An Angel wing begonia, first found growing in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of South America, is part of the Begoniaceae family. Many of the plants in this family have colorful flowers or beautifully patterned leaves and can be used as indoor houseplants, potted outdoor plants, or planted in the garden. Angel wing begonias make up a large portion of the cane begonia group. These unique plants have several nicknames such as: Angel Leaf Begonia, Spotted Begonia, Spotted Angel Wing Begonia, Angel Begonia, and Dragon Wing Begonia. The plant is a cross between the begonia aconitifolia and the begonia coccinea. All cane begonia plants have long stems with “joints” on them; the leaves and flowers grow out of these joints
Angel Wing Begonia Description
Angel wing begonias are named for their large, “angel wing” shaped, dark green leaves that are often decorated with metallic or frosty silver specks. The underside of the leaf is usually a deep purple or red. These plants produce large, heavy, draping, clusters of delicate, dangling flowers in red, white, orange, or pink. The intensity of the flower and leaf colors depends upon how much light a begonia gets. When still a young, an indoor angel wing begonia is small enough to sit on a table or desk. As the plant matures, the stems can be pruned to create a large bushy floor plant or a beautiful hanging plant. If you have the room and the proper light, an angel wing begonia can grow into a 5ft tree.
Angel Wing Begonia Varieties
Some new angel wing begonia cultivars that can bloom all year, have fragrant flowers, more spectacular looking leaves, and even a delicate scent
Begonia “Splash Splash” has splashes of white on the leaves and produces dark pink and magenta flowers.
Begonia “Charles Jaros” is a smaller, shorter angel wing begonia, growing to about 18″-20,” and produces pink flowers.
Begonia “Silver Wings” has silver spots on it angel wing shaped leaves.
Begonia “Looking Glass” has silver colored, rather than green leaves, with green veins and produces pink flowers.
Begonia “Anna Christine” is a large begonia that can grow as tall as 4ft and produces red flowers.
Begonia “Esther Albertine” is a tall, upright variety that produces large, hanging clusters of pink flowers. It’s wavy, ruffled leaves have silver spots.
Quick Care Tips
Learning how to care for an angel wing begonia is not difficult but you can’t neglect this plant as you might a dracaena or heart-leaf philodendron.
Provide bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light.
The soil should be barely moist, but be careful not to over water. Water less in winter.
When flowering, fertilize an angel wing begonia every other week with a liquid plant food high in phosphorus
Temperatures should stay above 55°F in winter
High humidity is a plus
Is an Angel Wing Begonia Poisonous
An angel wing begonia plant is slightly poisonous to cats, dogs, and small children. Read more about common houseplants that are toxic in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants .
Angel Wing begonias need very bright indirect light in order to bloom. They also require quite a bit of plant food. Feed your Angel wing begonia monthly with a fertilizer high in potassium diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Increased light and food should encourage your begonia to bloom more.
The leaves on an Angel wing begonia usually turn yellow and fall off when the plant is over-watered. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out before watering. Keep the leaves dry; yellow marks could be the start of Leaf Spot Disease.
Leaving your begonia hanging in an enclosed porch for the winter depends on how low the temperature gets. Angel wing begonias are easily damaged when temperatures go below 50°F (13°C). If the temperature on your porch stays this, you can leave your plant where it is; if not, you need to bring your begonia inside until the weather warms up.
Sounds like our angel wing begonia needs more humidity. I never recommend misting houseplants. I think that keeping the leaves of indoor plants wet encourages plant diseases such as leaf spot. To increase the humidity around a plant, set your begonia on a wet pebble tray. Be sure the begonia is sitting on the pebbles and not in the water. You can also place a small humidifier in the room.