beefsteak begonia

Beefsteak Begonia Plant Care Guide

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The Beefsteak Begonia is a popular indoor houseplant but can also be found growing from a hanging basket. In its native tropical forests of South America, it enjoys growing on rocks and trees as an epiphytic plant. The Beefsteak Begonia derives from the genus “Begonia,” which is very large.

The Beefsteak Begonia has beautiful dark green foliage with textured veins and stems, making it unique from other houseplants. This variety of Begonia also produces lovely orange flowers in the springtime, adding a dash of color and beauty to your home. Everything you need to know about growing beefsteak Begonia in your own home can be found below.

Beefsteak Begonia Overview

The Beefsteak Begonia is also known as the Begonia erythrophylla, Swamp Lily Begonia, Pond Lily Begonia, Kidney Begonia, and the Begonia bunchii. It derives from the genus “Begonia,” which includes over 1500 different species and thrives in humid conditions with well-drained soil.

Beefsteak Begonia belongs to the Begoniaceae family. Originating from South America, growing wild in Brazil and Argentina can be found. This variety of Begonia enjoys growing on rocks and trees, contributing to the distinct shape of its leaves and stems. Beefsteak Begonia plants come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some varieties have pink flowers, while some have dark green leaves with dark mahogany color on the underside. Other types of indoor houseplants have grown small or have compact growing habits.

Botanical NameBeefsteak Begonia
FamilyBegoniaceae
GenusBegonia
OriginSouth America
SunlightBright indirect sunlight
WateringWater the plant when the top layer of soil has begun to dry
SoilLoose, fast-draining mix
Temperature60°F to 70°F
PropagationHerbaceous stem cuttings and root ball division
Re-PottingEvery 2 to 3 years
Pests and DiseasesSusceptible to mealybugs, aphids, scales, and spider mites
ToxicityToxic to humans and pets

Beefsteak Begonia Features

The Begonia erythrophylla has beautiful dark green foliage with textured veins and stems, making it unique from other houseplants. The leaves and stems are smooth and glossy, while the underside has a velvety texture resembling suede and mahogany coloration.

These tropical plants are appealing to houseplant lovers across the world. They’re also deer resistant, making them perfect for planting in areas where deer are common outdoor visitors or pests around your garden or yard. Because of their large size, these begonias attract attention wherever they’re grown.

Beefsteak Begonia Care Guide

Begonia erythrophylla likes bright indirect sunlight and temperatures at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the growing season. It requires evenly moist soil during this time of year and should be fertilized once or twice a month.

During Dormancy Season, Beefsteak Begonia enjoys bright indirect sunlight for about 6 hours a day or less. It prefers temperatures around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, so you might need to turn on a heater if your home is too cold. Beefsteak Begonia doesn’t require as much water as during the growing season. It is normal for

Ideal Growing Place

The Beefsteak Begonia thrives in bright indirect light with temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, beefsteak Begonia prefers evenly moist soil.

Water

Beefsteak Begonia should be watered when the top layer of soil has begun to dry. If you are unsure if your plant needs water, check the leaves for signs of drooping. If the leaves don’t perk up within a day or two of watering, water again to rehydrate your Begonia Beefsteak.

Avoid overwatering your Beefsteak Begonia, especially during the winter when the Beefsteak Begonia goes dormant. This means your plant requires less frequent watering than usual and lets the soil dry out between watering sessions. Misting the plant is also recommended to keep it humid without overwatering during dormancy season.

Sunlight

Beefsteak Begonia needs bright indirect sunlight for about 6 hours a day. Because it is a tropical plant, it is used in both warm and humid conditions. If growing outside, avoid growing in a spot that gets too much direct sunlight to prevent burning the Begonia Beefsteak’s sensitive but beautiful foliage. An area with light shade is recommended to give relief from the direct sun. If growing inside, be wary of windows that receive a lot of direct sunlight throughout the day.

