Angel wing begonias are beautiful and surprisingly easy to care for. In this complete growing guide, I’ll show you all you need to know to be successful and keep yours thriving for many years to come.
Colorful flowers and striking foliage make the angel wing begonia a popular choice for growing both indoors and in outdoor gardens.
But being able to enjoy the blooms every year depends on understanding how to take care of them properly.
This guide is designed to help even a beginner learn how to care for angel wing begonias, no matter where you grow them.
It includes information on everything you’ll need, from water, soil, and sun, to tips on propagation, pruning, and much more.
Angel Wing Begonia Quick Care Overview
|Angel Wing Begonia, Angel Leaf Begonia, Cane Begonia
|Pink, red, orange, white, yellow blooms late spring-early fall
|Partial shade, bright light indoors
|Keep soil lightly moist, do not overwater
|Average to high
|Flowering plant food spring-fall
|Well-draining, rich soil
|Spider mites, mealybugs, whiteflies
Information About Angel Wing Begonias
The angel wing begonia, or Begonia coccinea, is a type of cane begonia native to tropical South America.
They feature bamboo-like stems with large nodes that produce symmetrical leaves on either side, and have colorful draping flowers.
The common name comes from the large leaves that look like folded angel wings. They’re often spotted or variegated, and the undersides can range in color from red to purple.
You can grow them either indoors or outdoors, and they also do well in containers. Typical sizes can range anywhere from 2-15’, depending on the environment and care.
Different Angel Wing Begonia Types
There are many types of angel wing begonias, and they can all be cared for in the same way. Each feature different foliage and bloom colors. Here are just a few of the most popular ones.
- Begonia ‘Anne Christine’ – Red blooms and size of 4’ at its tallest make this one a popular variety for containers.
- Begonia ‘Charles Jaros’ – This dwarf hybrid usually grows to a maximum size of 2’ and has lovely pink flowers.
- Begonia ‘Looking Glass’ – The leaves of this variety are silver with green veins, and it produces pink flowers.
- Begonia ‘Splish Splash’ – Deep green foliage with white splashes and dark pink flowers are characteristics of this type.
- Begonia ‘Silver Wings’ – This one is known to be an easier indoor option, and features silver spotting on the leaves.
Bloom colors vary based on the type you have, but most of them range from pink to red. The small blossoms form in clusters on delicate hanging stems.
They can flower multiple times a year, but most commonly appear between late spring and early fall.
According to the ASPCA website the angel wing begonia can be toxic to cats and dogs when ingested.
If you’re concerned about this, then it’s best to keep it out of reach of pets and small children to be safe.
How To Grow Angel Wing Begonias
Before we talk about angel wing begonia care, first we need to chat about where to grow them. Choosing the perfect spot is crucial to their long-term health.
Angel wing begonias are not cold hardy plants. They can survive outdoors year round only in zones 10+.
In cooler climates that experience temperatures below 50°F, they’re better kept indoors or in pots that can be moved to a sheltered area during cold snaps.
Where To Grow Angel Wing Begonia
In warm regions, angel wing begonias make wonderful, large additions to outdoor gardens. They need protection from direct sun, and require moist, well-draining soil.
Most types also grow very well in containers with drainage holes, both indoors and out.
They can be kept inside year round in a bright spot, or moved outside for the summer. Once overnight temperatures reach 55°F, it’s time to move them back in for the winter.
Angel Wing Begonia Plant Care & Growing Instructions
Now that you know where to grow an angel wing begonia, it’s time to discuss how to care for them. The following tips will help you create the best environment for them to flourish.
Angel wing begonias like lots of bright light, but can’t tolerate direct sun for long. The harsh afternoon rays, especially on hot days, can scorch or burn the leaves.
Choose an outdoor location that gets morning or evening exposure, or a partial shade area to keep them protected.
Indoors, place them in a spot with lots of indirect, bright light. If it’s too dark in your home, add a grow light to supplement.
They like a consistent amount of water, but won’t tolerate wet or soggy feet for very long.
Allow the top 1-2” of soil to dry out before adding more. You can use a moisture gauge to make sure yours is getting the right amount.
In containers, make sure all of the excess drains from the bottom to prevent root rot.
It’s also important to water close to the base of the plant, rather than over the top. Moisture sitting on the leaves can lead to fungal growth and disease.
Angel wing begonias have average humidity needs, and grow best in an environment with 50% or higher.
