Beefsteak Begonia in the Home and Garden

Beefsteak Begonia (Begonia erythrophylla)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. Beefsteak Begonia, Begonia erythrophylla

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)Beefsteak Begonia, Begonia

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!

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!Beefsteak Begonia, Begonia

2017 copyrighted material C Renee


8 thoughts on “Beefsteak Begonia in the Home and Garden

  1. My beefsteak begonia has curled leaves and it still has not flowered for me but I know it has before since I gave it to a friend because it almost died and she revived it for me and it has been beautiful ever since….I also love Immense begonias and angle wing begonias both are easy to grow and flower too….thanks for you web page !!!!

    • Did you let it get chilled by the fall weather? Curling leaves could mean a water problem-you are not watering with straight tap water? Keep the Begonia soil moist but not dripping wet. Visit me over at my Facebook page with pictures to see if I can see. Thank you for stopping

  2. I am wondering if you can “train” a beefsteak begonia. My begonia is growing healthily, but I am concerned about the direction of the rhizome stem. It grows horizontally and is now hanging out of the pot. I’m worried about the weight of the leaves and if it will just grow downward. Should I try propping up the stem to encourage it to grow in a different direction? Or should I put it in a bigger pot and let it lay on the soil? (I’m hesitant to repot because she seems so happy.) I would appreciate any advice. Thanks!

    • I have not reported mine in 6 years. I just let him hang out of the pot. Mine are blooming again and they just seem happy and if they are I would not do a thing to it I would just let the leaves flop over. I just let mine be. You could try to root them by putting a small pot with dirt next to the main pot and setting the leaves or if the rhizomes the thick stems are growing out of the pot try to root it that way. Did that make sense?

      • Hi again, I just wanted any tips on yellow turning leaves, and my plant has still not flowered!!! I may not have it in the right window but overall the leaves are turning light color and than yellow and I just think they are turning old but do not look old? any suggestions

      • Okay do you have a beefsteak begonia? If you do then the yellowing leaves may be caused by the water you are using and / or overwatering. Take off any yellowing leaves and make sure the plant dries out on top before watering. (about once a week). blooming for beefsteaks happen in January through March and they love to be outside in teh shade garden all summer until the night time temps reach about 40-45 degrees for a few days. they need this chill for blooms. the blooms are not that significant but they are nice to see while having coffee in the morning. In side the begonia will do well in a brightly lit room without direct sunlight. Fertilize in spring and summer a couple times. they are really a carefree plant. any more questions- ask!

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