Begonia is a huge genus containing hundreds if not thousands of species. Do you know the difference between angel wing and dragon wing begonia? I have seen them labeled differently in plant stores and on the Internet.
I certainly don't know for sure but it makes no matter to me. I've heard them all called "hardy begonia."
Makes more sense to me to call the lighter green one on the right angel wing and the darker jagged leaf on the left dragon wing. But then again, names of plants don't always make sense. Of course if anyone officially knows the answer I'd be happy to know too.
My experience with these exotic types of hardy begonia began when my neighbor shared a cutting with me. It was a bare, thick, sturdy branch measuring about 2'.
That was about 6 years ago. Back when I was a fairly impatient gardener. Realizing how much I love propogating from cuttings now it is hard to believe I hardly had any inclination for it just that short time ago. Seasons in life change and I've grown very happy about that one cutting. I did "stick" that bare branch into the ground up next to the oak tree visible in the above photo. It must have received some ample rain because I paid no attention to it until one day when I noticed the 4' tall stalk blooming and it was then that I was reminded it had been put there a few months prior. I staked that drooping branch and that's when my love affair with these easy growers began.
From there, I began making cuttings for container plants. Anytime I needed another tall interest in a new pot, I would literally cut off a branch and "stick" it in the pot. The container above is on the back pool deck. It reminds me of an "island planting" ... something you might see in a very tropical location. It has both types of begonia growing side by side with purple queen trailing up and down, some variegated ivy and liriope in the back of the pot. This plant is massive and the stalks of begonia stand over 5' tall.
The glossy green leaves of angel wing are a beautiful contrast to the blush pink flowers uniquely draping and dripping out from underneath nearly every set of leaves. Once it begins blooming profusely in May or June, it continues until the end of the year. But truthfully, even in the quieter months it will have "some" blooms.
The dragon wing and angel wing both work great in filtered sun/partial shade. In partial shade, the look is lush, tropical and exotic.
I bought two dragon wing begonias as small plants last year for containers. They don't bloom as profusely but when they do it is a lighter pinky-white. When they got too big for the containers I decided to try them in the ground. I really wasn't sure how they would survive the sun, the heat and the humidity without the protection of the patio where they were initially. They have done quite beautifully and have proven they can take the heat of our hottest months. With the same propogation methods of "sticking" branches into the ground I now have them planted in containers and some in the ground.
The dragon wing above is planted in the ground. I'm especially fond of the ruffly form on the thick, deep green, polka-dotted leaves and the deep red on the underside peeking out at the curves of the leaves. Coupled next to persian shield, indian hawthorne, red pentas, and caladiums the overall combination is a tropical feast for the eyes.
Another begonia (above) given to me by another neighbor years ago survived many years of neglect. Now I adore it as it trails over the boundaries on the walkway entrance to my front door. I have absolutely no idea the name of this one and it has never bloomed. The leaves are 6-7' in diameter...
... and this is the underside of them viewing them from the other direction. I don't know if they are supposed to bloom but the foliage makes me happy enough.
There is one more exotic style begonia I recently received in the mail from Susan. After I drooled all over her blog about the Lotus begonia when she featured it blooming on her blog, she graciously dug this guy up and mailed it to me. Gardeners are the nicest people! Just last week I transplanted it into this new container garden. It is a shallow bowl measuring 38" x 12". The container of lemon lime dracaena, anthurium, black magic taro, coleus, and persian shield when filled in should make a nice exotic combination.