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Dragon Wing Begonia Growing Tips

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Dragon wing begonia growing tips
Dragon Wing Begonia and Pallet Wall Garden

There are many varieties of begonia, from perennial to tuberous, but my absolute favorite heat-tolerant variety of Begonia × hybrida is ‘Dragon Wing’. This beautiful hybrid from the Begoniaceae family is an introduction that blooms nonstop from May until October. Because it is a sterile hybrid, it does not self-seed and puts all its energy into flowering. Dragon Wing has exceptional tolerance for heat and humidity, performs well in deep shade areas, and has few disease problems. Dragon Wing leaves are elongated, pointy, and waxy with hints of bronze around the edges. When you see the begonia at the first of the season at the garden center they look ugly without flowers, but once planted, they quickly become the queen of the shade annuals. Below is an excerpt from the Illinois Getting Started Garden Guide which can help you get started with this gorgeous shade-loving plant.

  • Botanical name — Begonia x hybrida
  • Bloom Period and Seasonal Color — Spring to fall; red and pink flowers
  • Mature Height × Spread — 12 to 15 inches × 12 to 15 inches
  • Added Benefits – Attracts Beneficial Insects, Attracts Hummingbirds
  • Sun Requirements – Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade

Plant this flower in the spring after the last frost in rich, well-drained soil with compost or manure mixed in for better root development. This is a compact plant that forms dense mounds, so be sure to give it plenty of room to grow. While the plant will do well in part sun, it really prefers part shade or shade. Make sure the plant gets afternoon shade if it is in sunnier conditions.

Growing Tips

Dragon Wing likes an organic fertilizer once every four weeks. Dragon Wing prefers moisture but will tolerate short periods of drought. Dragon Wing can be overwintered indoors by cutting the plant back, placing it in a low light area, and reducing water to hibernate. Should you want to enjoy the blooms indoors, bring the plant in and place it in a container with exposure to a brightly lit area. Begonias enjoy moisture, so misting the plant as well as watering regularly will be critical for the plant’s survival.

Advice and Care

Deadheading is not needed for this flower; however, trimming overgrowth or leaning stems will not harm the plant. There are no serious insect or disease problems. Overwatering in shady conditions can sometimes encourage powdery mildew or blight. These fungus issues can be treated with an organic fungicide.

Companion Planting and Design

Since Dragon Wing does so well in shade, I prefer to partner it with colorful shade companions like sweet potato vine and coleus. Ornamental edibles such as lacinato kale and Swiss chard make wonderful container companions as well. Dragon Wing looks amazing planted en masse beneath shade trees.

If you would like more ideas on how to grow all types of plants, particularly in the Midwest, please resource the Illinois Getting Started Garden Guide in order to understand more about the growing needs of various plants for your garden.

Illinois Getting Started Guide Book by Shawna Coronado

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  1. Hi! I’m Rhonda and I have a Dragon Wing begonia that started having leaf problems a couple weeks ago. Some of the leaves have started showing spots that look like brown windows. Some of the leaves have started wilting starting at the point and spreading towards the stalk. I always pluck the leaf off before the rot reaches the stalk in fear that it’ll spread to the main part of the plant. I’m afraid I’ll end up plucking so many leaves that it becomes “leggy” and bare. I keep it by a south facing window in my living room which doesn’t get much light right now so I’ve also got a plant light over it about 2 1/2 feet above it shining on it at a slight angle. It’s winter going into spring right now so the air is still pretty dry but not terribly. I don’t have a humidifier going at this time. I mist it about every day and water it every 2-3 days. I don’t see any bugs on it. Could it be too much sunlight or centipedes? I haven’t seen any centipedes in the soil yet but a couple of my other plants had them. Thanks in advance for your help <3

  2. How do you overwinter Dragon Wing begonias? I’ve never had luck bringing them indoors over the winter.
    Thanks for any help.

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