Angel wing begonias are beautiful plants that add color and interest to any garden. They are also easy to care for and require minimal maintenance.
If you want to learn how to grow angel wing begonias, then keep reading. Here’s everything you need to know about the basic requirements on how to care for the angel wing begonia houseplant.
Angel Wing Begonia Overview
The Angel Wing Begonias are among the easiest begonias to cultivate. Native to Brazil and South America, it’s a member of the Begoniaceae family. This perennial shrub, is known botanically as the begonia aconitifolia x begonia coccinea. They are the result of Eva Kenworthy Gray’s hybridizing of begonias in 1926 in her California home.
The begonia family is quite large with over 1500 named species. The angel wing begonia has been hybridized extensively, so there are dozens upon dozens of available hybrids.
These cane begonia plants are characterized by long stems with joints of both foliage and flower blooms sprouting from the joints.
Large, dark green leaves shaped like “angel wings” are speckled with silver and are red underneath. This plant can grow to become quite large, so canes should be staked for support and to help avoid any damage.
The vividness of blooms will be influenced by the amount of light the plant has access to. Blooms appear in pendulous clusters in pink, orange, white, and red tints.
These plants can remain small, 10-12 inches tall, for a tabletop perch or grow to five feet in height with the appearance of a shrub-like houseplant.
Angel Wing Begonia Plant Care Guide
Soil for the Angel Wing Begonia
Angel wing begonia plants do well in loose potting soil mix that is enriched with lots of organic matter. The soil bed should be kept moist but should not be allowed to become soggy or water-logged.
Plant your begonia in a terracotta or clay pot, as opposed to plastic, to help with wicking away excess moisture.
If you happen to be growing African Violets, you can also use African Violet soil mix like these on Amazon. Or they can also be cultivated in soilless mediums as long as they are rich in organic matter.
Light for the Angel Wing Begonia
The angel wing begonia loves indirect, bright light all year long. Avoid direct sunlight or their leaves can scorch. They may not be as sensitive as other houseplants, including other begonias.
Good, indirect light conditions will contribute to more vivid colors in the leaves and flowers.
You can grow them outdoors in the spring and summer months. Keep them in the shade though or they’ll get scorched in direct sunlight.
If you prefer to cultivate your plant for foliage, you can place it in a shaded location to keep the flower production down. If the light is too strong, leaves will begin to brown.
Temperature for the Angel Wing Begonia
When growing the angel wing begonia indoors, keep your indoor temperature moderate and set it between 65° and 75° Fahrenheit.
If you expose this plant to temperatures of 50° F or below, it can be fatal. They should be kept away from potentially drafty locations such as doorways, windows, hallways, air conditioning units, and heating vents.
Water and Humidity for the Angel Wing Begonia
Angel wing begonias like moist soil, so be sure to keep an eye for dry soil. When the top inch of the soil bed is dry to your touch, soak your plant and allow it to drain completely before returning it to its location. When overwatered, the leaves will start turning yellow.
These plants also love humidity. You can place your begonia in a humid room, such as a bathroom or a kitchen. If your home tends to have dry air, a space humidifier can resolve the problem.
Other helpful humidity aids include placing a pebble tray with water underneath the plant. Fill a tray with a selection of pebbles or stones and then add water. The plant should sit on the pebble tray but above the waterline, so the container isn’t sitting in the water. Otherwise, the soil will become soggy.
Another option is to place a small bowl filled with water near the plant. Grouping plants together will also create a microclimate, raising the humidity level.
Note that wet leaves can lead to Leaf Spot Disease or Powdery Mildew, so avoid wetting the leaves during watering. Good air circulation can also help prevent mildew and mold.
Fertilizer for the Angel Wing Begonia
A liquid fertilizer NPK of 10-10-10 to half-strength should be used to feed your plant bi-weekly. In late winter or early spring, when the flowering season begins, use a fertilizer higher in phosphorous to encourage flowering.
Should you want to cultivate your begonia for larger leaves, use a fertilizer higher in nitrogen. Fertilize your plant when the soil is moist to prevent leaf burn.
