Fun Fall Container Gardening
There is nothing as wonderful as the non-stop flowering begonia through spring and summer. Dragon Wing Begonia, named for its angel-wing shaped leaves, is my absolute favorite. There are many varieties of begonia, from perennial to tuberous, but I prefer Begonia x hybrida ‘dragon wing’, which is amazingly heat tolerant while still offering a lot of bloom. This beautiful hybrid from the Begoniaceae family is an introduction that blooms red or pink non-stop from beginning to end of the season. Plants grow 30 cm to 38 cm by 30 cm to 38 cm, dependent upon light conditions and work well as a filler or spiller.
Because it is a sterile hybrid, Dragon Wing Begonia does not self seed and puts all its energy into flowering. Dragon wing has exceptional tolerance for heat and humidity, performs well in deep shade areas, having few disease problems. Dragon wing leaves are elongated, pointy, and waxy with hints of bronze around the edges. When you see the begonia at the first of the season at the garden center they look ugly and unflowered, but once planted, they quickly become the Queen of the Shade Annuals.
Plant this flower in shade or part shade in the spring after the last frost in a rich well-drained soil with compost or manure mixed in for better root development. This is a compact plant that forms dense mounds and adores being planted in a container, so be sure to give it plenty of room to grow. Dragon wing likes an organic fertilizer once every four weeks. While the plant will do well in part sun, it really prefers part shade or shade. Make sure the plant gets afternoon shade if it is in sunnier conditions. Dragon wing prefers moisture, but will tolerate short periods of drought.
Since dragon wing’s do so well in shade, I prefer to partner them with colorful shade annual companions like sweet potato vine and coleus. Ornamental edibles such as Italian lacinato kale and Swiss chard make wonderful container companions as well. Dragon wing looks amazing planted en masse beneath shade trees.
Shawna Coronado is a successful author, blogger, photographer, and media host who focuses on wellness by teaching green lifestyle living, organic gardening, and anti-inflammatory culinary. Most recently Shawna has written the books “Grow a Living Wall” and “101 Organic Gardening Hacks”. Shawna campaigns for social and community good – her garden, food, and eco-adventures have been featured in many media venues including television news programming, radio broadcasting, and PBS television. You can learn more about Shawna at www.shawnacoronado.com.
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