Funny story, until recently I had never heard of Begonias as house plants. Sure I had seen other begonias as outside plants in assorted planters, but not indoors. Then I saw the Angel Wings in the local plant group and knew I needed one of these gorgeous plants in my life! This spring I was lucky enough to receive cuttings from two different Angel Wing Begonias at a plant swap, and oh my gosh am I in love with them! They are so easy to grow! Give them a place near the window and they just take right off.
Angel Wing Begonias are a cane Begonia, so they grow from upright canes. Unlike the Rex Begonias that grow low to the ground, Cane Begonias can get to around 6 feet indoors! They also have beautiful flowers that can be white, pink, or red. I am waiting anxiously for mine to bloom!
Potting: Angel Wing Begonias seem to like being slightly root-bound and put out more growth when they are. So when picking a pot, go with something only slightly larger than the root ball, with a drainage hole. A heavier pot would be a good choice to prevent your plant tipping over as it grows. They like a rich but light mix over straight potting soil, so be sure to amend your soil by adding in bark and perlite. This allows for faster drainage and better airflow to the roots. It is also a good idea to stake your plant up as it grows, so the canes don’t snap as it gets taller.
Light: Bright indirect light is what is mostly recommended for Angel Wings, but I find that mine grow great near the East window with some morning sun passing across their leaves. If you put them near a South or West facing window you may need to hang a sheer curtain if the light is too strong. If they are getting too much light the leaf edges will brown and get brittle. On the flip side, if they are not getting enough light they will grow leggy and will not bloom.
Watering: Be sure to let your soil dry out at least one inch down before watering. If it’s in a larger pot I would wait longer then that, like two or three inches down. Be careful you don’t over-water, over-watering causes root rot which will eventually kill you Begonia. Signs of over-watering are yellowing leaves that drop off.
Fertilizer: Feed your begonia a liquid houseplant fertilizer every week at a quarter strength through the growing season, spring to fall. When it is blooming switch to a high phosphorous food that is better for them while they are flowering.
Propagation and Pruning: Angel Wing Begonias are really easy to propagate! When they are actively growing, during spring or summer, cut a 3-5″ piece from the tip of a cane with no flowers. Then either place in water or soil to root. With water, just plop the cutting in a vase and watch for roots. With soil, pot the cutting in a small pot in a warm location and be sure to keep the soil moist. Before you know it, you will have a whole new Begonia growing. This makes them so easy to share with friends!
As for pruning, these Begonias respond very well to being pruned. This will keep them from getting leggy and encourage them to be bushier. They can even tolerate a heavy pruning down to 5″ from the soil if they have gotten really bare. Although, you shouldn’t need to do this if you just take cuttings every so often. You can also propagate anything you prune off. I like to add them back to the pot with the mother if I’m not sharing with friends. Remove dead flowers when you see them.
Toxicity: Angel Wing Begonias are not toxic to humans, but they can cause allergic reactions. However, they are toxic to pets. They can cause salivation, nausea, and vomiting in dogs and cats. In grazing animals, such as horses, they can cause kidney failure.