The Angel Wing Begonia is a popular houseplant with colorful dark green angel wing-shaped leaves laced with metallic silver specks and a deep red underside. These beautiful patterns will guarantee to give you an indoor spectacle throughout the year. This beautiful foliage then produces a hanging cluster of flowers in pink, red, white, or orange color varieties.
However, the beauty of this easy-to-care plant will depend on the attention you offer, especially lighting and water.
To grow and care for angel wing begonia plants, here are conditions you should provide.
- Watering: angel wing begonia is a water-hungry plant that requires watering daily or at least twice a week during summer.
- Light: it loves bright light.
- Temperature: it thrives in temperatures between 60oF and 75oF (15.5oC to 23.8oC).
- Soil: use fertile, heavy soil that can hold fertilizer and moisture for a long time.
Angel wing begonia is a sensitive species that will appreciate every care and attention you provide. For instance, lighting will affect the intensity and beauty of the flowers during summer bloom.
Let’s discuss the best care procedures listed below:
Taking careful consideration of these conditions will give you a beautiful angel wing begonia plant that decorates your house or office throughout the year.
The soil needs to remain consistently moist but not soggy. Since it is a sensitive plant, you must find a perfect balance between soil drainage, temperature, and watering. If it is too hot, like in the summer, the plant will require frequent watering, which could be as much as several ml per day, unlike winter, when the frequency and amount of water should be reduced.
Too much watering may, however, lead to soggy soil. Ensure that the soil drains well before the next session. If you are using a small pot, the top 1 inch should be dry before watering. A large container will hold more water, meaning that the plant can survive with 2-3 inches of a dry top layer before watering.
The leaves of angel wing begonia will send a signal if you reduce watering by turning yellow and folding. While you may revive some wilting plants by watering them, it might be too late for others. Soggy soil will result in root rot, a disease that can only be cured by repotting if you act before it’s too late.
The native environments of begonia plants in Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia are incredibly humid. Angel wing begonia, therefore, prefers highly moist surroundings to thrive. It would benefit from plant grouping where different species or a bush of begonias would trap humidity in a cluster.
Humidity indoors could be a challenge for many houseplants because AC systems keep the environment hot and dry. Misting once or twice a week will provide the moisture needed to keep the begonia leaves looking fresh and shiny. A petri dish with water and some pebbles at the foot of the plant will give natural evaporation that keeps the air around the plant humid.
A humidifier will also help you to maintain the right moisture around angel wing begonia leaves. If the air around the plant is too dry, such insects as scales and mites will perch on the leaves. Low humidity also affects the beauty of leaves and blooming flowers.
The Angel Wing Begonia is a heavy feeder that will love nutrient-rich soil. The extensive roots system, tall stem, and thick foliage require a lot of nitrogen to grow. The best natural soil to use is the African violet mix.
The potting mixture should provide sufficient air for the roots to thrive. Choose a light soil variety that drains quickly to protect your houseplant from root rot arising from soggy soil. However, while the soil drains adequately, it must retain the necessary nutrients required to support the robust foliage associated with this plant.
Angel wing begonia requires a large pot or a lot of soil to support its massive frame. If the bowl is too small or it does not contain enough soil, you will experience stunted growth, poor blooming, and yellowing of the leaves. Overall, the best soil for angel wing begonia plants is one that drains efficiently while still retaining the necessary nutrients for foliage growth.
Angel wing begonia loves bright light and can withstand such a shine throughout the year. However, do not subject the plant to the direct hot sun for too long. It is recommended that you take the plant away from heated window panes because they scald the leaves.
The leaves act like graceful flowers throughout the year but depend on light to enhance their beauty. Expert gardeners recommend the change of lighting conditions in case your plant presents blooming challenges. Part of the changes would be to take the potted angel wing begonia into a more lit environment.
Luckily for many houseplant owners, angel wing begonia can survive with direct light and sunshine more than many other flower species. You only need to balance lighting with temperature and humidity. When placed in an adequately lit environment, you will have a magnificent flower throughout the year.
Like a typical begonia, angel wing begonia loves a warm environment. It is easy to achieve this temperature indoors because they are within what an ordinary person requires. Warm weather also helps the flower to produce more of the plush leaves and increase the intensity of blooming.
The angel wing begonia will thrive in an average room temperature of between 60oF and 80oF (15.5oC and 26.6oC). However, night and winter temperatures that do not go below 55oF (12.7oC) would still be tolerable. The low temperatures should not be prolonged or come during the summer when the plant is experiencing robust growth.
The temperature will affect some of the crucial growth processes associated with angel wing begonia. When the temperature is right, you get robust, growing leaves and a beautiful bloom. If the temperatures are not favorable, the leaves lose their glamor, and the optimum size will not be achieved.
Advanced Care for Angel Wing Begonia
Angel wing begonia leaves have sufficient leeway for error as well as room to get a better bloom. This bloom comes from going the extra mile through such actions as pest prevention, fertilizer application, and repotting, among other procedures. Let us look at the extra care that angel wing begonia needs to give you a more beautiful bloom and plush foliage, shall we?
