If you are the kind of person who appreciates attention-grabbing foliage in your living room, the Beefsteak Begonia must be the plant that goes right up your alley!
Begonia Erythrophylla, more popularly known as the Beefsteak Begonia, is a favorite when it comes to indoor plants.
You might already be familiar with the name of this plant as it is quite popular with plant parents—thanks to the fact that this plant can add that very sought-after versatile aesthetic touch to your home!
Being a pretty variety of the Rex Begonia genus, this plant is quite convenient to grow at home and take care of.
Besides, the Beefsteak Begonia is not just a pretty thing to look at, one of its bonuses is the ease with which you can grow this plant in your house on your own!
I must admit that this is a plant that is both gorgeous, and simple to deal with!
Beefsteak Begonia care
The Beefsteak Begonia was hybridized in Germany, so the plant is naturally acclimated to a temperate climate. It thrives within a temperature range of 45-85℉( 7-29℃). A humidity level of 50% is ideal for its optimum growth. The Beefsteak Begonia needs well-aerated soil to grow, and it grows best in bright but indirect sunlight. Do not water the plant too frequently, because it doesn’t thrive in stagnant water.
When it comes to the Beefsteak Begonia, being able to prepare the right kind of soil for the plant is one of the most crucial steps.
This plant is not built to be able to tolerate stagnant water, and in the days before it matures completely, this plant is even more vulnerable to standing water.
Naturally, the soil has to be such that the soil particles are not very closely packed or cohesive.
It does not do very well in sticky soil where there is little inter-grain space. Hence, you need to arrange for the right kind of soil that is airy, as well as light.
Water needs to be able to slip by for efficient drainage and aeration because otherwise, your plants’ roots will rot!
I would suggest a violet potting soil premix because that is the kind of texture you would want for your Beefsteak Begonia, plus, this premix is quite easily available.
The Beefsteak Begonia is a moderately brightness-loving plant, but that does not mean that growing it indoors becomes a difficult task.
As long as the plant receives enough light, it will be completely okay wherever you put it indoors.
The Beefsteak Begonia thrives in bright, filtered sunlight. Exposing your Beefsteak Begonia to direct harsh sunlight can cause the leaves to dry up or get charred (especially in the summer months).
Indirect, unfiltered sunlight works the best for this plant—so putting it on a well-lit windowsill that faces the morning sun might be the best option, the way I see it!
During winters, if you judge that the sun is not harsh enough to burn the leaves of your plant, you could put the plant under direct sunlight for a little period, but make sure to be careful about the condition of the leaves, of course.
To be on the safe side, you can leave your plant out in the mellow winter sun for about a couple of hours a day, and definitely for not more than three or four hours at a time.
The frequency of the watering schedule is quite pivotal for the proper growth of the Beefsteak Begonia.
First of all, this is not a plant that appreciates stagnant water at all, and especially in its early years. Water standing at the roots for too long can prove to be fatal for the plant.
However, in the first fortnight of its growth, the Beefsteak Begonia will do well with frequent watering, but you will have to make sure that the water doesn’t stagnate at the roots by picking a loose, porous kind of soil.
As the plant slowly matures, its water requirements go from frequent to moderate. A very good way of figuring when your plant needs to be watered is by checking the topsoil.
If the first inch, or inch and a half of the soil seem dry to touch, then that will serve as a very appropriate indication for you to water your Beefsteak Begonia.
The temperature of the water, when you give it to your plant, should in no way be anything beyond room temperature.
Hot or cold water can send the plant spiraling into sensory shock, so room temperature is what works best.
Also, keep in mind that the water should not be saline or mixed up with too many impurities.
So, say if your tap water comes with these attributes, maybe arranging for distilled and purified water for your plant will be a good idea.
Temperatures roughly between 45-85℉ (7-29℃) are what the Beefsteak Begonia is the most comfortable in.
However, air conditioning systems, heaters, coolers, and the like can dry up the air in the room beyond levels that fall within the plant’s range of tolerance, so make sure your plant is placed well away from such air conditioning systems.
The Beefsteak Begonia plant can be quite flexible when it comes to the plant’s humidity requirements.
This plant can survive in quite a wide range of humidity. Around 50 % humidity in the air is just about ideal for the plant to thrive in.
This is the perfect level of humidity for the plant’s foliage to prosper. But, If you feel that the humidity in the air is less than what the plant might need, there are a couple of simple things that you can do to correct that.
For example, you could try placing a few plants close together to trap the moisture from the air, or you can fill a water tray with pebbles and place the pot of your Beefsteak Begonia on it.
The Beefsteak Begonia is one of those super convenient species that can thrive with little fertilizer.