They might require additional humidity in arid climates or if kept indoors, especially during the dry winter months.
You can lightly mist them, but be wary of letting droplets sit on the leaves for long. Set them on a pebble tray filled or run a humidifier nearby to supplement indoors.
The ideal temperature range for growing angel wing begonias is between 55-75°F.
They’ll begin to suffer and will eventually die when it drops below 50°F for an extended period of time.
Higher temps don’t bother them, as long as they’re protected from direct sunlight. But they’ll likely need more frequent irrigation during a heat wave.
To help with flowering, it’s best to feed angel wing begonias from spring through fall as part of your regular care routine.
A slightly acidic to neutral, well-draining, rich soil is ideal for optimal angel wing begonia care. You can use a commercial brand, or try mixing you own.
Outdoors you can amend garden soil with compost to help with drainage and increase the nutrient level.
Angel wing begonias prefer to be root-bound, so you shouldn’t need to repot often. Instead wait until you see roots coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
The best time to do it is during the spring or summer, and you should only move it up 1 to 2 pot sizes at a time.
Consistent pruning is the best way to prevent legginess and control the size. You can pinch off new growth on stems that are taller than you’d like.
Or use sharp, sterile precision pruners to cut back old growth in the late winter and early spring to just below a joint.
You can also remove flowers as soon as they’re spent to encourage a longer bloom time.
Pest Control Tips
With the proper care, healthy angel wing begonias rarely have issues with pests. But occasionally mealybugs, whiteflies, and spider mites can become a problem.
I make my own by combining 1 teaspoon of gentle liquid soap with 1 liter of water.
Angel Wing Begonia Propagation Tips
Angel wing begonias can be propagated from seed or by taking cuttings. Stem cuttings are the easiest and most common method.
In the spring take a healthy 3-5” cutting from a non-flowering stem, dust with rooting hormone, and plant it in a moist, well-draining medium.
Keep it slightly damp and in bright light until roots have formed, then pot up your new babies.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
Angel wing begonias are low-maintenance once you understand how to care for them. But if you run into one of these common issues, use my tips below to help get your plant back on track.
The most common causes for brown, drying leaves are under watering, lack of humidity, or too much direct sunlight.
Keep them in a partial shade spot outdoors, or an area with indirect light inside. If that’s not the problem, then increase the humidity and amount of moisture you give them.
A lack of flowers on an angel wing begonia could be caused by lack of light, cold temperatures, or not enough fertilizer.
They need protection from direct sun, but lots of bright indirect light. Keep them above 55°F, and feed regularly with a high phosphorus flowering food beginning in the spring.
Leaves Turning Yellow
Overwatering is the number one cause of yellowing leaves. When the soil is too soggy the leaves will wilt, turn yellow, and eventually fall off.
They prefer to stay evenly moist, but should never remain wet. Make sure they’re in well-draining mix and a container with holes at the bottom. Use a moisture probe to help you out.
Plant Not Growing
If your angel wing begonia isn’t growing it could be lack of light or fertilizer, cool temperatures, or the plant is overly pot-bound.
Provide plenty of bright light and warmth, feed regularly, and if necessary, repot into the next size container.
Here I’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions about angel wing begonia care. If yours isn’t on the list, please add it to the comments section below.
Are angel wing begonias easy to grow?
Angel wing begonias are easy to grow once you understand how to care for them with the right amount of light, water, fertilizer, and temperatures they need to flourish.
Are angel wing begonias rare?
Some angel wing begonias are rare, but not all of them are. You can often find the more popular varieties at garden centers or online, especially in the spring.
How long do angel wing begonias live?
Angel wing begonias are a perennial that can live for 5 years or more with the proper care. By taking cuttings, however, you can keep yours going for decades.
Is angel wing begonia indoor or outdoor?
Angel wing begonias are a great option for either indoor or outdoor environments. In zones 10+ they can be grown in the garden year round. In other areas they do great as a houseplant, or moved outdoors for the summer and overwintered inside.
Now that you know all about angel wing begonia care, you’ll be able to set yours up for success. Use the tips here as guidance on creating the best environment for them to thrive.
If you want to learn all there is to know about maintaining healthy indoor plants, then you need my Houseplant Care eBook. It will show you everything you need to know about how to keep every plant in your home thriving. Download your copy now!
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Share your angel wing begonia plant care tips in the comments section below.