Angel wing begonia is a heavy feeder that can only thrive in fertile soil. Because of the robust foliage, the fertilizer you utilize must contain a higher percentage of nitrogen. Nitrogen is especially needed during potting to promote root growth and during the robust seasons between spring and summer.
Fertilizer is best applied alongside water and diluted to quarter strength for sprinkling once a week. Compost will also serve the purpose and come with the additional benefits of enhancing aeration and promoting drainage. Too much fertilizer will, however, alter the chemical composition of the potting mixture or soil, interfering with the absorption of other nutrients.
The flowering season requires phosphorus-rich fertilizer to enhance the quality of bloom. The phosphorus-rich fertilizer is applied in late spring and during winter in time for robust blooming. Unlike other plants, angel wing begonia requires fertilizer during winter, albeit at quarter strength and a reduced frequency.
Angel wing begonia will grow tall and leggy in the absence of pruning or when you delay pruning. This pruning exercise is meant to control the intensity of foliage and promote flowering instead of the growth of more leaves. You will also achieve a compact yet bushy begonia with pruning.
Pruning is done by cutting off the old woody stem at the base. The best time to prune the angel wing begonia is at the beginning of spring when the plant is experiencing robust growth. The removal of old leaves and stem will result in healthy growth that keeps your plant looking young and fresh.
The roots of an angel wing begonia plant grow fast and will soon fill the pot. Root rot out of soggy soil or contamination from the use of chemical fertilizer are the other reasons why repotting is necessary. Repotting will also ignite fresh life into the plant, due to its fresh nutrients, helping it to thrive.
Repotting is best done during spring because it is warm, and the plant will naturally regrow. It should happen two to three years after the first planting session or any other time you feel the need to improve the growth conditions of your plant.
Angel wing begonia is propagated using cuttings. Remove a 2-3 inch leaf tip cutting that does not yet have a bloom and insert it into the prepared potting mixture. Keep the soil warm and add rooting hormones, though most begonias will root without such support.
The cutting may also be dipped in enhanced rooting water for 2-3 weeks until the roots appear. Once the roots are more than an inch long, you can transfer into a pot then pour the potting mixture. Using water will take longer but is still an effective method to use for propagation.
Angel wing begonia produces some of the most beautiful flowers among house plants. While the leaves look like a flower, this plant gets one of the most beautiful blooms in summer. It comes in a variety of colors ranging from red to pink, white, and orange.
A little more light will enhance the beauty of a begonia bloom. This beauty can also be improved by adding phosphorus fertilizer during spring. Pruning the dead and fading flowers will also highlight the beauty of the new ones.
Pest and Disease Prevention
Mealybugs are the greatest threat to your angel wing begonia. They are common if the temperature is too high and humidity is low. Use insecticidal soap or green solutions to avoid damaging the colorful leaves.
Leaf spot and root rot are common diseases if the plant stays too long in soggy soil. Too much humidity will also cause infections on the leaves. Monitor heat and humidity conditions and use fungicidal solutions- commercial or homemade- to treat these diseases.
Frequently Asked Questions About Angel Wing Begonias
How tall do angel wing begonias get?
Angel wing begonia can grow up to a height of 6 feet (1.83m). However, the final size will depend on the amount of light, watering, and pruning habits. Cutting canes and pinching out top growth can lower their heights.
Are angel wings and dragon wings begonias the same?
No. The names ‘angel wing’ and ‘dragon wing’ are used to describe the shape of the wings that identify the two species. However, their growth habits and requirements are almost similar.
Why are the leaves falling off my angel wing begonia?
You could be overwatering the plant or depriving it of necessary fertilizer. Check if the leaves are too wet, leading to leaf rot disease.
Are angel wing begonias perennial?
Begonias are perennial. They grow throughout the year indoors and bloom in summer. However, they do not tolerate frost and snow.
Can I save my begonia for next year?
Begonia will grow throughout the year indoors. However, if you need to save your outdoor begonias, cut the tubers before the onset of hard frost. Store these tubers in a dark, calm, and dry place until the next season.
Do begonias like coffee grounds?
Peat moss soil is the best for begonias. Do not add coffee grounds indoors or outdoors. However, you may mix it with compost to provide the necessary nutrients during potting or repotting.
What plants grow well with begonias?
The fine texture of ferns makes them an excellent pairing for the bold blooms of begonias. When planting, any begonia variety will look good with Lady Ferns but our favorite combination is apricot & scarlet begonias mixed and topped off by scarlet double begonias.
Is an angel wing begonia poisonous?
The National Capital Poison Center reports that begonias, especially their tubers, are highly poisonous to household pets such as dogs and cats. The plants contain insoluble oxalates, which can be lethal for our furry friends if ingested.
What are the most popular varieties of the begonia plant?
- Wax begonias: the variety loves the shade, is colorful, and will grow between 6-12 inches wide.
- Begonia maculata: it is also known as polka dot begonia because of its distinctive leaves. It has angel-like leaves with a rusty red backside and is easy to grow.
- Tuberous begonias: they are colorful and showy. They thrive while hanging from baskets where they could grow up to 3 feet (0.91m) tall.
- Rex begonias: they are finicky and have distinct foliage. They combine perfectly with fern and such semi-shade plants to give you the most beautiful summer flower bed.