Angel Wing Begonia Buying & Growing Guide
Angel wing begonias are often grown for their large, beautiful heart-shaped leaves that resemble two folded wings. Although they are typically chosen for their foliage, they also can have attractive blooms given the correct growing conditions. Angel wing begonias can grow to heights of ten feet, but their size can be adjusted by pruning. Some angel wing begonia highlights include:
- Can be grown indoors or outdoors.
- Are full of large, lovely foliage.
- Propagate easily from cuttings.
Angel Wing Begonia for Sale
- Garden Goods Direct – Starting at $39.95
- Grow Joy – Starting at $7.95
- Logee’s Greenhouses – Starting at $19.95
Angel Wing Begonia Overview
|Scientific Name:||Begonia coccinea x Begonia aconitifolia|
|Common Names||Angel wing begonia|
|Type||Perennial flowering plant|
|Watering||Maintain moist soil|
|Light||Bright, indirect light|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets|
|Pests||Aphids and spider mites|
Planting and Care
Angel wing begonias can be planted outdoors in areas where the weather is warm and somewhat humid. If outdoor temperatures regularly drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, these plants can be placed in pots and brought indoors. They prefer a loose potting mix, rich in organic matter, and do best in pots that dry out quickly.
Watering and nutrients
Angel wing begonias need frequent watering to prevent leaf edge browning. However, care must be taken to prevent having standing water in the planting pot or even in outdoor soil. They are highly susceptible to root rot, and do not even respond well to misting, which can lead to brown spots on their leaves. They prefer a humid environment.
In addition, high light levels and warm temperatures promote blossoms, while low light levels will encourage leaf growth. If you would like to have both luxurant leaves and prolific blossoms, place the plant in an area of bright, but indirect light and feed with a balanced fertilizer with an NPK of 10-10-10.
These tall cane plants can become both floppy and leggy when left alone. Pruning is one way to help prevent these conditions. When pruning, make the cut just below a joint in the canes. This will give you a good cutting for growing another plant while encouraging the parent plant stem to put up a second shoot, making it bushier. Even with pruning, angel wing begonias benefit from support poles or trellises. These will keep the long canes from leaning over under the weight of the large leaves. Always clean your pruning shears between cuts to prevent transferring diseases from one plant to another.
When you prune the angel wing begonias you can save the cuttings and start new plants. There are two ways to begin a new plant from cuttings. An easy method is to place the cutting into a bottle of water, and watch for roots. When the roots appear large and well established, transplant the cutting into potting soil. Another method is to bury the cut piece in a sterile growing medium and keep it moderately moist. A gentle tug on the stem will tell you if roots are developing.
Pests, diseases, and animals
Like many tropical plants, angel wing begonias are susceptible to root rot, mites, mildew and mold. Solutions include spraying with neem oil, or a stronger miticide. Mildew and mold can sometimes be prevented by making sure there is good air circulation around the plant, and keeping it in a warm area where there is a strong, indirect light.
They are also subject to leaf browning, which can be caused by placing the plant too close to a window or by infrequent watering. To combat this problem, move the plant away from the window glass or place it near a different window.
In its native environment, this plant would usually grow under the cover of larger plants and trees, so it is not accustomed to growing in direct sunlight. It does like bright light, however, so keep it in a position of partial shade or bright indirect light. In colder months, it can tolerate more sunshine and would ideally be in a position where it could benefit from morning light and sheltered from afternoon light when the sun is at its strongest.
Ensure the plant does get plenty of indirect light, as this will be essential to the production of flowers. If your Angel Wing Begonia is kept outside during the summer, it will need to be protected from direct sunlight.
The Angel Wing Begonia enjoys high humidity, as this is what it is accustomed to in its native environment. High humidity will help the plant thrive, and so it would be a good idea to mist the plant with a light water spray on a daily basis, being careful not to overdo it and create damp leaves where fungal diseases will thrive. Alternatively, you could use a pebble tray or humidifier to increase the moisture content of the air.
This plant works well as a houseplant because it likes average household room temperatures ranging from 60-75° F. Keep the plant away from areas where it might experience cold drafts, such as open windows or entryways. It should also be kept away from sources of heat such as stoves or heating vents. The plant is not frost-resistant, and if kept outside, it should be brought inside if temperatures drop lower than 55° F (Royal Horticultural Society).
This plant is attractive all year round thanks to its interesting foliage, but the flowers only bloom during summer. They range in color from white, pink, orange, and red and appear in pendulous clusters that droop down from the plant’s stems. The flowers themselves have a waxy texture, and they rely on good lighting, and frequent fertilizer feedings high in phosphorus to bloom. Once flowers fade, you should pinch them off at the base to encourage new flower production.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the best indoor place for an angel wing begonia?
Angel wing begonias do well near an east or west window where the light will be strong during part of the day. They might get sunburned in a south facing window, and a north window might be too cold.
When should I start pruning my plant?
You can start pruning your angel wing begonia plant when it is about a foot tall. Pruning will encourage the formation of added branches and provide cuttings for propagation.
Angel Wing Begonia Varieties
The Angel Wing Begonia was named for its foliage, which is shaped like the wings of angels. The foliage is very attractive and usually features variations in the form of spots of frosted patterns, often with the underside of the leaves being a maroon color. The plant is a cross between the Begonia aconitifolia and the Begonia coccinea, which was created by a Californian plant breeder in the 1920s. Other varieties of begonia include the following.
Begonia ‘Super Cascade’
This begonia features elaborate showy blooms that can measure up to 5 inches across. This plant works well in hanging baskets as the pendulous flowers droop down in a very dramatic way. The plant features flowers that have smaller double blooms surrounded by four larger petals to create an extravagant bloom.
Begonia ‘Apricot Shades’
This begonia flowers so heavily that during the height of the blooming season that the foliage can hardly be spotted underneath all of the flowers. The pretty apricot-colored blooms are some of the largest of any begonia variety, and they persist all summer long.
Begonia ‘Million Kisses Elegance’
The flowers of this plant are quite minimal and understated, which is unlike most other begonias. The pale pink flowers bloom heavily on dainty arching stems and give off a very elegant appearance (Gardeners World Magazine).