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A Complete Guide to Grow and Care Beefsteak Begonia

Beefsteak begonia has round translucent leaves and light pink flowers, offering beauty and limelight to your living space with minimal care.

Generally, Beefsteak begonia requires well-draining, porous soil (pH 6.1 to 7.5), 6-8 hours of indirect bright light, a humidity of 50%, and a temperature of 45-85℉. Also, give watering once or twice every week, fertilizer every 2-4 weeks, and timely pruning with repotting once in 1-2 years.

Stay with the article till the end to make the Beefsteak begonia a lavish member of your garden and indoors.

Overview of Beefsteak Begonia

Beefsteak begonia is a hybrid version of Begonia manicata and Begonia hydrocotylifolia, hybridized in 1845 in Germany.

Scientific NameBegonia Erythrophylla
Common NameBeefsteak Begonia, Beef Begonia, Kidney begonia
Family Begoniaceae
USDA Growth Zone 10-11
Plant TypeEvergreen perennial rhizomatous plant
Height 20-24 inches
Spread8-36 inches
Grown For Foliage and Flowers
Flower Papilionaceous type
Pink white color flower
Bloom TimeLate winter to early spring
Foliage Color Greenish bronze copper color on the upper side and Red/Burgundy on the undersides
ToxicityToxic to both human and pets

Beefsteak Begonia: Complete Grow and Care Guide

Despite having direct care, some of the requirement of Beefsteak begonia is specific compared to other house plants.

A template containing an entire care tips for Beefsteak begonia.
Fulfill all the care to make your Beefsteak begonia bloom.

1. Sunlight and Temperature

The Beefsteak begonia is among plants that adore plenty of indirect light with temperatures similar to temperate and tropical climates.

So provide it with 6-8 hours of bright indirect light and a temperature of 45-85ºF with 3-4 hours of the morning sun.

However, be careful not to introduce them to scorching direct light as it might burn the foliage and cause discoloration and browning of edges.

In contrast, the low light condition with cold temperatures (<45ºF) stresses the plant and causes it to droop, wilt and leaves to fall off.

Balance the light intensity by placing the pot in an east-facing window and installing grow light to keep the plant under it for 8-12 hours if there is insufficient light.

And better to avoid drafty places, windows in winter, and heating and cooling vents like heaters and radiators to prevent fluctuating temperatures.

You can use heating pads and frost blankets on winter days to prevent the degeneration of plant activities.

2. Water & Humidity

Generally, Beefsteak begonia adores consistently moist but not soggy soil with a preference for a wide range of humidity.

Scheduling the water once or twice a week in spring and about 50% of the relative humidity prevent the Beefsteak from being in overwater or underwater conditions.

When the plant is overwatered, it blocks tiny air pockets in the soil and reduces aeration, increasing the chance of yellowing, limpness of leaves and root rot.

In contrast, if the Beefsteak begonia becomes subject to drought for a prolonged time, its leaves curls and turn brown and crispy.

So, maintain the soil moisture and boost the humidity by installing an electric humidifier, using the pebble tray method or grouping the Beefsteak together.

Remember to let the soil dry and check 2 inches deep of the topsoil with a finger for any moisture before the next watering.

3. Soil & Fertilizer

Well-draining, light, porous, nutrient-rich soil with a pH range of 6.1 to 7.5 is best for Begonia Beefsteak.

If the soil is poorly draining, it hinders oxygen flow in the plant’s roots and houses root rot bacteria. Therefore, always choose a potting mix that supports fast drainage.

You can prepare the DIY mix using a regular potting mix, perlite or coconut coir, sand, and organic fertilizer in a ratio of 2:2:1:1.

Pro Tips- You can mix crushed charcoal, wooden bark, chips, or dried leaves to make the soil porous.

And you might need to add all-purpose liquid fertilizer diluted to 50% once every 2-4 weeks in the growing season to the DIY mix to boost its nutrient element.

Alternatively, opt for commercial mixes like Harris Premium Soil, Noot Organic Mix, and Miracle-Gro Potting Mix, as they already have nutrient blends.

Wait for at least six months before fertilizing the commercial mixes to prevent overfertilization, as accumulated salts burn the leaves and damage the root.

4. Potting and Repotting

Generally, a 6-8 inches pot is ideal for Beefsteak begonia. However, a 6-inch pot is the smallest you can use for the plant.

Besides the size, use a pot with a good number of drainage holes and good water retention and absorption capability, like terracotta.
Beefsteak Begonia Potted in Terracotta Pot with a Saucer
Terracotta pot has high porosity that absorbs water and releases excess moisture quickly.

Beefsteak begonia likes to be slightly root-bound, requiring less frequent repotting, mainly once every 1-2 years.

You can identify the repotting time by looking over the signs like stunted growth, discoloration of foliage, extremely tangled roots, leggy growth, etc.

Start by removing 25% of the soil from the pot, grab the stem base, and take your Beefsteak begonia out.

Take a container 2 inches larger in diameter and height than the earlier one and layer a few pebbles.

Then, half-fill the container with potting mix, place your Beefsteak at the center and fill it with the potting mixture from the sides, leaving an inch of space from the brim.

Now, water the plant thoroughly and leave it in a bright space to let the Beefsteak revive the repotting stress naturally.

5. Timely Pruning

Unlike Pothos and Ruby Cascade, Beefsteak begonia does not require frequent pruning. Deadheading only damaged, diseased, and leggy leaves will promote growth.

The damage in the leaves occurs due to the attack of pests like Spider Mites, Whiteflies, Scales, Mealy bugs, and Aphids.

You can identify their presence by looking at the discolored, yellow blotchy leaves with webs and cotton-like substance underside.

