Dragon Wing Begonia, also known with the common names of Begonia ‘Dragon Wing Red’, Dragon Red Wing Begonia, and Cane Begonia, is a perennial flowering hybrid species of the family Begoniaceae.
Professionally known with the scientific name begonia x hybrida ‘Dragon Wings’, the plant was first grown in South America and is prized for its lush green foliage and colorful flowers.
Another reason for the plant’s popularity is its high tolerance for hot and humid weather.
Dragon wing begonia is often confused with Angel-wing begonia.
While both of them qualify as cane begonias and both are hybrid varieties, they are different plants.
The leaves are the key identifying difference between the two varieties.
Angel-wing begonia has spots or a frosted pattern on the leaves whereas the leaves of dragon wing begonia do not have any variation.
Dragon Wing Begonia Care
Size & Growth
Dragon wing begonia grows vigorously, but doesn’t grow very high – the maximum height of the plant is 2’ feet.
The plant is known for its shiny and dark green attractive leaves, which are wing-shaped and long, often growing up to 8” inches.
The plant is very easy to grow and typically forms a bushy mound.
Flowering and Fragrance
Dragon red wing begonia produces clusters of small tuberous (bell-like) scarlet-red flowers from late spring to fall (till the beginning of frost season), further enhancing the plant’s attractiveness.
The long blooming period and the production of showy flowers in abundant quantities, even during scorching summers, are some more reasons why dragon wing begonia is a highly popular garden plant.
Light & Temperature
This begonia hybrid species is heat-tolerant and continues to bloom and add color to landscapes even during blazing temperatures.
However, it cannot tolerate much cold.
The plant is only winter hardy to USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11.
When grown in other USDA zones, it is recommended to dig up the dragon wing begonias before the beginning of the frost season or bring the containers indoors.
Store the plants in a dormant condition in a cool and dry place through the winter season.
While the plant can easily tolerate full sun, it is recommended to provide it partial shade, particularly when the temperature is very high.
An ideal site for planting this cane begonia variety is one where it gets some afternoon shade, good air circulation, and protection from strong winds.
Just like the plant can tolerate full sun, it can survive in full shade, but it will have an effect on flowering.
Dragon wing begonia hybrid grows the best and produces more flowers when it continues to get bright, indirect sunlight (part sun) year-round.
Watering and Feeding
Begonia ‘Dragon Wing Red’ prefers moist soil, so water the plant adequately and regularly enough to keep the soil moist.
However, make sure to not over-water.
When it comes to watering dragon red wing begonia, watering less is better than over-watering because the plant is somewhat drought tolerant.
The rule of thumb for watering dragon begonia is to let the top 2″ – 3” inches of soil get dry between waterings.
Feed your dragon begonia with a diluted (by half) balanced liquid fertilizer once every two weeks during the spring and summer seasons.
Reduce the fertilizing to once a month in fall and winter.
To avoid fertilizer burn, always fertilize the plant when its soil is moist.
Soil & Transplanting
The red begonia species thrives in light, rich, moist and well-draining soil.
When it comes to soil types, loamy and sandy soils are the best choices for growing the dragon wing plant.
As mentioned above, the plant prefers moist soil but doesn’t like soggy soil.
Therefore, in addition to preventing over-watering, make sure the soil is well-draining.
With regard to soil pH, the plant prefers soil with acidic or neutral pH.
Grooming and Maintenance
The plant is not only easy to grow but is also trouble-free and hence, easy to maintain.
It doesn’t need any grooming or maintenance; not even deadheading.
How to Propagate Dragon Wing Begonia
While the dragon wing produces seeds, they are sterile.
The best and simplest way to propagate Begonia ‘Dragon Wing Red’ is through stem cuttings.
Take about 3” to 4” inches long tip cuttings from the non-flowering stems in spring or early summer and root them in moist sterile potting mix.
Plant division is another method for propagating dragon wings.
But, for this, you need to have multi-stemmed plants.
Examine the base of all your dragon wing begonias and choose the one with more than one base stem.
Dig up the plant, separate the stems, and plant them individually.
Dragon Wing Begonia Pest or Diseases
Red wing begonia plants are prone to mealybugs, whitefly pest infestations.
It can sometimes get affected by chewing insects, root rot (overwatering) and powdery mildew, but they hardly ever go beyond control.
Avoid over-watering or planting in poorly draining soil as wet soils can lead to root rot.
Red wing begonia attracts hummingbirds but is deer and rabbit resistant.
Dragon Wing Begonia Uses
Due to its ease of growth, low-maintenance, beautiful flower color, and long blooming period, dragon begonia is widely grown in gardens, parks, and as a houseplant.