Dragon Wing Begonia Care – Growing Hybrid Begonia

Dragon Wing Begonia

Dragon wing begonia known for their large stunning colorful flowers. It is a hybrid specials that comes from South America. The plant is also called begonia dragon wing red, dragon red wing begonia and can begonia.

It gets its name from the shape of its beautiful green leaves that look like dragon wings.

Dragon wing begonia is tuberous in nature and blooms dark red flowers from spring to fall. In addition to its looks it also attracts hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden. As such, if you live in regions where it grow outside all year round, it’s a good candidate for your yard.

The plant grows to between 12 to 15 inches tall and covers a width of between 15 to 18 inches.

Because of its name, it is often confused with the more popular angel wing begonia. However, the two are not the same plants.

From afar they may look similar. But, if you look closely, you’ll notice that the dragon wing begonia has solid green colored leaves. In contrast, angel wing begonias have patterns on their foliage.

They do have similarities though. Both are hybrids and also cane begonias.

Dragon Wing Begonia Plant Care

Dragon Wing Begonia Light

The dragon wing begonia grows in both full sun and part shade. But, it does best in full sun in cooler areas and partial shade in warmer conditions.

As such, if you live in the norther part of the country where the weather is cooler, it will enjoy more sun to produce more flowers. In the southern part of he country which tends to have warmer conditions and more intense sunlight, it is better off having partial sun or partial shade especially in the afternoon.

Similarly, when grown indoors, you want to provide it with as much light as possible since sunlight is more limited. But outside, you want to give it some kind of shaded cover to keep it from getting too much direct sunlight.

 

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Dragon Wing Begonia Temperature & Humidity

When it comes to climate conditions, the most important things you need to remember is that the plant can tolerate high levels of heat and humidity. In fact, this combination is what makes it popular because it becomes much easier to care for.

And, it will continue to bloom even in scorching temperatures. However, when conditions get this hot, it is best to the plant under shade.

In any case, this makes it ideal for growing outdoors in USDA zones 9 to 11.

Indoors, it will be perfectly happy with regular room temperatures (65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit).

The one thing it cannot stand is frost and cold temperature. One the mercury drops to 55 degrees or lower, you need to move it to somewhere cozier. Otherwise, it will start showing signs of stress and quickly deteriorate as the climate drops.

For this reason, gardeners always dig it up before first frost in the fall to store indoors. Similarly, if the plant is kept in a container, debug it first then bring it indoors.

It needs to stay in a dry, warm place through the winter.

With humidity, your dragon wing begonia enjoys levels between 50% and 60%. Like heat, it can tolerate much higher humidity. But, will struggle below this level. As such, if you keep it indoors, you’ll want to make sure that the air is moist enough especially during the winter when humidity drops.

 

Watering Dragon Wing Begonia

Dragon Wing Begonia

source: wikimedia commons 

Dragon wing begonia likes moist soil. But, don’t water it to the point it feels wet or soggy. Like other plants, this is a recipe for disasters. Prolonged periods of overwatering will cause root rot.

As such, it is better to stay on the drier side than water a little extra each time. Similarly, watering less frequently is better than adding extra sessions.

A good way to tell when you need to water the plant is to allow the top 2 to 3 inches of soil to dry. So, when you put your finger down to this depth, dry soil means it is time to water again. If the soil feels moist in any way, even a little bit, wait 1 to 2 days before testing again.

Since weather and the plant’s growing season affects how fast water is taken up from the soil, the frequency at which you water will vary depending on the time of year.

It will be most frequent during the hottest summer months and start slowing down in the fall before having longer intervals in winter.

 

Soil

Because your dragon wing begonia likes moist soil conditions but is sensitive to waterlogging, soil plays a very important role.

And, to achieve the conditions mentioned above, you want to have light and well-draining soil. Ideally something fertilizer and with the ability to retain some moisture but drain well enough to remove excess liquid.

If you prefer a commercial mix, African violet potting soils is the way to go. It fits all the requirements above.

If you’d like to make your own potting mix, you can use peat moss and perlite.

Similarly, if you already have standard houseplant potting mix at home, you can use that and add perlite to improve drainage.

Along with the soil, making sure that the pot you get has holes underneath is key. This lets excess moisture escape easily.

It is likewise worth noting that these plants grow up to 2 feet tall and wide. As such, if you’re planting it alongside other plants, make sure to leave enough space between them.

