I’ve been in the horticulture biz for over 35 years now, and I’ve seen lots of plants rise in popularity, only to be dashed against the rocks as gardeners tire of them or a plant’s less desirable attributes become known. But in my humble opinion, Dragon Wing™ begonia is one of the most remarkable new garden flowers to come along in my career.

Dragon Wing™ begonia

Dragon Wing™ grows great in sun or shade.

Photo Credit: Gerald L. Klingaman

Dragon Wing™ begonia in container

Big containers deserve big plants like Dragon Wing™ begonia!

Photo Credit: Gerald L. Klingaman

Let’s start with its good looks: Dragon Wing is a 2- to 3-foot-tall, cane-forming begonia with deep, glossy-green, 5-inch-long leaves and tons of drooping flower clusters near its top. While the original Dragon Wing has bright red flowers, you can also find pink and white forms. And because this hybrid’s sterile, it just keeps blooming from spring till frost. In fact, I really only have one complaint with this beauty: It’s a bit messy on my deck. The plant makes so many flowers, I have to sweep them away from time to time to keep them from staining the wood red!

The fact that Dragon Wing is sterile is actually a good thing for us gardeners, as well as for the seed company that produces it. For us, sterile plants keep flowering over and over in an unfruitful attempt to procreate – adding nonstop color to our gardens. The seed company benefits because the only way seeds can be produced is to make the cross by hand and then harvest the seeds, which guarantees a lock on the market for this unique plant.

But it doesn’t really matter how it’s made – the plant just looks terrific and adds a flame of color in the heat of summer! Because of its size, Dragon Wing makes a great bedding plant – especially for those faraway spots where you want a burst of color. It’s great in mixed container plantings, too, as well as in perennial borders. (The plant’s also a good choice for commercial color plantings.) Just remember that Dragon Wing is a big guy, so give it plenty of room to grow.

Another benefit of this fantastic begonia is the fact that it’ll grow in sun or shade. (Just beware of the hot afternoon sun.) Like all begonias, Dragon Wing does best in fertile, well-drained (but never dry) organic soil. To keep it growing throughout summer, make sure it’s fertilized with some regularity. If your plants get too tall, just trim ’em back and reapply fertilizer to stimulate new growth. (And just a note for you lucky Southerners: Dragon Wing really thrives in your region’s heat and humidity!)

The only downside of this great plant is that gardeners can’t seem to get Dragon Wing early enough – it usually isn’t available in garden centers until late spring. Most growers offer it in larger container sizes for instant impact, though. So don’t be shy – give it a try. Your love for begonias will surely soar to new heights with the help of Dragon Wing!