Dragon Wing Begonia - growing indoors

cr491August 19, 2013

Hello all,

I recently (an hour ago) stopped by a local floral shop. The houseplant options are rather slim in my town, but I had the urge to buy a plant. I think most of you can empathize with that urge!

Long story short, I saw some dragon wing begonias in 4" pots marked down to $1.50 a piece. My grandmother-in-law keeps wax begonias growing indoors, so I thought this might be worth a shot.

Since it was so tall and leggy, I gave it a trimming. The remaining stems are currently sitting in water (I know it isn't the ideal method for rooting cuttings, but I've had a good success rate with it). The photo is what it looked like after the trimming.

I'm curious to know if anyone else grows Dragon Wings indoors, and what the typical care instructions are. So far, most of what I've seen relates to overwintering or growing outdoors. Thanks for any help you can provide!

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hcmcdole(z7)

I sometimes winter over DW under shop-lights. They do fine indoors but a lot better outdoors. Because they are so mainstream now it is easy to pick up some in spring and treat as annuals if you don't have space for them indoors or can't provide enough light for them to succeed.

Here are two I overwintered and then planted in a big pot for summer under a beech tree (lots of light and some sun).

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 7:03AM
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hcmcdole(z7)

And the same 2 DW indoors this past winter (FEB) sharing space with two B. 'Big' begonias and an extra large thiemei. Kept them alive but not enough space to look their best.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 7:09AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I am going to try the same thing, having had such great luck with other kinds of Begonias. I've not had any of these before this spring. Hcmc is an awesome cheerleader and enabler, and so many others here on GW!!

Sending good vibes to all Begonias that need to get ready for winter! As a whole, Begonias are becoming one of my fav 'winter' plants, putting most of the regular house plants to shame with occasional-to-constant blooms, depending on which kind.

If my limited understanding is correct, DW's are 'made from' wax Begonias? Does that mean they act just like them, but bigger? I never did find definitive info about DW's hardiness.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:38AM
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hcmcdole(z7)

DW's probably do have some wax begonia heritage in them but I won't swear to it. I think they were crossed with a small cane. These were created a long time ago and called Christmas Candy but the big breeders got involved and came up with DW - probably bigger than Christmas Candy. Regardless they are sterile so the only way to grow them is either seed from a big seed house, cuttings, or new plants. They are very sun tolerant if you keep them hydrated.

Here is a good link that might shed some light on it.

Dragon Wings

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 2:40PM
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hcmcdole(z7)

Whoops sent the same picture. Here are some hanging baskets at Busch Gardens in Tampa. July 2011.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 3:12PM
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petrushka

I have been admiring the planting in marriot next door for some time: totally in shade all day. they start with DW plugs and a few ferns (boston?). and by mid-summer it's this incredible luscious border. it's a great combo and so-o easy and pretty. one day i'll do it like this too.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 9:41AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

OK, now I'm pretty sure the Begonias I saw at a wedding last fall were DW's. This reminds me that I rescued a broken piece while we were there, but at this point, I'm not sure if it's one of the entities still here or not. Things have gotten so mixed up, propagated, shared back'n'forth between me & my Mom...

Petruska, the only thing I would do/add to that scene is some hooks for hanging baskets on those white columns, with the ferns in the hanging baskets. Have you taken some cuttings of those plants? I'd be asking if I can come over on 'panic night' and grab arm-fulls!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 10:00AM
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petrushka

'panic night'? what's that mean :)?
nope, I can't take a cutting - it's a front bed of the hotel!
and my balcony is so-o stuffed anyway - went overboard this year! ... i'm just exhausted from potting/repotting and washing up! kinda looking forward to winter, but there's fall clean-up in the way. I need to collect myself (that's the worst in my book) in the most serious way, find some 3rd ? breath?!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 2:16PM
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cr491

It's great to see everyone's pictures! Hopefully mine will get that large someday. I'm adjusting to the large, creepy insects of Arkansas, so I'm not quite ready to put anything outdoors. :)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 11:00PM
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petrushka

I haven't grown begonias strictly indoors in winter, but I have brought them in for a month or so when it was too hot. they did well indoors with sev hours of eastern morning sun.
I read that when you bring them in in the fall - they will be ok for a month or two and then they'll go dormant.
but that is tuberous and tuberous hybrids (non-stops). I want to experiment this year and see if I can overwinter a couple of strong plants in western window that is half-blocked by buildings, so only gets a few hours of sun.
If they do ok I am planning to try growing tuberous begonias indoors too, even in summer.

