How to Grow a Dragon Wing Begonia

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“Dragon Wing”® begonias (Begonia x hybrida “Dragon Wing”) are grown in the garden, in containers and as houseplants, providing an abundance of colorful flowers from spring to fall. Pink- and red-flowering “Dragon Wing”® series cultivars are available.

Where They Grow

  • “Dragon Wing”® begonias are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 to 11. In cooler climates, they are grown as annuals or in containers that can be brought indoors for the winter. Full shade to partial shade with less than six hours of direct sunlight is fine for these begonias. Morning sunlight with afternoon shade is preferred. Plant them in the spring after any risk of frost has passed.

Soil and Spacing

  • Mix a 4-inch depth of organic matter into the garden soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches before planting a “Dragon Wing”® begonia. Well-aged cow manure, compost, sphagnum peat moss and leaf mold can be used singularly or combined to get the full 4 inches of organic matter.

    If the garden soil is heavy clay which drains slowly, grow the begonia in a container or build a 4-to 6-inch-high raised bed. Dig a 1-foot-deep hole and fill it with water. If the water is absorbed into the surrounding soil within an hour, the soil drains quickly enough for begonias.

    Plant the begonia 1 to 1 ½ feet away from other plants to allow it to reach its full height and width of 1 ½ feet with room to spare.

Moisture Requirements

  • Water the “Dragon Wing”® begonia generously after planting to saturate the soil and remove air pockets. Spread 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch over the soil around the begonia to help retain moisture, keeping it pulled away from the base of the plant. Give the begonia supplemental water when the top of the soil begins to dry. Water it below the foliage with a garden hose, a soaker hose or a watering can. Avoid getting the leaves wet to help prevent bacterial leaf spot. A “Dragon Wing”® begonia in a container should also be watered when the soil begins to dry, which could mean as often as every day or even twice a day during the heat of the summer.

Fertilizer Requirements

  • Sprinkle slow-release garden plant fertilizer over the soil around the “Dragon Wing”® begonia right after planting, and water thoroughly. Use fertilizer with a 12-4-8 ratio. A common application rate is ½ teaspoon per plant, but this varies depending on the fertilizer formulation; always follow label directions. Use a six- or nine-month duration slow-release fertilizer so the begonia will get a steady supply of nutrients throughout the growing season.

    Give the begonia houseplant fertilizer every two weeks if it is growing in a container. Use a water-soluble fertilizer with the same ratio. A common dilution rate is ½ teaspoon per quart of water. Water the begonia first, then pour the diluted fertilizer over the moist soil.

    Do not give “Dragon Wing”® begonias fertilizer during the winter.

Winter Care

  • Bring the “Dragon Wing”® begonia indoors when temperatures begin to drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is planted in the ground, it can be dug up and potted up in a peat-based houseplant potting soil. Allow the soil to dry before watering the begonia over the winter; it will be growing very slowly if at all during the winter and will not use much water. Begin giving the begonia fertilizer and watering it more often in late winter or early spring when it begins to grow again.

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