Ask a Question forum→Leggy tuberous begonia.

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Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
May 8, 2020 8:40 AM CST
What can I do about this? I know the usual answer is more light, but these are shade plants started under gro lights in a SE facing window. I didnt realize how bad it was until I transplanted them into their summer pot yesterday. Theyre all growing right up past the lights. Its wierd.

Can i pinch them? If so where?
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The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 8, 2020 9:37 AM CST
They are responding to the natural light that is better for them than the artificial light.

They can be pruned or pinched. PInching always refers to the newest growth as it emerges. Pruning is cutting back stems to your preferred height. New growth will emerge at the pruning point and grow upward from there.

What is their ultimate destination?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Image
Turbosaurus
May 8, 2020 3:00 PM CST
These are hanging begonias, so they will go in hanging pots along the railing on the front entrance stairs at the north side of the house once nights stay mid 50s or better. They will get sun from the East from dawn till about 11am then it's shaded by the house.

I have very good luck with them there in previous years. But Before the apocalypse I bought mature plants. This is the first year I'm trying to DIY from tubers at 1/5 the cost.

For now, if bright light is what they need, I can always shuffle the pots in and out and all around while I wait for warmer weather. Because it is at the front of the house facing the street these may be the most important performers.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Image
Turbosaurus
May 8, 2020 3:03 PM CST
Oh, and there is an all purpose jobs spike in each 3" starter pot, I wonder if high nitrogen could be contributing? The stems are nice and fat, they're just too tall.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 9, 2020 7:07 AM CST
It is bitter cold out there this morning so it is good that you delayed moving them outside! Snowflakes were seen in NYC last night! Haven't we suffered enough! Shrug!

Yours eventually will get moved to much stronger light so whatever you can do to gradually increase the light intensity will help.

When I have overwintered Begonias indoors, I have usually pruned them way back to 1-2 inches above the soil just prior to moving them outside. That way the new growth that emerges will be adapted to the outdoor sun.

I don't like the fertilizer sticks because they tend to crate fertilizer hotspots where they are inserted. Excess nitrogen does tend to promote leggy growth when light is less than ideal.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Image
Turbosaurus
May 9, 2020 7:41 AM CST
I came across a pack of spikes while potting them up so I just shoved one in each. against my cardinal "don't mess with it" rule.. fully knowing that without proper light and leaves to use it they're less than useless..

I'll pinch them back, but not quite yet. they are just starting to send out new leaves from lower nodes, and I want to wait until they star to unfurl a little. If I pinch the tips now I'd be removing nearly half the photosynthetic surface area. I really don't want to slow them down, especially this early when conditions aren't ideal. By Thursday/Friday they can go outside during the day, and I'll pinch the tips when it accounts for 1/4 or less.

Good, I feel like I have a plan: I'll do the annual Spring tropical plant dance to give them the best protected exposure outside as weather permits. I don't know why I keep thinking someday I'll be able to avoid it, lol. Thanks for talking me through it.

The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 9, 2020 7:47 AM CST
Thumbs up
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Image
Turbosaurus
Jun 21, 2020 2:15 PM CST
Getting them outside (Even in full shade In hanging baskets on on the north side of the house) solved the issue. The stems fattened up and they're filling in with blooms and leaves from lower nodes like crazy even though I didn't top them.

I'm glad I didn't top them because they seemed to hit a max height of about 1.5-2ft and all bloomed from the top down...
These are hanging begonia. I also have some non-stop, and they are staying short, and haven't started blooming yet.

It probably would have been fine if I pinched off the growing tip, But in this case they didn't suffer, and are perfectly happy filling in from the base. A lot of plants would have just kept growing from the tip, getting top heavy, looking ugly and even snapping off when the weight became too much for thin leggy stems, but these guys handled it like champs
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Image
Turbosaurus
Jun 21, 2020 2:33 PM CST

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The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Image
Turbosaurus
Jun 21, 2020 3:02 PM CST
That pic was june 16th, its hard to see all the buds that were under the leaves... this is the same plant today, 5 days later
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The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Image
Turbosaurus
Jun 21, 2020 3:04 PM CST
That pic was june 16th, its hard to see all the buds that were under the leaves... this is the same plant today, 5 days later.. sorry for harping on it, im just mesmerized by the flowers
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The plural of anecdote is not data.

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