Angel wing Begonia are fast becoming more popular in specialty greenhouses across the country. With their many different varieties, it is easy to see why these plants are quickly gaining in popularity with gardeners. This interesting plant is a member of the Begoniaceae family and has only recently been introduced into the United States from South America.
A native of Brazil, this unusual flower was discovered by Paul F. Scheweizter in 1944 growing on sand dunes near Rio de Janerio on Mount Alto Do Cruzeiro.
The begonia was only found around sandstone cliffs which are close to an old Roman ruin. National Geographic Magazine featured an article about this location in 1959 which included photographs of the begonia growing in its natural habitat high above sea level surrounded by steep sandstone cliffs.
So, if you too are smitten by the look of angel wing begonia, and want to keep one at home, you need to know how to care for them,
How do you care for an angel wing Begonia?
Caring for angel wing Begonia is easy and the plant is a great candidate for growing in a hanging basket which will allow it to cascade down from the center of the pot.
These plants are extremely tolerant of neglect, so you can easily forget about them until you want to display them for their brilliant flowers.
This tropical perennial blooms from late spring through fall, producing showy clusters of brightly colored flowers that range from yellow with pink tips to red-violet or even purple depending on its variety.
The leaves may be dark green above and silvery below, but they come in every imaginable shape and color as well including spotted silver gray, gold-, cream-, rust-, maroon- or mahogany-variegated as well as solid colors such as dark green, bronze or red.
As far as size is concerned, some varieties can reach a height of up to three feet while others will only grow to about one foot tall and wide.
How Much Water Do Angel wing begonia Need?
Watering angel wing begonia may be done weekly with room temperature water during the growing season and on an irregular basis in wintertime when growth has slowed down.
The Angel wing begonia plants grow best when they are kept moist but not soggy; if you happen to over-water your plant, don’t panic because too much moisture won’t harm them either.
How Much Light Do Angel wing begonia Needs?
As the demand for indoor plants continues to grow, Angel wing begonia plants are a common feature in many homes today than they have ever been for years. But, how much of light levels are too low or good enough to mimic the outside where they thrive and live?
In general, Angel wing begonia need low to moderate light temperetures. They are easy to provide lighting as Angel wing begonia are commonly set on your window as a thriving potted angel wing begonia outside for the summer months under filtered shade or dappled sunlight that does not scorch its leaves.
In the winter months, angel wing begonia prefers filtered sunlight or a north window which will provide them with an adequate amount of indirect light.
Angel wing begonia do not require more than 4 hours of low to moderate light a day that’s about 40W per sq ft, but if you want to grow really big Angel wing Begonia plants then you might need supplemental lighting particularly during the darker winter months indoors.
How Do You Fertilize Angel wing begonia?
You can fertilize your angel wing begonia at least once per month as the growing season begins and only use half-strength water-soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20 diluted in water according to package directions for potted houseplants.
Fertilizing angel wing begonia too much will result in overgrown foliage and leggy looking plants due to the depletion of nutrients so remember not to apply fertilizer more than once a month.
When your plant begins to grow, fertilize it every 14 days until you see new leaves forming and remember not to apply nitrogen-rich fertilizer such as manure during wintertime because this will promote excessive growth that is likely to become spindly from lack of light.
What Is The Best Growing Medium For Angel Wing Begonia?
The best growing medium for this types of begonias are those that contain coarse chunks of bark combined with peat moss or other humus as well as perlite or vermiculite. The container should have excellent drainage holes on the bottom of it so that extra water does not remain on the soil surface.
Angel Wing Begonia plant is one of those houseplants you can place anywhere in your home because it will adapt to just about any conditions provided by its human caretaker, however, if you prefer to keep them on a sunny windowsill then they will be happy as long as you provide them with water and fertilizer on regular basis.
You need to know that all Angel wing begonia is poisonous along with their soursop fruit so it’s better not to ingest or touch them unless of course if you had no choice like when gardening.
Types Of Angel Wing Begonia Plants
There is a growing list of Angel wing begonia types that are available in the market but they can be divided into three main categories:
- Angel wing begonia with large white or red flowers that blooms all year round.
- Angel wing begonia with variegated leaves that has green leaves while some have white, yellow or pinkish color on it.
- Angel wing begonia plants with crowded leaves that looks more like a vine than a shrub because of its thin leaf stems and tendrils at their ends.
Angel wing begonia with large white or red flowers.
The Angelwing Begonia with large snow-white or Red flower is still among the most favorite Begonia plants in homes all over the world.
Angel wing begonia with flower features beautiful white flowers that are large and showy, many of which resemble angel wings because of its resemblance to angel’s wings or dove’s wings.