So, control the number of pests by spraying neem oil or insecticidal soap. You can even scrape off pests using blunt knives and blades.

On the other hand, disease like Bacterial leaf spot, Botrytis blight, Powdery mildew, Gray mold, and Root rot commonly occurs in Beefsteak begonia.

The effect seen is black or brown circular spots in leaves and flowers turning yellow and having brown patches with mushy roots giving off a foul smell.

Prune off the infected parts with sterilized pruning shears as soon as you notice and isolate the infected Beefsteak begonia from other members.

Use copper-rich fungicides or fungicides containing sulfur to control disease spread to the healthy ones.

It is ideal to prune the Beefsteak begonia once in 1-2 years during fall or the end of summer when the flower stops blooming.

Beefsteak Begonia: All About Growth Rate

Beefsteak begonia is a fast-growing plant with a mature height of 20-24 inches and a spread of 8-36 inches.

Moreover, the plant exhibits two different growth phases. It proliferates in summer and spring but goes under dormancy in winter.

While growing, the Beefsteak begonia gives out vivid green leaves at an early stage that turns glossy, round red-hued with a thin, light green star at the center in maturity.

Similarly, the pinkish-white flower standing at the top of the long stalk with a mild, liveable fragrance makes Beefsteak a center decor piece.

Generally, Beefsteak begonia produces flowers in the spring and early summer seasons if given timely pruning and adequate light.

Toxicity of Beefsteak Begonia

If you have Beefsteak begonia or plan to have one, keep your children and pets away as it is poisonous.

According to ASPCA, all the species of Begonia contains Soluble calcium oxalates, including Beefsteak, which causes harm to cats, dogs, and horses on ingestion.

When ingested by humans, it causes breathing difficulty, swollen lips, swollen tongue, nausea, vomiting, and a burning sensation in the stomach.

While in the pets, it shows signs of drooling, continuous pawing at the mouth, and vomiting.

Also, its sap might cause skin and eye irritation. Therefore, you need to keep the Beefsteak begonia out of the reach of children and pets.

If you or your children exhibit such symptoms, seek medical help by contacting the immediate helpline number as soon as possible.

Methods of Propagating Beefsteak Begonia

Among various alternatives for propagating Beefsteak begonia, the easiest and fastest is the asexual method, using roots, stems, or leaves.

Meanwhile, a favorable environment is essential since propagation involves either adaptation to the new environment or new growth.

Therefore, spring and summer are the best time to propagate Beefsteak begonia.

1. Root Ball Division

Beefsteak begonia is rhizomatous plant. When the rhizome finds favorable conditions, it produces offsets.

  • Take the plant out of the pot by gripping it from the base of the stem. Now, gently loosen about half of its soil.
  • Inspect the roots for any offsets. If there are offsets, separate them from the mother plant using a hand or sterilized blade or knife.
  • While separating, let each offset have 2-3 leaves and rootballs, along with a few roots.
  • Now, apply antifungal or rooting powder to the broken point in the rhizome, which is optional.

Pro Tip- Fresh Aloe vera gel and wild turmeric also have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. So, you can also apply them instead of a commercial product.

  • Now, pot the plant directly in the soil, sphagnum moss, or LECA medium.

Besides, you can also propagate it in the water, though water propagation is generally for rooting.

2. Stem Cuttings

Although Beefsteak is a rhizomatous plant, it can quickly propagate via stem cuttings.

  • First, make an incision on the stem just under the leaf base. Make sure each cutting is at least 6-7 inches in length.
  • Apply some rooting hormones. But, the step is optional.
  • Now, pot the cuttings in soil or sphagnum moss. However, water propagation is the best method for rooting.
  • If you propagate the stem cuttings in water, change the water once every 3-4 days.
The cuttings will start to develop roots in one to three weeks in the soil and two weeks in water.

3. Division of Rhizomes

You will need a mature Beefsteak to Propagate it Via Rhizomes.

  • Take the plant out of the pot and gently loosen half its soil.
  • Inspect for long and matured rhizomes. Once you find the rhizomes, divide them into as many parts as you like, but each piece must be 1.5-3 inches long.
  • Now, gently press the rhizomes in the soil, LECA, or sphagnum moss, as per your choice.
  • Remember that the bottom should be inside the soil, and the upper part should be towards the air.
  • Lastly, place the newly potted rhizomes in a bright area.
Generally, it will take 3-4 weeks to produce new Beefsteak from rhizomes.

Take reference from the video below!

Where to Buy Beefsteak Begonia

After learning all the required care tips for the Beefsteak begonia, you are ready to bring one home.

Look at the table below to know the available site for buying Beefsteak begonia.

StoreShipping Time
Taylor Green Houses5-7 business days
Steve's Leaves1-3 business days
Accents For Home And Garden30-60 business days
Epihaven5-7 business days

FAQs About Beefsteak Begonia

Is Beefsteak begonia rare?

Begonia erythrophylla (Beefsteak begonia) is rare as it is a hybridized variety holding its history back from 1845 when first produced in Germany.

Moreover, they are not readily available in plant stores. So, if you have Beefsteak, try propagating it to share with your friends and family.

Do Beefsteak begonia flower?

Yes. Beefsteak begonia being an heirloom variety, gives a papilionaceous pink, white flower on the top of long, slender stems year around.

How long will my potted Begonia last?

Begonias generally do not have a long life span. However, it lasts slightly longer if the variety is tuberous or rhizomatic.

So being a rhizomatous plant, the potted Beefsteak usually lasts 2-4 years if provided with better care.

Final Thought

Your Beefsteak begonia does not shy away from taking the limelight, as it cannot go unheeded and neglected.

A proper combination of light, nutrition, and protection from the enemies can yield a lush and shiny Beefsteak in any space indoors.

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