Angel Wing Begonia Indoor Plant Care & Growing Guide
Updated: 02 Oct, 2023
Cane-type begonias stand out as some of the most effortlessly cultivated and high-performing begonias. Their cultivation is surpassed only by wax begonias in terms of simplicity, and their aesthetic appeal is unrivaled.
Among the most iconic begonia varieties are the angel wing begonias, originating from Brazil. These plants feature upright stems adorned with captivatingly speckled leaves, offering a striking array of colors and a splendid profusion of blossoms.
While not overly demanding, they do have a few fundamental requirements for successful growth. With proper care, they can thrive indoors throughout the year, exhibiting noticeable progress within just six weeks.
What Are Angel Wing Begonias?
Angel wing begonias (Begonia coccinea), also referred to as cane begonias, are a perennial shrub variety known for their robust, upright stems and foliage resembling folded wings. Native to South America, these plants exhibit year-round growth and can attain impressive heights, often surpassing eight feet.
When cultivated as indoor houseplants, angel wing begonias thrive in bright, indirect light or partial shade. They flourish in hanging baskets or pots filled with nutrient-rich soil. These tropical plants particularly appreciate environments with elevated humidity levels and prefer room temperatures that range from mild to moderate.
|Begonia x corallina
|Angel wing begonia
|12-30 in. tall, 12-24 in. wide
|Moist but well-drained
|Neutral to acidic
|Summer, early fall
|Pink, red, white, orange
|Toxic to dogs and cats
Angel Wing Begonia Care
While other begonias may demand a more delicate touch, angel wing begonias thrive in indoor environments, as long as they receive the necessary warmth and humidity. In the winter, they can even withstand some direct sunlight and make for a stunning addition to a windowsill alongside a collection of winter-blooming plants, including their close relative, the rieger begonia. Placing the plants at eye level ensures you can fully appreciate their distinctive appearance. It’s worth noting that these plants can grow quite large and may develop slightly fragile stems over time. To safeguard their canes and preserve the allure of their foliage, consider staking up larger specimens.
Angel wing begonias thrive in bright, indirect light year-round. They are less sensitive to direct light compared to rex begonias but cannot tolerate the intense sunlight that wax begonias can. If you prefer your plant not to bloom, placing it in a partially shaded location will promote growth without producing flowers.
Plant your angel wing begonia in a moist (but not waterlogged) soil mixture rich in organic matter. A slightly “heavy” soil will facilitate the establishment of the plant’s extensive root system and provide proper support for its tall stems. To prevent excessive moisture retention, consider using a terracotta or clay pot, which helps wick away any surplus water.
Maintain a consistent level of moisture for your angel wing begonias. If the edges of their leaves start to brown, it’s a sign they need more water. Once the soil dries about an inch from the surface, thoroughly saturate the plant and allow excess water to drain.
As Angel Wing Begonias grow, they may become top-heavy. Provide stakes or trellises to support the stems and prevent them from bending or breaking.
Temperature and Humidity
For indoor cultivation, maintain temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below 50 degrees poses a risk to the plant’s survival, at the very least causing leaf damage. Protect your plant from harsh drafts or breezes, such as those from an open window in winter or an air conditioner in summer.
In addition to comfortable temperatures, angel wing begonias thrive in a humid environment. Regularly misting the plant will help maintain its moisture levels, and consider placing it in a naturally humid room like the kitchen or bathroom. If your home tends to be particularly dry, consider using a small space humidifier near your plant.
To encourage optimal growth and vibrant color, feed your plant with a liquid fertilizer at quarter strength on a weekly basis, or at half strength biweekly. During the blooming season (late winter or spring), switch to a high-phosphorus fertilizer to enhance the likelihood of flowering.
Potting and Repotting:
Repot your Angel Wing Begonia every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its current container. Spring is the ideal time for repotting.
Regularly remove any dead or yellowing leaves to promote new growth and maintain the plant’s overall health.
Under the right conditions, Angel Wing Begonias produce clusters of delicate, wing-shaped flowers. Proper care, including consistent light and humidity, can encourage blooming.