Pruning and Repotting the Angel Wing Begonia
The angel wing begonia can get leggy during growth if the environmental conditions are not ideal. Pruning is the best way to prevent them from becoming too leggy and floppy.
To prune, cut below a cane joint. This will provide you with cuttings and encourage bushier growth in the parent plant. Trellises, poles, and stakes can help keep the plant’s longer canes from tumbling over under the weight of foliage.
Like many other houseplants, the angel wing begonia thrives when it is slightly root-bound. You should repot them yearly in the spring when you notice a bit of new growth.
When repotting, move your plant to a pot one size larger. A begonia that is in full bloom should not be repotted though.
Propagating the Angel Wing Begonia
The angel wing begonia is propagated by using stem cuttings. When spring rolls around and there’s new growth:
- Gently take a four to eight inch leaf-tip cutting without flowers on it.
- Place the cut end into a soil bed.
- Keep you cutting in a warm location with a moist soil bed until you notice new growth.
While not necessary, the use of rooting hormone can improve chances of success.
Angel Wing Begonia Common Plant Pests and Diseases
The angel wing begonia is susceptible to common houseplant pests including whiteflies, aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs.
If you see an insect infestation, isolate the begonia and treat it with insecticidal soap, or an organic insecticide such as neem oil. Repeat treatment until there are no more signs of the pests.
Should you notice Leaf Spot Disease, treat your begonia with a fungicide or try a homemade remedy of a tablespoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of mineral oil. Add to a spray water bottle and shake, mixing well before spraying the entire plant.
Angel Wing Begonia Toxicity and Pets
Begonias are toxic to cats and dogs because they contain soluble calcium oxalates. Signs of begonia poisoning include excessive salivation and vomiting.
If you suspect your house pet has ingested a part of your begonia, contact your veterinarian or local poison control center immediately.
Angel Wing Begonia Care Final Thoughts
The angel wing begonias are easy to grow and maintain. This is a lovely flowering plant for any home or office. They require little care but do need some attention occasionally.
The most important thing about growing this beautiful houseplant is enjoying its beauty while it lasts!
For other great houseplants, check out these articles:
- Begonia Maculata (Polka Dot) Care Guide
- Strawberry Begonia Care Guide
- Prayer Plant Care Guide
- Philodendron Care Guide
Angel Wing Begonia Care FAQs
How do you care for an Angel Wing Begonia?
Angel wing begonias are easy to grow. They prefer a well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Water regularly during the growing season, so the soil is moist, but not soggy. Angel wing begonias do best in bright indirect light. Temperatures should be moderate.
How do you take care of Angel Wing Begonias in the winter?
In the winter, care for the angel wing begonias indoors. In the morning and afternoon, you can take the plants outside for bright, indirect light if the temperatures are 60°F or above. Do not expose the roots to cold air. Keep the plants lightly watered and fertilized throughout the winter months because they don’t go dormant. If frost threatens, cover the pots with plastic wrap. Remove the wrapping once the weather warms up again.
Can Angel Wing Begonias grow outside?
Yes, angel wing begonias will tolerate outdoor conditions. Avoid direct sunlight; instead, place them under shade cloth or trees. The only problem that may occur is root rot from overwatering. To avoid problems, keep them evenly moist at all times. If the weather in your area goes below 50°F in the winter, you may want to bring them indoors.
What kind of fertilizer does an Angel Wing Begonia like?
Angel wing begonias like liquid fertilizers with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) of 10-10-10 that’s diluted to half-strength. Feed your plant on a bi-weekly basis in the late winter or early spring.
How do you keep Angel Wing Begonia bushy?
To keep angel wing begonias bushy, pinch off flower buds as soon as they appear. Pinching and pruning encourages more branching growth. As you prune, it will grow back to be more compact and bushy.
Should I mist my Angel Wing Begonia?
Angel wing begonias love humidity and warm temperatures, misting is good for it. Mist every 1-2 weeks during hot summer days.
Why do the begonia leaves curl?
Begonia leaves will curl when the plant is lacking nutrients. Insufficient light and temperature may could also be another reason for the curling. Insect damage can also lead to the leaves curling.