How to Separate Angel Wing Begonias

Angel wing begonias (Begonia x corallina) are elegant plants with clusters of flowers that look like angel wings or butterflies and large, textured, silver-spotted leaves that keep the plant interesting even when it is not in bloom. Also called cane begonias, they can reach a height of 12 feet outdoors in frost-free climates. In the U.S., they are primarily grown as houseplants, and in the confines of a pot they grow to about 3 feet. Angel wings have tough, fibrous roots that can be difficult to separate without damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Sharp knife
  • Basin of lukewarm water
  • Flower pots
  • Potting soil


    • 1

      Spread several layers of newspaper across your work area to protect the surface.

    • 2

      Run a knife around the inside of the pot to make it easier to remove the plant from the pot. An angel wing begonia’s fibrous roots often adhere to the sides of the pot.

    • 3

      Slide the plant out of the pot and onto the newspaper. Brush loose potting soil off the roots with your hands.

    • 4

      Submerge the roots in a basin of lukewarm water. This lubricates the roots so that they are easier to separate.

    • 5

      Tease the roots apart with your fingers, separating the plant into two clumps. When you can no longer separate them using your fingers, cut the clumps apart using a sharp knife.

    • 6

      Continue separating into smaller clumps, making sure each division has plenty of roots and foliage.

    • 7

      Examine the roots for signs of disease or rot. Cut off the parts of the roots that are slimy looking or dark.

    • 8

      Pot up the clumps in individual flower pots using fresh potting soil. Plant the divisions slightly deeper than they were in their original pot.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can divide your angel wing begonia into several clumps, but keep in mind that large clumps recover faster and fill out quicker than small ones.
  • The foliage may shrivel or droop the first few days after separating. In time, most leaves will recover. Trim off severely shriveled leaves and those that develop brown discoloration.
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