Temperature

Temperature-wise, Beefsteak Begonia prefers temperatures anywhere from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful to avoid placing your Beefsteak Begonia near drafty windows, doors, and air conditioning vents.

Soil

The ideal soil mixture for Beefsteak Begonia is a loose, fast-draining mix. Ensure the pot has plenty of drainage holes in its base to rid itself of excess water and avoid root rot. You can also improve soil quality by adding some sand or perlite to the garden soil.

Humidity

Beefsteak Begonia needs humidity levels of 60 to 80 percent. Keeping it in a room with forced-air heating or air conditioning can help create this humidity level, but you can also install a humidifier if needed. Misting your lovely plant is also a great way to keep the humidity up without worrying about excess water.

Fertilizer

Beefsteak Begonia needs to be fertilized once or twice a month during the growing season. Apply a liquid fertilizer, or create your own plant food, every couple of weeks while its leaves are green and growing. A little fertilizer can go a long way!

Pinching/Pruning

The Begonia family is known for its speedy growth. Once the stem of your fast-growing plant reaches 6 to 8 inches tall, pinch out the growing point at the top. This encourages branching and keeps your plant bushy.

Don’t remove any leaves while it’s growing indoors during its growing season. This only stimulates more growth, which will lead to stunted or delayed blooms. You can remove away any brown leaf tips if they begin to rot with clippers.

As the stem grows longer, pinch off new leaves near its base to keep your Beefsteak Begonia looking tidy indoors. Prune it back by half during springtime if you want to slow down its growth cycle.

Potting and Re-Potting

The best time to repot is mid-spring when the set of new leaves begins to show color. You can use humus-rich, fast-draining soil when repotting your Beefsteak Begonia at this time. The ideal location for repotted plants is a draft-free area where temperatures remain between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most people will need to repot their Beefsteak Begonia every 2 to 3 years. Potted plants should be handled with care when being moved around to prevent shock, leading to plant rot or fungal diseases.

Re-potting usually takes place in springtime for outdoor and indoor plants.

Growth Zone

The USDA plant hardiness zone for Beefsteak Begonia is 10 through 12, the warmest growing locations. Because These zones don’t often dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, they rarely experience frost or freezing temperatures. For locations that have colder winters, it may be wise to grow your Begonia outdoors during the summer and indoors during the winter. You will definitely have better luck if you move your plant indoors before the temperature drops.

Common Pests, Toxins, Diseases & Other Problems

Common pests include mealybugs, aphids, scales, and spider mites. Also, look for any signs of rotting leaves or brown tips on your plant.

Leaf spot and rot are the most common diseases that affect Beefsteak Begonia, so make sure you water sparingly during drought conditions. If your plant drops leaves, it could be because of a virus or nutrient deficiency.

The Beefsteak Begonia has a latex-like sap, so it is imperative to keep it away from your eyes. This begonia is also poisonous to people and pets if ingested. However, the roots have been used as a traditional herbal remedy in South America. They can help with stomach problems, respiratory issues, and skin problems in this form.

Beefsteak Begonia Propagation

Two accepted methods to propagate Beefsteak Begonia plants are herbaceous stem cuttings and root ball division. Propagation is best when done in the spring and summer seasons.

Herbaceous stem cuttings: Cut pieces about 5 inches long using a sharp knife, making sure to remove any leaves along the stem. Utilize a rooting hormone for increased success. Dip the bottom inch of the stem in rooting powder or liquid, then plant it into an organic potting mix. Keep the stem cutting warm and water when the top of the soil becomes dry. Growth should occur in about three weeks using this method.

Rootball division: Beefsteak Begonia is a rhizomatous plant. Start by pulling your plant out of the pot or ground and loosen the soil around the root ball. Separate any offshoots from the primary plant root ball through the rhizome. To be successful, make sure the rootball has at least a few leaves and enough roots to take hold. Like the stem cutting method, plant into a new pot. Make sure to keep warm and water when the topsoil becomes dry.

