begonia of the week: ‘dragon wing’ red

I HAVE SO MANY BEGONIAS IN MY CARE OVER HERE, I could probably do a ‘Begonia of the Week’ series all gardening season long. I’ve already raved about ‘Bonfire,’ and now I have to say I love the older but no less showy ‘Dragon Wing.’ Apparently I am not alone.

When it first came into mass production less than 10 years ago, I was working at Martha Stewart Living, and the folks at Ball Horticultural who were touting the plant to wholesalers and the press send me some babies to try. Baby they did not remain for very long, since ‘Dragon Wing’ is a lusty creature: One plant will easily fill a 10-inch pot all by itself, and gets to about 2 feet tall. It grows in semi-shade or even pretty substantial sun in my experience, and wants regular watering (but never to be sodden) and a dose of fish-emulsion and seaweed solution pretty regularly. A hungry thing.

‘Dragon Wing,’ which also comes in a pink-flowered form, blooms and blooms all season, with pendulous trusses of hot-red blossoms. When it came on the market, cooperative extension agents from many of the Southern states raved about it for its heat tolerance and adaptability, too, from Arkansas to Georgia and elsewhere.

Apparently I can cut it back and grow it like a houseplant over the winter, I’ve read…if I can find room for one more begonia inside in winter, that is, particularly one more of this massive scale. Have you grown it, and if so in what kind of situation: beds, pots, hanging baskets? If not, what’s your vote for “Begonia of the Week”?

  1. Suzanne Becker says:

    I love my devil wings. To make a Buddhist plant should I pinch the new plants back when I set them out? Thank you so much.

  2. John M. Titpon says:

    I’ve loved these plants since I first encountered them while my wife worked at Ball. We got freebies after their annual show and I’ve been propagating the same plant for more than 10 years. Matter-of-fact, I just gave away two babies I made in the last couple of months. I like that they’re a pretty green leaf in the shade, and can go nearly completely red in full sun. I don’t feed mine often, but if I do, the plant grows exponentially. Great indoors and out.

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