Angel Wing Begonia Varieties
Angel wing begonias (Begonia coccinea) encompass a diverse range of cultivars, each offering unique leaf patterns, colors, and growth habits. Here are some popular varieties:
Begonia coccinea ‘Lucerna’: This variety is known for its glossy, dark green leaves with red undersides. It produces clusters of red or pink flowers.
Begonia coccinea ‘Nigricans’: Noted for its dark, almost black, foliage, ‘Nigricans’ provides a striking contrast with its bright red or pink blossoms.
Begonia coccinea ‘Wightii’: This cultivar features leaves with a distinctive silver speckling on a dark green background. It produces clusters of pink or red flowers.
Begonia coccinea ‘Torch’: ‘Torch’ has eye-catching, elongated leaves with bright green centers and red edges, resembling a flame. Its flowers are typically coral or pink.
Begonia coccinea ‘Cleopatra’: This variety boasts deeply lobed, dark green leaves with silver speckles. Its flowers are usually bright pink or red.
Begonia coccinea ‘Alba’: As the name suggests, ‘Alba’ features white flowers, providing a unique contrast to its typically dark green foliage.
Begonia coccinea ‘Big Lou’: ‘Big Lou’ is known for its large, glossy leaves with a bronze-red hue. It produces clusters of red or pink flowers.
Begonia coccinea ‘Curly Fireflush’: This cultivar is recognized for its wavy, curled leaves with dark green centers and red edges. It produces vibrant red or pink blooms.
Begonia coccinea ‘Brazilian Lady’: This variety showcases silver-spotted, dark green leaves with a red hue underneath. Its flowers are typically pink or red.
Begonia coccinea ‘Wardii’: ‘Wardii’ features dark green, slightly toothed leaves with a red hue underneath. It produces clusters of pink or red flowers.
These varieties offer a wide array of options for enthusiasts and collectors, allowing them to choose based on personal preferences and desired aesthetics. Keep in mind that individual care requirements may vary slightly, so it’s always a good idea to research the specific needs of the chosen variety.
Potting and Repotting Angel Wing Begonia
Potting and repotting angel wing begonias is a crucial aspect of their care. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you through the process:
Potting Angel Wing Begonias:
- Choose the Right Pot: Opt for a well-draining pot that is slightly larger than the current root ball. Ensure it has drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging.
- Select a Well-Draining Soil: Use a high-quality, well-draining potting mix. You can either buy a commercial mix suitable for begonias or create a blend of equal parts perlite, peat moss, and orchid bark.
- Prepare the Pot: Place a layer of small stones or broken pottery at the bottom of the pot to further enhance drainage.
- Posithion the Plant: Gently remove the begonia from its current pot. Be careful not to damage the roots. Position it in the center of the new pot, ensuring it sits at the same depth as it did in the previous container.
- Fill with Soil: Fill in the gaps around the root ball with the prepared potting mix, pressing it gently to eliminate air pockets. Leave some space at the top to allow for watering.
- Water Thoroughly: Give the plant a good watering to settle the soil. Allow any excess water to drain out of the bottom.
- Place in Optimal Conditions: Ensure the begonia receives indirect sunlight and maintains the appropriate temperature and humidity levels.
Repotting Angel Wing Begonias:
- Timing: Repot angel wing begonias when they outgrow their current container, typically every 2-3 years in the spring.
- Gentle Extraction: Carefully remove the begonia from its pot, being mindful not to damage the roots.
- Inspect Roots: Examine the roots for signs of damage, disease, or overcrowding. Trim away any dead or diseased roots.
- Select a Larger Pot: Choose a new pot that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the current one. Ensure it has proper drainage.
- Repotting Process: Follow the same steps as potting, placing the begonia at the same depth it was in the previous pot.
- Water and Settle: Water thoroughly and let excess water drain. Allow the plant to acclimate to its new environment.
Common Pests and Diseases
Angel wing begonias, like many plants, can be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Here are some of the common issues you may encounter:
Mealybugs: These small, cottony insects can cluster on the leaves and stems, sapping the plant’s energy.
