Angel wing begonia (Begonia coccinea) is a lovely plant with heart-shaped leaves that resemble folded angel wings. Though angel wing begonias can be grown for their blossoms, their beautiful green leaves make them desirable even without flowers.
Quick Facts on Angel Wing Begonias
- Common name: Angel wing begonia
- Botanical name: Begonia coccinea
- Type of plant: perennial flowering plants; perennial shrub
- Native areas: South America
- Sun exposure: partial shade; indirect light
- Size upon maturity: 12 to 30 in. tall, 12 to 24 in. wide
- Type of soil and pH level: neutral to acidic; 7 pH
- Hardiness zones: 10 to 11 USDA
- Bloom time: summer; early fall
- Color of flowers: pink, red, white, orange
- Vulnerable to: powdery mildew; root and stem rot; mealybugs; whiteflies; spider mites
- Toxicity: toxic to dogs and cats
Everything About the Angel Wing Begonia Plant
A gorgeous plant that makes an excellent addition to any home, the angel wing begonia plants are native to South America. They have long been popular as indoor plants. They are easy to care for and can also be great gifts for plant lovers.
Angel wing begonias are known for their beautiful, large leaves that are shaped like folded wings. The dark green leaves are often variegated. The angel wing begonia flowers are small and bloom in the summertime. Different tropical plant varieties have pink, red, white, and orange colors.
The angel wing begonia is an instantly recognized flowering plant. This hybrid cane begonia was developed in 1926 by plant grower Eva Kenworthy Gray in California. The parent plants were Begonia aconitifolia and Begonia coccine.
How to Care for Angel Wing Begonias
Tropical plants like angel wing begonias are easy to care for and require minimal attention from their owners. They are very versatile plants because they can be grown indoors or outdoors.
Here are some angel wing begonia care tips for you to consider:
Angel wing begonias prefer bright, indirect light. If you are planning to bring the plant indoors, place them near a window where they will get plenty of bright light but will not be in direct sun. Too much direct sunlight will cause the leaves to turn yellow or brown. If you plant a begonia in partial shade, it will not bloom, and its stems will become long and bare—giving it a leggy look. Too-little light will hinder the flower production of your begonia plants.
The angel wing begonia plant is a tropical plant that needs warm neutral to acidic soil to grow correctly. Begonia plants need well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. A good potting mix or African violet mix with perlite will work well. The ideal pH level is 7.
If your soil is too wet, put it in a warm place with indirect sunlight for a few hours to dry it out. If your angel wing begonia plant’s leaves turn brown or yellow, it may be due to overwatering. If you think you might have overwatered your angel wing begonia plant, do not panic! You can correct this problem by letting the soil dry out slightly before watering again.
Angel wing begonias like to be kept moist but not soggy. Frequent watering will keep the soil moist. Water your angel wing begonia when the top inch of the soil is dry. Be sure to dump out any water that collects in the saucer under the pot to prevent root rot.
Humidity and Temperature
As a tropical houseplant, the angel wing begonia prefers humid conditions and temperatures between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit. If your home is on the dry side, you can increase the humidity around your plants by placing them on a pebble tray or using a humidifier. Angel wing begonia plants are frost-sensitive and will die at temperatures below fifty degrees.
Fertilize your angel wing begonia every two weeks during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. Adding high phosphorous fertilizer feed to the soil promotes flowering in angel wing begonias. During the winter months, you can cut back on fertilizing to once a month.
Pruning and Maintenance
Angel wing begonias need very little pruning. You can trim off any dead or dying leaves from your angel wing begonia as needed. These plants can also be pinched back to encourage bushy growth.
Every year or two, your angel wing begonia plants should be repotted in a fresh potting mix. They can be sensitive to root disturbance, so be careful when replanting them. Choose clay pots that are only slightly larger than the one they are currently in.
How to Propagate Angel Wing Begonias
The angel wing begonia plants are easy to propagate. All you need is a sharp knife, a rooting hormone, and some patience. Here is how to do it:
1. Cut healthy and thick stems from the mother angel wing begonia plant, making sure to include at least two sets of leaves.
2. Dip the cut end of the stem in the rooting hormone.
3. Place the stem cuttings in a pot of moistened potting soil.
4. Cover the pot (clay pots work best) with a clear plastic bag to create a mini greenhouse effect.
5. Place the pot in a bright, warm location out of direct sunlight.
6. Check on the cutting periodically, making sure the potting soil stays moist, and the plastic does not touch the leaves (this can cause them to rot).
7. After about six weeks, you should see new growth appearing at the leaf nodes. At this point, you can remove the plastic and treat the new growth like a mature plant
Angel Wing Begonia Varieties
There are many different varieties of angel wing begonias to choose from, so you are sure to find one that suits your taste. Some of the most popular Angel wing begonia cultivars include:
Begonia’ Apricot Shades’
This begonia flowers grow so heavily that during the height of the blooming season that the foliage can hardly be spotted underneath all of the flowers. This variety is known for its beautiful apricot-colored blooms.
