Angel Wing begonia is a popular name for hybrid begonias that grow on canes. The stems look like bamboo, and the plant has long leaves with silver spots or splashes; its deep-pink flowers hang in clusters. Cane begonias are tropical plants that are ideal for sunrooms, although they can be grown outdoors in warm growing zones.
The angel wing begonia is a hybrid created in 1926; newer hybrids include the Dragon Wing, Torch, and Maribel Pink. Most plants are 15 to 18 inches tall at maturity, but a cane begonia planted outdoors in a frost-free area can grow as high as 12 feet.
Cane begonias can be grown outdoors in the American South and in frost-free growing zones. They are easily grown indoors and in greenhouses.
Plant cuttings of stems or leaves anytime in a mixture of moist peat and perlite. To prevent moisture from escaping, cover the pot with a plastic and secure it with a rubber band. Put it under a fluorescent light or indirect sunlight; when it begins growing, re-pot in a regular mix.
Plant angel wing begonias in a mixture of two parts of garden soil, two parts leaf mold (humus), one part peat and one part perlite or coarse sand.
Light and Water
Plant angel wing begonias in indirect sunlight coming from the east, west or south. They like moderate temperatures of 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are growing an angel wing begonia in a pot, make sure it has a drainage hole and put it in a dish that contains pebbles or gravel, to increase humidity. The pot should sit in the gravel, not in the water. Mist occasionally with lime-free warm water. If possible, put the plant outside in a shady location during the summer.
If the plant is grown in a small pot, the top 1/2-inch should be kept dry between watering. One inch of the top of a large pot should be kept dry. Empty the drip tray periodically to prevent root rot.
Disease and Insects
If you buy angel wing begonias, make sure they are free of disease. They are susceptible to blight, root rot and other fungal diseases plus leaf spot, a bacterial disease. They can be harmed by aphids, snails, slugs, thrips, mealy bugs, mites and other diseases.
To avoid fungal disease, make sure your potting soil is well drained and the plant’s roots do not sit in water.
If you have yellowing leaves, wilt, stunted growth, rotting roots or other symptoms of disease, consult the Web site of the Plant Disease Diagnosis Clinic at Cornell University, (plantclinic.cornell.edu). Cornell horticulturists have numerous photos to help you identify the disease that afflicts your plant. There you can also identify the proper fungicide or insecticide or other recommended treatment.
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