Aphids: They are tiny, pear-shaped insects that feed on the sap of the plant, causing wilting and deformation of leaves.
Whiteflies: These small, flying insects congregate on the undersides of leaves, causing yellowing and stunted growth.
Spider Mites: These are minuscule arachnids that create fine webs and feed on the plant’s sap, leading to discoloration and wilting.
Thrips: These slender insects feed on plant juices, causing distorted growth and discolored spots on leaves.
Powdery Mildew: A fungal disease that appears as a white, powdery substance on the leaves, often caused by high humidity and poor air circulation.
Botrytis Blight: Another fungal disease, it manifests as gray-brown spots on leaves and flowers, often occurring in damp conditions.
Root Rot: This is typically caused by overwatering or poorly draining soil, leading to the roots becoming waterlogged and rotting.
Bacterial Leaf Spot: This disease causes dark, water-soaked spots on the leaves, often due to overwatering and splashing water on the leaves.
Crown Gall: A bacterial disease that leads to the formation of rough, tumor-like growths on the stems and roots.
Prevention and Treatment:
Regular Inspection: Regularly inspect your begonia for signs of pests or diseases. Early detection is key to effective treatment.
Isolation: If you notice any issues, isolate the affected plant to prevent the spread of pests or diseases to other plants.
Prune Infected Areas: Remove and dispose of any infected leaves or stems to prevent the spread of diseases.
Proper Watering: Ensure you water your begonia appropriately, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to prevent root rot.
Provide Good Air Circulation: Adequate airflow around the plant can help prevent fungal diseases like powdery mildew and botrytis blight.
Natural Predators or Insecticidal Soap: Introduce beneficial insects or use insecticidal soap to combat pest problems.
Prevention is often the best defense against pests and diseases. By maintaining a healthy growing environment and keeping a watchful eye on your angel wing begonia, you can help ensure it remains vibrant and thriving.
What is an Angel Wing Begonia?
Angel Wing Begonia is a popular species of begonia known for its distinctive wing-shaped leaves and vibrant flowers. It is native to Brazil and is a favorite among indoor gardeners.
How do I care for an Angel Wing Begonia?
Angel Wing Begonias thrive in bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. They prefer consistent moisture but should not be overwatered. Regular pruning and fertilizing can also help maintain their health and shape.
Can I grow Angel Wing Begonias outdoors?
Yes, Angel Wing Begonias can be grown outdoors in temperate climates. They prefer partial shade and protection from harsh sunlight and extreme temperatures.
What are common pests and diseases for Angel Wing Begonias?
Common pests include spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids. Begonias are also susceptible to powdery mildew and botrytis. Regular inspection and early treatment are key to keeping them healthy.
How often should I water my Angel Wing Begonia?
Angel Wing Begonias prefer to be kept evenly moist. Water when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch, but be careful not to let the plant sit in waterlogged soil.
Can I propagate Angel Wing Begonias?
Yes, Angel Wing Begonias can be propagated through stem cuttings. Simply cut a healthy stem with a leaf attached, allow it to callus, and then plant it in soil or water.
Do Angel Wing Begonias bloom?
Yes, Angel Wing Begonias produce clusters of delicate flowers that hang down from their stems. The flowers come in various colors and add to the plant’s ornamental appeal.
Can I keep an Angel Wing Begonia as a houseplant?
Angel Wing Begonias make excellent houseplants. They thrive in indoor environments with bright, indirect light and can be grown in pots or hanging baskets.
Angel Wing Begonias are fascinating and beautiful plants that can thrive both indoors and outdoors with proper care. Their distinctive wing-shaped leaves and vibrant blossoms make them a popular choice among gardeners. By providing them with the right conditions – including bright, indirect light, well-draining soil, and consistent moisture – you can enjoy their natural beauty in your home or garden.
Regular maintenance, such as pruning and monitoring for pests and diseases, is essential for keeping Angel Wing Begonias healthy and flourishing. Remember to water them when the top inch of soil is dry and avoid overwatering to prevent root rot. Additionally, consider propagating them through stem cuttings to expand your begonia collection.