Angel Wing begonia [be-GON-yuh] is a flowering plant producing clusters of colorful coral-red flowers.
It’s a hybrid begonia, created from a cross between Begonia coccinea and Begonia aconitifolia.
There are many named hybrids and various species loosely falling into the cane-type category.
A California plant breeder made this hybridization in 1926.
The begonias belong to the Begoniaceae family of plants and mostly come from South and Central America.
The hybrid begonia received its name due to its large, angel-wing shaped leaves.
It’s also called a hanging begonia due to its long stems with joints.
The angel wing begonia is an easy plant to care for, provided it gets enough sunlight. Check out the Dragon Wing Begonia as another option.
Angel Wing Begonia Care
Size and Growth
Unlike the begonias commonly grown for ground cover, the angel-wing begonia is a type of cane begonia.
The plant is a vigorous grower.
As indoor plants, they grow on cane-like stalks reaching 4’ – 6’ feet and up to 15’ feet outdoors.
The angel-wing begonia is suited for USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11, where it can grow outdoors as an evergreen.
It produces shiny green leaves growing in pairs on the thin stalks.
The undersides are often reddish while the tops feature white or silver markings.
Flowering and Fragrance
The angel-wing begonia flowers in the late spring or early summer and produces clusters of pinkish-red flowers.
The flowers don’t have a scent and tend to last throughout the season.
While the flowers are interesting, the attractive tropical foliage provides the main reason for growing this plant.
Light and Temperature
These begonias need lots of bright light, but not direct sunlight.
The direct light can scorch the leaves, causing permanent damage.
The plant grows best in temperatures in the upper 60’s during the winter.
In the summer, temperatures should be at least 70° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C).
Bright light is best and during the winter some morning or late afternoon sun indirect light is fine.
They’re not as sensitive to direct light as Rex begonias but cannot handle direct sunlight like wax begonia can.
Watering and Feeding
Water the plant regularly year-round, keeping the soil evenly moist.
It also needs regular feeding throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
Dilute a liquid fertilizer with water, creating a 50/50 mixture.
Use the fertilizer with each watering, except during the winter.
Underwatering is a common mistake people make when cultivating the special angel-wing begonia.
If watered properly, the plant may live for many years.
Soil and Transplanting
Plant the angel-wing begonia in soil with good drainage.
A commercial potting mix such as African violets ready-made mix works best.
To make the potting soil at home, combine equal parts of sand, peat moss, leaf mold, and compost.
The plant only needs transplanting if it outgrows its small pot, transplant to a larger pot when needed.
Freshening the top layer of soil each early spring can help provide the plants with additional nutrients.
To create bushier new growth, trim back the stems.
Trim any time of the year and save the trimming for propagation.
How to Propagate Angel-Wing
Propagate angel-wing begonia using leaf cuttings.
There are two ways to take cuttings.
The first option is to take whole leaves before they mature.
- When the leaves are about 3” – 4” inches long, trim them along with a bit of the stalk.
- Plant the stalk in moist peat moss and cover with plastic or glass.
- Ensure the cover provides ventilation and set in a warm room.
- After two to three weeks, new plants should start to grow around the edges of the leaves.
- When these young plants appear firm, transplant them to their pots.
Another option is to take cuttings from a large leaf.
- Trim a fully mature leaf and then cut it into triangles along the veins.
- You should get four to five cuttings per mature leaf.
- Use the same process for these cuttings.
- Plant them in moist peat moss soil and cover.
- After the young plants begin to grow, transplant into their containers.
You want a node or more on the stem where a new flower will begin to grow.
The stem cutting should be placed in water or in perlite (use a root growing powder with perlite) until growth appears then go about repotting in new soil.
Angel wing begonia plants seem to thrive when they are slightly pot-bound.
A. Begonia Pests or Disease Problems?
Spider mites may threaten the health of the plant.
- Stop infestations with insecticide.
- Black or brown patches on the leaves indicate rot caused by poor air circulation or high humidity.
- Move the plant to an airier spot with brighter light.
- Keep infected plants away from your other houseplants.
Mildew is not the problem with angel-wings like it is with other begonias.
- If the leaf spots are large and brown, they may be scorch marks.
- Scorch marks appear when the plant sits in a window with direct sunlight.
- Prune the damaged leaves away and move the plant to a shadier spot.
Scorch marks may also appear when the plant doesn’t get enough moisture.
- Water more frequently or start misting the plant daily.
- If the leaves start to turn yellow or brown near the centers, it’s still getting too much sun.
- Give it more shade.
Besides the issues discussed, the plant is also toxic to pets.
Keep it away from dogs and cats.
Suggested Uses For Angelwing Begonia
Grow angel-wing begonia from a hanging basket or place on a pedestal, allowing the hanging stems to droop down.
The dragon wing begonia houseplant is beautiful all year-round.
It also looks great grown with other begonias or in a collection of other tropical plants.