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If you are here, you probably have an indoor angel wing Begonia that looks tall and leggy instead of compact and bushy.
Your Begonia is in need of a good prune and propagation session.
What happened is that your plant is not getting enough light and is stretching itself out towards the light.
Pruning and pinching back your angel wing Begonia is the way to make it bushier and full.
If you arrived here looking for general information on caring for your angel wing Begonia, hop over to the Begonia maculata care tips instead. This article here covers the pruning and propagation process.
Make a Leggy Plant more Bushy
Etiolation is the official name for when your plant gets leggy, with long stems and lots of space in between each leaf, caused by too little light.
Another common reason for spindly Begonias is old age. Older plants can get quite tall and loose leaves from the lower part of the stem.
Pruning will stimulate new growth and produce a shorter, fuller plant.
If you don’t prune your angel wing Begonia, the lower leaves will eventually drop off. Meanwhile, the stems continue to grow taller and still growing new leaves at the top. Your plant will end up looking like a long, bare, drooping stem with just a few leaves at the top. Drastic measures will be necessary.
Pruning your Begonia
When you prune a large and overgrown angel wing Begonia it will grow back and be more compact than before.
Use sharp, clean cutting shears to carefully remove tall and leggy stems. Cut back any crowded shoots to the desired length.
Make each cut just above a leaf node, your plant will grow back right from that point.
Begonias can handle quite a cut. You can remove up to 2/3 of its total size in one pruning session.
After pruning, move your Begonia to where it will get more light than before. Unless it gets more sun, your Begonia will most likely become leggy again. More light = less legginess.
Pinching your Begonia
You want to pinch your angel wing Begonia throughout the active growing season (spring-summer).
Pinching plants is a form of pruning where you remove, or pinch, the growing tip with newly unfurled leaves to encourage the plant to branch out.
Your plant will grow two new stems from where you pinched it. It will also signal the plant to grow new stems at the base and along the stem.
Repeat monthly to encourage maximum bushiness.
If you can not give your plant more light, get a grow light. These special plant lights used to be large and expensive, but nowadays you can find very good smaller and affordable grow lights.
Angel Wing Begonia Propagation
Don’t throw away the stems you pruned off. Use those cuttings to propagate your angel wing Begonia. This way you can either start new plants or pot them up beside the mother plant to make it even fuller.
Angel wing Begonias root pretty easily. Remove the lower leaves from the cutting. You will place the cuttings in water to root and there should be no leaves submerged in water. You can cut very large cuttings into smaller sections.
Follow best water rooting practices and soon you will see roots growing. Your cuttings will be ready to be planted when the roots are a few inches long.
I love the process of water rooting, but you can plant your cuttings directly in the soil. Dip the end of your cutting in some rooting hormone to stimulate root growth before potting up.
Where to Buy angel wing Begonias
If possible, go to your local plant nursery or garden center to look for a Begonia. There are many different hybrids and cultivars, and most plant shops will have at least a few. Choose your new plant, and bring it home right away.
If you don’t live near a store that sells Begonias, there are a number of great plant growers that sell them on Amazon and Etsy. The Begonia in the photos in this post is a polka dot Begonia Maculata ‘wightii’.