Beefsteak Begonia (Begonia erythrophylla) is both a plant for the home and garden. There are many Begonia varieties out there at garden centers and nurseries but finding the Beefsteak Begonia may be a challenge. It is not a commonly found plant and has a history (or story) of being passed down from plant lover to plant lover throughout the years.
And this is how I came to care for my two Beefsteak Begonias. An old friend gave them to me 5 or 6 years ago when she could not care for them any more. She told me she was given the plants by a friend a few years before. My Beefsteak Begonias are still in the same pots and have bloomed for the past 3 years in the winter. They are not real impressive blooms but they are blooms. What is more fascinating is that each Beefsteak Begonia has its own color of blooms- one is a creamy white and the other is a very pale pink.You will also see that one of my begonias has swirlier looking leaves than the other one.
The Beefsteak Begonia does not like to dry out but does not like to have wet feet either so you need to make sure you have a well draining pot. The Begonia loves the heat and humidity of summer in the bright shade of the gazebo and the leaves really show off their color. In the fall I let my houseplants stay out until the night time temps start to fall around 45 degrees. Many plants need this chill to trigger them to bloom and since I started doing this with the Beefsteak Begonia, it has bloomed in Jan-March.
There are only a few articles I have found on the care of the Beefsteak Begonia.So below I am going to give you the care instructions that have worked for me for several years. A few pointers for the Beefsteak Begonia:
- Do not water with straight tap water
- Fertilize with Alaskan Fish Fertilizer
- Do not overwater or let sit in soggy soil
- Bright indirect light in winter time window and Light Shade in summer (no direct sunlight or you will burn the leaves)
- Let it become root bound and remove the dying leaves
- It can tolerate low temps of 40-45 at night for a few days which tells it to bloom in January inside
- Likes room temperature of 60-65 degrees in winter
- Grows from rhizomes which can be divided for new plants
- There is success rooting stems in water (but I have not tried with this plant)
- There is success in rooting stems and leaves in potting soil (I have not tried with this plant)
I need to repot my Beefsteak Begonias but they are growing so well I hate to disturb them.
Do you have a Beefsteak Begonia or other Begonia you have had for years? I would love to hear from you if you do!
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2017 copyrighted material C Renee