Cane begonias have been popular plants for many years and
were probably grown by your Grandmother, who called them "Angel Wing"
begonias. Many types have been created since then, although those grown by
your Grandmother are probably still in cultivation. There are several
types of canes in varying sizes but they all have in common tough stems
that have a bamboo-like appearance, which is why they are called canes.
The superba canes generally grow the largest. They can have leaves up to
about 14 inches long and can grow to 12 feet high although they are
usually kept smaller and more compact. They have leaves that are cut and
most types have silver spots or splashes on them. The flowers are in large
clusters and some are fragrant. Canes are most popular in the southern
states where they are grown outdoors in frost free areas but they can also
be grown quite well indoors or in a greenhouse.
Two begonia hybridizers, Irene Nuss and Belva Kusler
created many of the first superbas to become popular. Irene's hybrid
B.'Irene Nuss' and Belva's B.'Sophie Cecile' are the two most widely
circulated superbas of all time. The other most popular type of cane is
the type formally called "angel wing" begonias. These come in every size
from those commonly grown in baskets to large upright plants but all have
the familiar pointed leaf shape that gave them their former common name.
This type is still widely grown and many new hybrids are created every
year. Many have silver spotted/splashed leaves and some have different
serrated edges. Most are heavy bloomers, some even everbloomers.