Begonia ‘Million Kisses Elegance’
The flowers of this plant are pale pink and much smaller than those of most other begonias. The numerous fringed blooms grow on elegant arching stems that give the entire plant an airy, refined look. This variety is a compact plant that is perfect for adding a touch of elegance to any setting.
This variety of angel wing begonia is a vigorous grower that produces an abundance of cascading flowers. The pendulous flowers of this plant dangle dramatically, making it well-suited for hanging baskets.
Begonia ‘Splish Splash’
The ‘Splish Splash’ hybrid begonia has large green leaves with splashes of white. It usually blooms in shady areas, showing deep pink and magenta flowers. This variety is perfect for adding a splash of color to any garden or patio.
Begonia ‘Silver Wings’
This variety is the easiest begonias to grow and can be identified by the silver-spotted and medium-green hue on its leaves.
Begonia ‘Looking Glass’
The Begonia “Looking Glass” has silver leaves with olive green veins and will produce bright pink attractive blooms if cultivated properly.
Begonia ‘Anna Christine’
This begonia has red flowers and grows up to four feet tall. This variety of plants grows shorter than the average angel wing begonia plant.
Begonia ‘Charles Jaros’
This variety is medium in size, with silver-colored leaves and green veins. The rhizomes are erect, and it has pink flowers.
Common Pests and Problems
Just like other plants, the angel wing begonia plant is susceptible to common pests and fungal diseases. If left unchecked, they can quickly spread throughout your yard or garden and cause significant damage to other plants as well.
Check the leaves of your angel wing begonia plant every few days for signs of pests or plant diseases. If you spot any problems, treat them as soon as possible, so they do not spread to other plants in your yard or garden.
Powdery mildew is a common fungus that can affect angel wing begonias. This disease is characterized by a powdery white coating on the leaves and stems of the plant. It can weaken the plant and make it more susceptible to other problems, such as stem and root rot.
To prevent powdery mildew, allow the soil to dry out between waterings. If powdery mildew does appear, remove affected leaves and treat with a fungicide according to label directions.
Root rot and stem rot
Root and stem rot is another common problem with angel wing begonias. This disease is caused by too much moisture around the plant’s roots. The roots will start to rot, and the plant will become wilted and yellow. The leaves will also develop brown spots. Rots can kill a begonia if it is not treated quickly.
To prevent this from happening, make sure that the soil around your angel wing begonias is well drained. If it becomes too wet, the roots and stem will not be able to absorb enough water, and they will begin to rot.
Mealybugs are small, sap-sucking insects that can infest angel wing begonias. Mealybugs will often cluster on the stems and leaves of the plant, and they can cause the plant to become stunted or yellow. Mealybugs can also spread diseases from one plant to another.
You can also spray water with insecticidal soap on the leaves to control mealybugs. Using neem also prevents these pests from feeding on your angel wing begonia plant.
Whiteflies are small, winged insects that can infest angel wing begonias. Whiteflies will often cluster on the underside of the leaves of the plant, and they can cause the plant to become yellow. Whiteflies can also spread diseases from one plant to another.
To control whiteflies, wipe them off of the plant with a damp cloth. Using insecticidal soap and neem oil also helps.
Spider mites are tiny spider-like creatures that can infest angel wing begonias. They will often spin a web on the leaves of the plant, and they can cause the plant to become yellow or stunted. These mites can also spread diseases from one plant to another.
To control these pests, you can wipe each leaf with a damp cloth soaked in water and insecticidal soap. You can also use neem oil to prevent them from coming back.
Angel Wing Begonia Care FAQ
Do angel wing begonias like sun or shade?
Angel wing begonias are best grown in partial shade. They need a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day. They may grow too tall and leggy if they receive more than this.
How do you care for an angel wing begonia?
Angel wing begonias are easy to care for. They prefer well-drained soil that is moist but not soggy. If you live in a humid climate, consider using pebbles in your container to allow for better drainage. You should also fertilize angel wing begonias every two weeks during their growing season.
Is angel wing begonia an indoor or outdoor plant?
Angel wing begonias are suitable for both indoor and outdoor gardens. They prefer moist soil and bright, indirect light, so they’re a good choice for the shady areas of your yard or garden. However, if you live in an area with hot summers, consider growing them in containers that can be moved to a shadier spot during the day.
How tall do angel wing begonias get?
Angel wing begonias are generally between 6 to 24 inches tall. They can grow as tall as 24 inches under ideal conditions, but they will usually stay much smaller than that.
Angel wing begonias are an excellent choice for house plants or garden plants. They are easy to grow, do not require much care, and produce beautiful flowers that can brighten up your yard or garden. Angel wing begonias are also a good choice for beginners since they’re easy to care for and require minimal effort once they are established in your house or garden.