I will recommend fertilizing just in the summer months, and even then, avoid going in with the full strength of the fertilizer.
I suggest you check for the recommended strength of the fertilizer in the manual or on the pack, and then, dilute the fertilizer to roughly half of the recommended strength.
As for the kind of fertilizer you should be going for, any typical fertilizer meant for houseplants should work just fine.
During the summer months, fertilize the plant every fortnight at most, or simply relax the routine to fertilize it once a month.
The plant grows less rapidly in winters compared to summers, so as the seasons change if you notice that the growth rate of the plant is slowing down, that will be the cue for you to stop fertilizing the plant entirely.
I mean, why try to fix that which isn’t broken, right?
The Beefsteak Begonia has different rates of growth in the summer and winter months respectively.
The summer season is when the plant grows most rapidly, and as a result, this is when it needs slightly more watering, and fertilizer if at all. During the winter months, however, its growth rate drops significantly.
When the plant matures, it produces beautiful pink blossoms in the flowering season, which, for the Beefsteak Begonia, happens to be Spring.
Frankly, even though I’ve gone over tons of reasons for you to love this plant already, I think the flowers take the cake as the most adorable thing about the Beefsteak Begonia.
Ideally, the plant flowers in the spring season every year, so unless something terrible happens to the plant, this is going to be your annual supply of extra serotonin!
Beefsteak Begonia produces pink flowers on long stalks according to a publication about the impact of growing media on the growth and flowering of the Beefsteak Begonia on Reaearchgate.
The Beefsteak Begonia requires light to basic pruning, and when you should be doing it depends on whenever you see fit.
The advantages of pruning include swifter foliage growth, so by all means, go ahead with the slight pruning.
Just remember that the apparatus you use must be such that no extra damage is caused to the plant.
For example, please don’t go in with blunt sheers, as blunt blades can cause excessive trauma to the stems.
Sterilize your sheers and ensure that they are sharp enough for the purpose. Also, don’t cut off parts of the plant indiscriminately. Pick the exact point where the base of the leaf meets the stalk.
Beefsteak Begonia offers several alternatives when it comes to propagation.
While more cumbersome methods like root ball division will feature on this list, I strongly suggest that you go for something like stem cutting or water propagation.
These are just methods that are way easier to carry out!
- For procuring a stem cutting, grab a sharp knife and cut off 6 or 7 inches (15 to 17 cm) of the stem, from just under the base of a leaf. Plant this the ideal soil mix mentioned above and water it frequently. This is all you need to do to watch this little snip grow into a full plant eventually!
- As for water propagation, plant the snip directly in water and when the leaves start to appear, replant the growing plant into the kind of soil it thrives in. That’s it!
Common problems for Beefsteak Begonia
- If you notice yellow spots on the leaves or of the plant as a whole, then this is a fairly common condition that happens because of excessive humidity or slushy leaves. If this happens, in order to stop the spread of this condition, the best course of action would be to immediately cut off the leaf or the part that has been affected.
- On the subject of pests, aphids can pose quite a problem because aphid infestations are unfortunately fairly common in the Beefsteak Begonia. If this happens, the first step is to review the watering schedule and ensure that the plant is properly hydrated. Second, gently massaging a mild insecticidal wash all over the plant surface should suffice to get rid of the pests.
Frequently Asked Questions about Beefsteak Begonia
How long do potted Begonias last?
A potted Begonia plant will typically live for about a couple of years, maybe three. Plant species that are included in the Begonia family don’t really have very long lifespans, but don’t worry~ you could always just propagate them!
How do you propagate Beefsteak Begonias?
Most conveniently, Beefsteak Begonias are propagated by stem cuttings. You could take four or six inches of the stem. It’s best if the cuttings end in a bud and have no leaves at the bottom.
Do Begonias like sun or shade?
Begonias typically appreciate warmth and brightness but don’t expose it to harsh and direct sunlight. Certain Begonia varieties may tolerate more sun but in general, bright, indirect sunlight is the way to go with these plants.
Are Begonias toxic for pets?
The Beefsteak Begonia is completely harmless for human beings but it might be slightly dicey to have pets around the plants because the plant can be very toxic to some species of animals, so that is something you will have to look out for.
The Beefsteak Begonia can grow anywhere between 6-20 inches (15-50cm) in height.
It is quite a short plant, and is naturally easy to place around the house because it won’t be taking up too much space at all!
Now that you know the basics of taking care of a Beefsteak Begonia, it would be quite a shame if you didn’t get yourself one of these pretty plants right away.
After all, you will be denying yourself the pleasure of lovely pink flowers every spring, and let’s be honest, you know that you want this plant in your life! So what are you waiting for?
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.