24
April
2012

Dragon Wing Begonias

begoniadwOur standard for Begonias is the Cocktail series of wax Begonias, sold in the 8-inch pot. We discussed this plant several times last year, and we consider it to be a bedrock plant that everyone wants and uses.

One of the things we appreciate as Begonia growers is the diversity the genus brings to the table. Multiple flower forms abound, along with various leaf forms. Yet, they all need the same basic care as our tried-and-true Cocktails. This simple fact gives both retailers and landscapers the ability to explore a variety of designs and price points without the headache of mastering an assortment of care requirements. 

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To illustrate this point, consider the Dragon Wing Begonia. Here is a plant very similar to the Cocktail series—it grows in both sunny and shady locations; it works well in landscape beds as well as in pots and combination planters.

Yet, it’s an entirely different plant——it’s more architectural. This means the plant has more internal structure to hold its form. The leaf exhibits an unusual angel-wing shape, and the bloom is held out on a longer stem, extending the color over rather than in the middle of the foliage.

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Now, it turns out the plant does change its character based on light conditions. In sunny places, the leaves gain more red, and the plant becomes more compact. In the shade, the foliage is green and opens up more, which makes it larger and softer in appearance. Bloom count is high in both cases—a little higher in the sunny location—and the blooms last through the summer into the fall.

Point blank: this is a more expensive Begonia than the Cocktail. The initial plugs cost a lot more and the growing protocol is a little different, to get that oomph in the color display. Remember, this is a plant that would work fabulously in a premium lineup. It’s a fancy Begonia, and it looks like one.

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If Cocktail is your standard-price Begonia, Dragon Wing is an excellent choice for the better basket or the centerpiece garden next to the entrance sign; it’s the perfect Begonia to recommend to a client who appreciates your work. This doesn’t look or feel like a cheap plant—for the price, it certainly delivers that “wow!” factor.

Consider combining Dragon Wings with Super Elfin Impatiens, or one of the Kong Coleuses. We’ve also seen them backed by Pennisetum rubrum or the fancier ‘Fireworks’. Dragon Wings are big enough to plant around the base of arborvitaes or in a basket hanging on the neck of a fancy street lamp. They are stunning in mixed presentations or even as solo containers or baskets. 

By all means reserve the Dragon Wing as your big Begonia. Planted next to a Cocktail, the Dragon Wing will always look larger, lusher, and showier than its neighbor. Don’t put it in a small pot or a tight place, because the plant will overwhelm its space and appear crowded.

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We offer Dragon Wing Begonias in both pink and red. They are available in 10-inch hanging baskets, 4.5-inch pots for beds and combos, and even in 1801 landscape trays for larger applications.

Million Kisses is another style of Dragon Wing Begonia we carry, but that’s a story for another Crop Review.

Heads up: You do need to order this crop soon, because it usually sells out before the other Begonias do.

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Diefenbacher Greenhouses is a supplier of annuals and creative green goods. We sell directly to Garden Centers and Landscapers in the Cincinnati Area. 

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