This type is also known as “angel-wing B.” It has variegated leaves while some have green leaves while some have white, yellow or pinkish color on it. There are about 200 species of Begonia that belong to the family Begoniaceae but only a few are commonly grown indoors.
Begonias are divided into two groups: rhizomatous and tuberous types. Rhizomatous begonias spread by sending out underground shoots while tuberous begonias, on the other hand, grow from a bulb or tuber.
The variegated angel-wing begonia with vibrant green leaves trimmed in white and pinkish center is a rhizomatous type.
Most of these plants have large fleshy bracts which give them an attractive appearance, while some even have colorful foliage such as yellow, pink or red depending on the species you choose to plant at home.
This variegated Angel wing begonia flowers from spring to fall and they are easy to care for especially when they’re young and growing indoors in low light conditions.
Angel wing begonia with crowded leaves that looks more like a vine than a shrub because of its thin leaf stems and tendrils at their ends.
The third type, also known as “angel-wing c,” is more of a shrub with thin leaf stems that grow horizontally while some have tendrils at its end where they can attach themselves to any object like an outdoor fence or trellis. These plant types are perfect for hanging baskets because you can tie them on the basket with cloth strips.
Angel wing begonia plants with crowded leaves blooms during springtime while some flower sporadically throughout the year depending on the species you choose to plant in your garden.
These types of Angel Wing Begonia prefer bright indirect light during day time while they need filtered light when planted indoors in home conditions.
Toxicity Of The Begonia Plants
All parts of the angel wing begonias are poisonous if ingested by humans or pets so better keep them out of reach or sight of your children and animals at home.
The sap found on the plant’s stem and leaf veins along with the berries and the fruit are poisonous not only to humans but also to cats, dogs and other animals that may ingest them.
Begonia plants produce oxalic acid that can cause severe discomfort such as burning sensation inside the mouth and throat, tongue swelling, vomiting and diarrhea if consumed by humans or pets.
The leaves’ sap can irritate human skin so better wear gloves when gardening outdoors with these types of begonias.
Although all parts of angel wing begonia plants are considered toxic it’s still safe to grow them at home as long as you place them out of reach from your family members especially children who love to play around flower pots.
It produces beautiful flowers ranging from creamy white to soft pink, pinkish red or yellow depending on the species you choose to plant in your garden.
This type of begonia is easy to grow and maintain at home just like other begonia types available that are perfect for growing indoors as houseplants.
Outdoor angel wing begonias can be grown in partial shade but they do best when planted outdoors in well-drained soils with filtered sunlight exposure during day time hours.
Caring For Your Angel Wing Begonia Plants At Home
When planting angel wing begonias outdoors make sure that the site you choose gets early morning sun exposure then afternoon shade or afternoon sun exposure then evening shade since all parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested by children, pets and other animals.
When growing begonias in pots, choose a container with drainage holes at the bottom then place it inside a saucer to collect excess water from the soil.
Begonia plants need fertile well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter and nitrogen while they can benefit from regular fertilization weekly or monthly during their growing months.
They like moist but not soggy soils so make sure you water them regularly especially when there is no rainfall for days at home while their leaves turn soft and develop yellowish spots if watered too much.
Prepare your garden beds for outdoor angel wing begonias by removing all weeds and broken fragments of stones, bricks or concrete found on the surface then add mulch materials such as compost, well-rotted manure and/or peat moss for better soil texture.
Use organic fertilizers like bonemeal or cottonseed meal to add nutrients such as phosphorus, calcium and micronutrients to the soil then adjust the pH level of the site using lime if necessary.
Regular pest control is essential when growing angel wing begonias outdoors since they are prone to mealybugs, aphids, spider mites and whiteflies that suck out plant juices from their stems and leaves which can weaken or even kill them.
Remove badly infested areas immediately by handpicking pests with a pair of tweezers while you spray neem oil on top and bottom surfaces of their leaves to kill eggs before they hatch more pests on the plant.
Home Remedies For Begonia Leaf Problems
Begonia plants can be susceptible to fungal infections such as leaf rot and stem rot so remove badly affected leaves by cutting them off from the base of the stem using sharp small pruning shears or scissors.
It’s best to dispose of infested parts on the site away from your garden as well as any tools used for this task since it may carry fungal spores that will infect other begonias in your garden if not properly disinfected.
Regular applications of fungicides such as sulfur, sodium or potassium bicarbonate, neem oil soap, and other organic remedies combined with regular pest control and proper watering practices will give you healthy angel wing begonias at home.