This post was edited by petrushka on Mon, Aug 26, 13 at 16:02

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 11:59AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Panic night = first frost! If you've got no more room, I understand, but if you ask, the manager probably wouldn't mind sharing a few cuttings if you can find a place to squeeze them in. Those look fantastic! Please monitor and let us know if they really are replaced next year or if they happen to have found a micro-climate spot there. (Or maybe you've already watched enough to know?)

I still find it hard to believe that the place where we went for that wedding last fall plants thousands of these every year. It was near Warner Robbins, GA.

Where did you move from, CR? When I moved to AL from OH, it took a while to get used to the creepy-crawlies here, especially 'palmetto bugs' which any Yankee can see are just giant cockroaches. They don't bother me at all outside now, and unless it's actually ON me inside, I don't freak out about that anymore either. Do you do any outside gardening? I think that can help a lot with desensitization, repeated exposure.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 9:32AM
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hcmcdole(z7)

Get some shop lights to grow your begonias under in winter. Also great for starting new plants.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 10:21AM
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petrushka

oh, jeez, palmetto bugs... we call them waterbugs here.
once, only once I had one fly into the kitchen ...lo-ong time ago - I went bananas...don't 'member what happened... must've flown out ot smth... ree-e-e-ly...repeated exposure!
FYI: DW begonias in NYC. those are all from 4" plugs - they do this every spring. honestly, no matter what micro climate, DW begonias can't survive here :). we're not in Kansas, toto!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 10:04PM
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cr491

Purple,

I just now saw your post! How embarrassing.

I moved to Arkansas from West Virginia. I *think* I am getting used to the roaches ("waterbugs" here). I have used my vacuum to suck up bugs more than I've used it to clean house!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 6:04PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

LOL, CR! I used to do that until I discovered it doesn't always kill them. We got this cool zapper thing that looks like a tennis racket. It doesn't smush them, it fries them. They almost always 'stick' to the thing from the electricity unless/until you let go of the button. Then you can dump outside or give 'em a flush. It's really cool, handy & doesn't make a mess like smushing. Not so great for flies but I wouldn't be without one in this old house.

What I keep bringing inside (accidentally, hanging out on plants) is anoles. ...and DH keeps putting them back outside.

I also scooped all of the Begonias I had in the ground up, into pots, wax, NOID canes, DW, AW. I haven't had any trouble with the ones I've tried so far dying, so why not try the others? I just wedged them into pots wherever there was room. Nothing lost but a little time if any don't make it. I'm optimistic - as long as these cursed clouds go away, it's usually sunny! Did the same thing with a few Impatiens that weren't trampled by dogs too. Those I brought in last winter kept blooming.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 7:07PM
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gregsytch(z9b Tampa Bay)

Dragonwings are a winter annual here, rarely making through our hot, humid and wet summers. I usually buy a nice 6" pot in fall, and now it is overflowing a 14" tub. They take our winter sun well, and other than protecting frm an odd frosty night, thrive. Come June they fry :-(( BUT they are a great source of color, and the prices have come down. Enjoy them either way., Greg

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 9:25PM
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hcmcdole(z7)

Greg,

What does Busch Gardens Tampa do to keep their coir lined baskets of Dragon Wings alive in summer? I would've thought they thrived in your heat and humidity.

The picture was taken June 11, 2007

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 10:13PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

June 11 is just the very beginning of the heat wave here in Florida. It really kicks in starting in mid-June and goes until about the end of September. The way they keep them fresh is they switch the baskets out. They have replacement baskets (and plants of all kinds) that get popped in and out. They have hidden back areas where they can using fans, cooling mist, shade and lots of other tools and tricks to keep plants looking perfect. Disney and other resorts do the same to keep everything looking manicured and fresh. One of many gardeners' favorite tours is the behind-the-scenes tour of the backside plant and garden area of Disney where you can see their greenhouses and prep area including how they make the topiaries.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 9:47AM
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hcmcdole(z7)

Fool the tourists - love it!

Kind of like the stuff that Sea World has been doing for years.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 11:53AM
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