems cut back.
  4. Refill any water that are lost in pruning by giving your plant a drink before returning the plant to its original spot to recuperate.

Within a short time, you’ll begin to notice new growth sprouting on the spot of the woody, old stems. It’s not unusual for a cane that has been clipped to create two new shoots, which results in a thicker and more bushy plant.

..and Propagation!

There is no reason to throw away anything. Cuttings from leggy specimens can be a fantastic method to begin new plants. Begonias are able to form new roots in water and some indoor plant lovers just replant the root cutting alongside the parent plant creating dense arrangements that create an appearance bigger and more vigorous begonia.

Cut the stalk to close to the node along for tuberous begonias or cane. Simply immerse the entire stem in water. When a nice group of roots is developed it is possible to pot them as a plant of their own pots.

Rhizomatous species, like the well-known begonia rex are also easier to grow, needing just one leaf of water to create a new plant to add for your garden. It’s both affordable and enjoyable to see your weak begonia grow into a vibrant crowd of plants.


After trimming your begonia, it’ll start to grow new leaves. It isn’t a good idea to let it begin to grow again So be sure to keep an eye on it.

After trimming your plant to your desired height, cut off any new growth that is sprouting at the top on a frequent interval. The leaves that are young should be taken off prior to their unfurling.

Although this might seem like a cruel act but it can cause your beautiful blush to create not just one but two new shoots from the cut tip. This is a fantastic way to encourage your begonia to bush out, instead of dragging it up.

Can I Cut The Top Off My Begonia?

It’s perfectly fine to cut off the whole top of your begonia’s leggy limbs. They’re resilient and thrive in that kind of pruning.

You can trim off as much as 2/3 of the stem of a begonia that is made of cane. Sometimes, I’ve cut the begonia’s top and cut off the leggy part of the stem, then submerged the rest of the top of the plant in water to create a roots. It’s a great way to maintain the begonias’ stunning foliage.

Preventing Legginess In Begonias

After you’ve regained your radiant beauty, let’s take a look at ways to prevent that sagging from resurfacing.

Provide Adequate Light

The begonia you have regardless of its variety requires a shade of a few degrees to indirect, bright light in order to flourish. The begonia you have chosen to grow has demonstrated the need to stretch its leaves towards direction of a brighter light source.

Check out your new surroundings and select a spot for your newly cut begonia to receive more sunlight than the previous one.

Avoid direct sunlight, however any spot with good diffuse lighting will allow your plantain to blossom with an a plethora of attractive leaves.

You might want to consider using an indoor grow light if you are unable to find a light source. Small grow lights are popular and easy to use and can give your begonia the amount of light it needs to remain in the same spot instead of dragging it away to find an even brighter day.

Keep It Cool

If your begonia is getting sufficient light, but you are still looking to the sky, then the issue lies in temperature, and you need to keep your cool.

Make sure your begonias are in a climate that’s between 58 and 72degF (14 22 – 22degC) to get the most effective outcomes. The summer months are always hot and I prefer not to use air conditioning when I can because of my other, more heat-loving plants. However, it is best to place your begonia in a cooler area of your office or home.

In the summer months you should cut off any new growth that appears at the crown of the plant. The summer enthusiasm will be reflected on the leaf, providing you with a the perfect display to take pride in.

Do Not Over-fertilize

Fertilize your begonia less than once per month during the growing season to get the optimal results. If you have a plant that is already leggy it is recommended to use an all-purpose, balanced fertiliser that is liquid is the best choice. If used in moderation, it will help to grow the beautiful leaves, but not inspire them to aim for the stars.

Use The Correct Pot Size

When selecting your pot, a good rule of thumb is to not use more than 20cm in height of each plant. Naturally, a bigger pot is needed if you have a larger plant however, it’s better to stay in the direction of caution and choose smaller pots to stop them from bursting across every inch of the pot that is now spacious.

Use The Proper Soil When Repotting

When you are repotting, the potting medium you choose is crucial. Indoor begonias thrive in mediums that are soil-free. Since they are susceptible to fungal diseases It is a great idea to reduce the chance for these dreadful disease to take root in the potting soils.

I’ve found a mix consisting of perlite, vermiculite and peat moss to be the ideal cultivating medium to my begonias in the indoor area. It drains well, while holding an adequate amount of water, and the gradual but steady degradation of the moss gives an even amount of nutrients. If peat moss is not available I’ve been able to substitute the sphagnum or coir moss with it in this mix.

If you have to use soils in your garden regardless of the reason, be sure that there is ample organic material spread across the area to permit adequate drainage.

How Do I Make My Begonia Bushy?

Pruning and pinching can help to focus the growth of your plant to increase its density and make it bushier. By strategically planting several plant species in the same area and each one with sprouted cuttings of the plant that originated from it, you can create an appearance larger plant.

Mixing plants inside a small indoor pot isn’t recommended generally, however when it’s actually part from the same species, you are able to avoid the dangers of over-planting the pot. Keep your new, dense pleasure well-watered and well-lit will lead to thicker and more lush growth.

How Do You Thicken Begonia Stem?

The most effective method to increase the thickness of the begonia’s stem is to be patient. Pruning regularly will cause the plant to grow and grow a stronger collection of stems.

This is particularly true of cane begonias that can develop into a look similar to bamboo with consistent, careful maintenance. Follow the guidelines above and your clump of twigs will return to its lush glory within a matter of days.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)