 

Fertilizing

Spring and summer are when your dragon wing begonia is actively growing. On the other hand, its growth slows down in the fall and just about stops in the winter.

What this means is that it will need for plant food during the warmer months and much less as the seasons get colder.

As such like water, you’ll want to adjust how much you feed it depending on the month of the year.

The reason is too much fertilizer is bad. In increased doses or too high concentrations it will burn your plant’s roots, a.k.a. fertilizer burn.

So, the best way to adjust feeding throughout the year.

During spring and summer, feed your plant balanced liquid fertilizer that’s been diluted to 50% strength once every 2 weeks. Then cut it back to once every 4 weeks in fall and winter.

Also, make sure to water the soil when you fertilize with the help prevent fertilizer burn.

 

Pruning

in addition to being easy to grow, the plant also requires little maintenance by way of pruning. In fact, you don’t need to prune it at all. Interestingly, the plant is self-cleaning as well.

This frees up your time to care for other plants.

 

Propagation

Dragon Wing Begonia

source: wikimedia commons

Dragon wing begonia produce seeds which are sterile. As such, you’re not going to be successful propagating them that way.

Instead, stem cutting and division are the more common methods of propagation.

And, of the two, stem cuttings is easier which is why it is done by more home gardeners.

How to Propagate Dragon Wing Begonia from Stem Cuttings

  • Pick out healthy non-flowering stems. Ideally you want a stem that’s 4 to 6 inches long with a few leaves on it.
  • Cut the stem just below the node, which is the joint at which a stem and leaf meet.
  • Once you have the cutting, dip the end in rooting hormone powder.
  • Then, plant the stem cutting into moist well-draining soil in a small pot.
  • Water the soil.
  • After a few weeks, it will begin to root.
  • Then, you’ll start seeing the first leaves sprout after a little longer.

How to Propagate Dragon Wing Begonia from Division

Division only works if your dragon wing begonia has multiple stems. That’s because you’ll be separating these stems and planting them on their own.

Because you’re dividing the plant, this method is a good option if you want to limit the size your plant. By taking a piece or more pieces the mother plant that’s left will be much smaller than it originally was,

This allows you to avoid having to keep increasing pot sizes.

  • Start by digging up the plant. If it is in a pot, gently coax it out.
  • Pick out the stems you want to grow separately. Then traced them down to their roots. This will let you know which section you can separate to remove the stem.
  • Carefully separate the root ball. You can use your hands or a sterile knife.
  • Once you have the separated section/s, repot the mother plant with fresh potting mix or back to the ground. Then, plant the divided plant/s individually.

Since you’re planting semi-grown plants, you already have a new plant and don’t have to wait for it to root or sprout like you would with stem cutting.

So, while this is more work initially, you end up with a big “new” plant immediately.

 

Dragon Wing Begonia Transplanting & Repotting

Your dragon wing begonia doesn’t need to be repot often because it likes being a little bit pot bound. However, once it outgrows its container you’ll need to move it to a larger one.

Keeping it in its existing container will put it under stress, as you probably would is left in a very tight space for 24 hours a day.. Under stress, it becomes more prone to pests and diseases.

You’ll know when its time just by looking at the plant. Its roots will start covering the pot.

Since the plant doesn’t like wet feet, you want to move it to a container that’s one size bigger and not much more than that. Similarly, make sure there are holes beneath so prevent waterlogging.

 

Toxicity

Like other begonias, the dragon wing is toxic to people and animals. So, keep it away from young kids, dogs and cats or any pets you may own. Ingesting any part of the plant can cause side effects. Although these range from mild to moderate, they can be worrisome as some people vomit, start salivating profusely and experience dizziness.

 

Pests and Diseases

Pests and disease are one area where you need a little more vigilance with the dragon wing begonia.

It is susceptible to pest infestations by whiteflies and mealybugs. As, such, regular inspection is important.

And, if you spot any signs of these pests or their chewing damage you want to immediately treat with insecticidal soap spray.

Similarly, root rot and powdery mildew can also strike the plant. Although to a more manageable degree. Still, you want to watch out for them especially root rot which can go undetected for long periods. Thus, by the time you discover it, extensive damage may have been done.

Here, humidity and overwatering are the biggest culprits. Thus, it is important not to water too frequently and to use well draining soil. Also, place the plant where it can get good air circulation.

This will help any moisture on its foliage dry up faster.

If you see leaf damage or root rot, trim off the affected sections.

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