Beefsteak Begonia Plant Mature Timeline

The Beefsteak Begonia has various growth stages. Some people may consider week one after planting as seedling or sprout stage, which is when it begins to grow roots and leaves. At this point, you should water your plant regularly until seeds fall off or seedlings grow.

The next stage would be when leaves are visibly outgrowing the stem; this is known as juvenile growth. Once your plant has reached this point, it will adapt to its current environment and continue to flourish without much help.

Leaves should be thick and green at this stage, while the stems should be thick and full. It will continue to grow until the leaves become too large for the plant, which happens somewhere between week eight and week twelve after planting.

At this point, you can let your Begonia go dormant by watering it sparingly during winter months—only watering enough so that the soil does not dry out completely. Then, in springtime, you can resume regular watering and care for your Begonia until the leaves thicken up again.

You can expect your plant to grow until it reaches its full size after about one year. Once that happens, all you need to do is prune the leaves often and maintain a healthy planting environment for optimal growth.

Beefsteak Begonia FAQ

How Old Does Beefsteak Begonia Have to Be Before They Bloom?

Beefsteak Begonia is a relatively small plant that does not need as much maturity as larger plants to bloom. In fact, it will begin blooming after one year from seed. Beefsteak Begonia Primarily produces pink flowers but can sometimes produce white flowers as well.

How Long Do Potted Beefsteak Begonias Last?

The typical lifespan of a potted Begonia plant is about two to three years. Begonia plants have relatively short lifespans, but you can always propagate them to create other plants using the methods above! 

How Do You Save a Dying Beef Steak Begonia?

Methods for saving a dying Beefsteak Begonia depend on what is killing it. If your plant is older than three years, it may have reached the end of its natural life cycle.

If your Begonia has become severely dehydrated, you can soak it in a bucket or sink full of water until it cannot hold any more liquid. Once the roots have fully rehydrated, you should see a big difference in your plant.

Conversely, if your plant has been over-watered, remove it from its current pot and transfer it to one that has better drainage. Use fresh, dry potting soil. If the plant has been damaged from the excess water or has developed root rot, cut off the dead or dying sections before repotting.

For pests such as mealybugs, aphids, scales, and spider mites, swab the plant’s leaves with rubbing alcohol. This will kill the pests while leaving your Begonia intact.

Are Beefsteak Begonias Rare?

Yes. Beefsteak Begonia is a rare tropical plant but can sometimes be found growing in a garden center or online.

Are Beefsteak Begonias Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

Yes, Beefsteak Begonias can be toxic, not only to cats and dogs but humans as well. When growing beefsteak Begonias, keep out of reach of pets and young children who could potentially ingest this plant. Like other Begonias, consumption can cause dizziness, stomach irritation, diarrhea, vomiting, and a burning sensation.

How Do You Divide Beefsteak Begonias?

Using the stem cutting and root ball division method explained above, you can divide your plant if it gets too big. Then, replant the pieces in new pots filled with rich, moist soil.

When Should I Repot Beefsteak Begonias?

If you plan on moving your plant to a larger pot, do so before the plant becomes root-bound. A Beefsteak Begonia will survive in a small pot for years, but it will grow faster and be more attractive if potted appropriately.

Why Are My Begonias Leaves Turning Yellow?

There are many reasons why your leaves may turn yellow, including watering too much, overfeeding, too little light, using the wrong kind of potting soil or fertilizer, poor drainage, or under-soil heating.

Where Can I Buy Beefsteak Begonia?

You can buy Beefsteak Begonias from a retailer online or in garden centers if in stock.

The Bottom Line

The Beefsteak Begonia is one of the most popular plants out there. Once your plant reaches its full size after about one year, all you need to do is prune the leaves often and maintain a healthy planting environment for optimal growth. Just remember: warmer temperatures, bright, indirect light, and increase humidity if needed.

If you’re looking for a tropical beauty and not afraid of a little work between seasons, the Begonia Erythrophylla just might be the right plant for you. Are you thinking about adding a Beefsteak Begonia to your home?

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