Beefsteak Begonia is one of the most popular plant choices when it comes to someone who just wants some foliage. They are a non-flowering plant, but their wide and colorful leaves are beautiful on their own. They are meant to be indoor plants because they cannot handle frosty weather.
- Scientific Name: Begonia Erythrophylla
- Common Names: Beefstake Begonia, Beef Begonia, Swamp Lily Begonia, Pond Lily Begonia, Kidney Begonia
- Origin: Germany
- Indoor or Outdoor: Indoor
- Height and Structure: 6 to 20 Inches TallTemperature45°F to 85°F (7°C to 29°C)
- Flower Colo: Pink
As with any other kind of plant, many different things have to be taken into consideration when it comes to planting and growing a Beefsteak Begonia. If these steps are not considered, then there is a high likelihood that the plant will not thrive let alone live.
This plant grows rather wide and has large foliage, so it is important to use the proper amount of spacing when planting them. Each bulb should be planted at least 8 inches from each other, and the same can be said for the base of the plants.
This is a plant that requires a nice amount of light to grow and thrive, but it should not be in direct sunlight for more than four hours a day. They should get indirect sunlight that is being filtered down to the plant. The time that is most dangerous for this plant to get too much light or direct sunlight is in the summer because it will fry the leaves. It is safe for the plant to get some direct sunlight but only in the winter months because the sun is a lot weaker.
Soil is a very important thing when it comes to growing your begonia because they require a special kind to grow just right. The soil that is preferred is a soil-less mix that is light and airy. When the soil is put into the pot, it should not be packed down because the water needs to flow through smoothly. Standing water can cause a lot of harm to this plant.
This plant is known for growing only during the spring and summer months because of the amount of sunlight it can get, but it should never be given too much direct sunlight. This plant is full of beautiful leaves all year long as long as it is kept under the right conditions, but the flowering period is the best part. As long as the right conditions are met, this plant will grow small pink flowers every year during the spring season.
It is not very often that the Beewfsteak Begonia needs to be staked, but as it reaches full maturity, there is a chance it might need to be. Staking should only be done if the plant is starting to lean and grow oddly instead of growing straight up. The problem with trying to stake any kind of begonia is the fact that they are a foliage-style plant and have a lot of leaves.
When the begonia is just but a small sprout, it needs to be water a lot during the first two weeks of its life. This needs to be done to help the plant grow, but the water should never be allowed to become stagnant. The pot should be well ventilated for draining or the stems and roots could rot. Once it is past this phase of its life, the plant should be watered every time the top half an inch to inch of soil is dry.
While some plants require frequent fertilizing, this is one of those few plants that do not. They go without ever being fertilized, and it is always recommended to only do it during the summer growing periods. The soil should be only 50% of the recommended strength and should be used every two weeks.
The amount of humidity in the air does not have any effect on this plant. That means it can be in any humidity, but the recommended amount for good growth and foliage is around 50% humidity.
This is something that is not recommended for any kind of begonia because they cannot hand too much moisture. Mulch is a moist substance, so it should be avoided to prevent rot from happening to the plant.
Pruning should only be done when necessary and should never be done too much at a time. This plant can easily be killed if it is pruned wrong or the wrong tools are used. The shears should always be as sharp as possible and completely sterilized before being used. The spot in which the plant should be cut is right where the stalk turns into the leaf base.
The pot is important for this plant because of the way it grows. The plant needs to be shallow as the roots never grow very deep and too much soil can take the needed water from the plant. The pot should also be wide because the roots grow in a creeping pattern. A hole in the bottom of the plant is a must to help with preventing standing water.
The Beefsteak Begonia can be propagated by root ball division, leaf cuttings, water propagation, and herbaceous stem cuttings. It is recommended to use the steam cutting method, which is the most method used on plants. The stem cutting should be 5 to 7 inches and below the leaf junction.
Some several different pests and diseases are common with the Beefsteak Begonia, and the recommended method for treating them is applying neem oil onto the plant.
Here are some of the problems that can be found:
- Bacterial Leaf Spot and Blight
- Botrytis Blight
- Slugs and Snails
Bacterial leaf spot and blight happens when parts of the plant are being overwatered. The leaves will start to have yellow spots develop, and these leaves should be cut off to prevent spreading.
Botrytis blight is caused by temperatures that are too cool and by too much humidity being in the air. This will also have the same types of yellow spots and should be removed in the same way. The rest of the plant will need to be monitored closely afterward for a while.
Aphids are one of the most common problems when it comes to plants, but the plant should be just fine if it is kept properly watered. If there is a large number of aphids, a mild insecticidal soap should be carefully applied over the leaves.
Slugs and snails are more common when the plant is kept outside, and no one wants to bring one of them into the house with their plant. These pests can be taken care of using pesticides and making sure there is no standing water on the plant.
The Beefsteak Begonia is a hybrid species, and it is the first hybrid for Begonias. It was created in Germany in 1845 by combining two different Begonia species. The two species used are the Begonia Hydrocotylifolia and the Begonia Manicata. This is one of the few Begonia species that are not very common fr finding nowadays, so it is known as an heirloom species.
Several different plants work great when paired with this plant, and each of them pairs well for a different reason. It is important to consider the look that is wanted when picking out what plants to pair with any kind of Begonia.
Here are some of the top pair options for any kind of Begonia:
- Fiber Optic Grass
- Brigadoon St. John’s Wort
A Coleus is a very vivid plant in the full sun and has beautiful red flowers. It can grow to be from 12 to 18 inches in height, and the coloring pairs well with the green foliage but also the red undertones found in the plant. Even the leaves pair well because they are shades of pink and red.
An Impatiens needs the same kind of soil that a Begonia needs, making them great for growing them together. The flowers grow in small clusters and can come in a variety of color choices. These colors are white, pink, red, violet, purple, coral, and yellow.
A Fiber Optic Grass is a great plant for being companions to Begonias because they need part shade and full sun. They also require wet and well-drained soil. This is a plant that does not have a bright flower, but its flower is white and gives the appearance of fiber optics. The fact that this plant does not leaf much means the leaves of the Begonia can stand out perfectly by the white, silvery flowers.
A Brigadoon St. John’s Wort is great for pairing with this Begonia as it has small, bright yellow flowers that bring a nice bit of color and texture to the Begonia. It is a shrub plant that can grow in partial shade but also sunlight. It needs well-drained soil just like a Begonia, making it a great match.
This plant needs to be placed in an area where no pets or children can get a hold of it. It is very toxic for them to ingest as it contains calcium oxalates. If this plant is ingested, it can cause a burning sensation in the mouth and intestines as well as vomiting, dizziness, and diarrhea.