An angel wing begonia is a beautiful plant that is possibly the best known out of the cane-type begonia species. Originating from California, the Angel Wing Begonia has bamboo-like stems and can grow to an impressive 36 inches or more in height.
With speckled or streaked glossy leaves, an angel wing begonia will thrive when planted in the correct environment and cared for correctly.
If you have noticed that your plant appears tall and sparse of leaves rather than smaller but fuller, this could be a sign that your begonia requires pruning and propagating. As a result, your plant will flourish and grow bushier.
There are multiple reasons why the leaves of your plant may begin to dwindle and this may be due to the age of the plant or simply because it hasn’t been exposed to enough light.
Below we have identified how you can prune and propagate your angel wing begonia below.
What Does It Mean To Prune And Propagate Your Plant?
Pruning refers to the process of trimming a plant to encourage new and healthier growth. This can be done by cutting dead or overgrown branches. While some may require minimal trimming while other branches may need to be trimmed right back to the base.
Propagating refers to the process of creating a plant that is identical in appearance to the parent plant from which it originates. To propagate a plant you can root a leaf or cuttings into soil, watering them regularly before witnessing the new plant growth.
Pinching and Pruning an Angel Wing Begonia
Pruning and propagating an angel wing begonia is a straightforward process. Pruning the plant helps to stimulate healthier growth and failing to do so will affect the appearance of your begonia transforming it from a full and luscious looking plant to one that lacks leaves on the lower section, but continues to grow leaves at the top.
You can also pinch the plant and this is simply just another form of pruning. While you can pinch a plant using your fingers, you will likely find it much easier to use sheers. The process of tip pinching will prevent the plant from growing too long.
As you are removing the main stem, two new stems will begin to grow from the base of the begonia just below the section that has been pinched. You can pinch your begonia throughout the growing season.
An angel wing begonia that is rather large and overgrown is going to require a more thorough cut. To do so, you will require the use of sharp-cutting shears. Using your shears you can cut just before the leaf node. As a result, the plant will grow back from this point much healthier. You needn’t focus on any particular side of the plant.
As you begin making the cuts you will likely notice that a natural pattern for removing the canes develops. As mentioned, you can give your begonia quite a hefty cut if required, removing around one-third of the plant’s canes.
Once you are happy with the amount that you have cut away from the plant you should then position it at an angle where it is going to gain some exposure to light.
Propagating an Angel Wing Begonia
The best time to propagate an angel wing begonia is during the spring and summer months. First, you will need to prepare a container that is going to hold the cuttings. The container must have holes for draining. Fill the container with coarse sand or germinating medium, ensuring that it is watered regularly.
When the plant begins to grow new leaves you can cut two to three inches of the tip so long as they do not yet have blooms and place them into the container or pot that you have prepared. If you have just pruned the plant, you can use these cuttings rather than dispose of them.
Then the cuttings will need to be placed into the soil with an approximate 2-inch gap between each cutting. Once all of the cuttings have been inserted into the soil they will need to be watered and kept in a warm environment until new growth emerges.
You may wish to use a rooting hormone on the cuttings for a more guaranteed successful outcome. This step isn’t essential and if you decide to use a rooting hormone it is important to abide by the manufacturer’s guidance on how the product should be used.
There are multiple ways of propagating a plant. While some may wish to create new plants but putting the cuttings in separate pots, others may wish to plant them next to the mother plant. Doing so will stimulate fuller growth of the original plant.
An angel wing begonia will accurately root from cuttings so long as they are cared for correctly and the appropriate propagating practices are applied.
Additional Care Tips
Angel wing begonias can be planted indoors or kept as a houseplant and they are fairly easy to maintain.
Angel wing begonias do not cope well when there are sudden changes in the temperature. The recommended temperature for this type of begonia is within the range of 65°-75°F. If you intend to keep your begonia as an indoor plant, household humidity is likely to suffice, however, it is important to ensure that your plant isn’t positioned near any heater vents.
An angel wing begonia can become damaged when the temperature drops below 50ºF.
Although angel wing begonias require exposure to sunlight to grow and flourish, they should not be positioned in direct contact with this source of light. Because begonias have sensitive leaves they can become harmed if exposed to constantly harsh sunlight. To avoid such issues, your begonia should be placed somewhere where it is in indirect sunlight.
If you are keeping the plant outdoors, try and place it somewhere shaded. While begonias must receive light throughout the year, as the seasons change you can alter the positioning of the plant. During the winter months, the sun isn’t going to be as harsh so the begonia can withstand a few hours in the sunlight.
Your begonia should be planted in airy and light soil that drains well, otherwise, it is going to collect the water. Alternatively, you may use a potting mix that possesses similar qualities.
A begonia requires frequent watering, particularly when it’s blooming. However, you should allow the soil to drain before watering it again. Your plant will only require watering around 2 to 3 times a week. You must avoid overwatering your plant as it will not drain sufficiently, instead of resulting in the development of root rot.
In the winter, your plant will not require watering as regularly.
If the environment where the plant is kept isn’t humid enough, it will soon begin to dry out. If the environment is too humid the plant is more subject to root rot. Because of this, it is important to maintain the correct balance. Angel wing begonias flourish when kept in a humid and moist environment.
If needed, to increase the humidity, you may gently mist the area surrounding the plant.
During the spring and summer months, your begonia will benefit from the use of fertilizer. Although there are different variations of fertilizer available, a liquid formulation is recommended. Add the fertilizer to damp soil on a fortnightly basis to maintain the healthy appearance of the plant.
When the growth of the plant is less active, you can reduce the frequency in which you add the fertilizer to around every 2 months.
Repotting The Plant:
As the plant grows you will likely find that it requires repotting. When the plant appears rather large for the pot that it is currently in, you can transfer it to a larger pot. This is likely to be a more frequent requirement when the plant is younger. As it matures, it isn’t going to need to be repotted as regularly.
Avoid doing so when the plant is in bloom as the disruption can affect the growth.