Ultimate Care Guide for Begonia Erythrophylla a.k.a Beefsteak Begonia
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Sounds like a tasty dish but not really.
Beefsteak begonia, or Begonia Erythrophylla, is a type of perennial plant that originated from Germany. It came from the Begoniaceae family that is well-known for producing beautiful foliages.
This one is no exemption.
The erythrophyllas have two-toned round leaves that are green on top and burgundy on the bottom. Every now and then it also blossoms with small pinkish-white flowers that are not only lovely to look at but smells nice too.
Apart from all that beauty, the beefsteak begonia is also pretty easy to care for. Furthermore, this plant also has the uncanny ability to filter the air in the immediate surroundings. These qualities make it even more appealing to growers and garden enthusiasts.
Wondering how to properly tend to this plant?
Just keep on reading and will tell you everything you need to know when growing beefsteak begonias. From lighting to watering and even propagating, we got a trick or two for that. Plus, we will also share with you our top picks for the best products to use for erythrophyllas.
7 Easy Steps for Care of Begonia Ery
Beefsteak begonia enjoys basking under medium to bright lighting. However, you should not let it sit in direct sunlight. Too intense lighting can scorch and damage its leaves. Thus, always remember to give it rather indirect or filtered lighting.
On that note, this plant can cope well to be in an indoor setting. So long as you provide it with sufficient amounts of light, it can surely thrive its way inside your home or office.
A south-facing windowsill is your best spot. This area tends to give bright light all day. But if you feel your plant got enough sun for the day, you can easily scooch it to the side for medium lighting instead.
You can always seek the help of artificial lighting. Grow lamps are your perfect solution to supplementing light at any spot you need it most. Just make sure to find one that can provide you the right amount of intensity and color temperature.
Our top picks for indoor grow lamps:
Beefsteak begonias are not too finicky when it comes to soil quality. Although, all it needs is to be planted in well-draining potting soil. A loose and porous medium is important for begonias. This allows the excess water to drain out thus preventing untoward issues like root rotting.
In this case, it is rather best to use a soil-less mix. These types are light and airy so you don’t have to worry about water stagnation. A potting mix for African violets seems to tick all the requirements needed by a beefsteak begonia. This mostly contains peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. You can conveniently buy them pre-packed in stores or make them yourself.
Our top picks for African violet potting mixes:
pH is also another thing you should be considering when choosing the perfect soil for your plants. Beefsteak begonias in particular prefer to be in a slightly acidic (pH 6.1 to 6.5) to neutral soil (pH 6.6 to 7.5).
This type of environment enables the plant to optimize its nutrient uptake. Moreover, a mildly acidic soil invites plant-friendly bugs to dwell. Creatures like earthworms and other microorganisms help to convert the nitrogen in the soil. Thus, making it more accessible for plants to use.
The most natural way to improve the acidity of your soil is through the use of organic soil amendments. Sphagnum peat moss, mulch, compost, compost tea, and coffee grounds are some of the most commonly used soil acidifiers.
Another great product you can use is the elemental garden sulfur. Sulfur is an essential nutrient that supports the plant’s resilience against diseases. It is generally safe to use in low doses. But, be wary not to overuse as this can also burn your begonias.
Our top picks for soil amendments:
In general, beefsteak begonias prefer to be lightly moist and not soaking wet. Overwatering your plant can almost always develop into root rotting. This nasty disease is fairly hard to treat and can often lead to death if not caught and addressed early.
Although, the growing phase can also vary the watering requirements of the plant. During the first two weeks of its life, it demands to be watered more frequently. This is the plant’s initial growth phase so water is necessary for it to be able to actively process its growth.
As the plant matures, watering also tends to decrease. By this time, you should let the top 1 to 2 inches of the soil dry out first before attempting to water.
In both cases, there is no specific amount. But, you’ll know it’s enough when you start to see the excess water flow out of the drain hole. That should serve as your sign that you have thoroughly watered your plant.
Moreover, you can always resort to using soil moisture meters. This tool allows you to measure the soil’s moisture levels with much ease and convenience. Thus, you can keep your watering schedules on point always.
Our top picks for soil moisture meters:
Temperature & Humidity
Luckily, beefsteak begonias are not fussy plants. They can adapt well to normal room temperatures. A range between 65°F to 75°F suits them comfortably well. They are not frost hardy plants though. Thus, it is ideal to bring them indoors during winter.
As for the humidity, beefsteak begonias do well in a wide range of humidity levels too. Its ideal moisture though is at 50%. This gives your plant the best condition to produce beautiful foliage.
Here are some simple ways you can do to help improve the humidity within your indoor space. First is by grouping your plants together. All plants naturally transpire. As the water evaporates from them, it creates humidity in the immediate surrounding.
Another low-cost technique is through misting. Spraying your plants from time to time with plain water is one good way to provide moisture. All this method needs is a fine-mist spray bottle to help diffuse the water in minute particles. Thus, avoiding your plants to get overly drenched.
Then, there’s also this effective yet equally decorative technique. All you need is a tray of pebbles and water. You can use any type of pebbles you want. The rocky ensemble serves as the base onto which your pot sits upon.
It works by filling the tray with tap water. It should be just enough that it won’t drown out the pebbles and not let the water touch the bottom of the pot. So, as the water evaporates it gives the plants the moisture it needs.
Our top picks for misters and pebbles:
Beefsteak begonias are light feeders only. They don’t necessarily need it all the time. But, it would appreciate some boost of nutrients too.
That said, an all-purpose fertilizer would do it just fine. Furthermore, it also helps to dilute it at half-strength to ensure you won’t overdo the feeding. More so, burn your plants.
You can feed your plant every 2 to 4 weeks during its active growing phase. Cease the use of fertilizers then as the winter season comes by. The plant is likely to be inactive and hibernating during this period. Thus, it won’t be needing those extra nutrients yet.
Our top picks for fertilizers:
There are various methods to propagate beefsteak begonias. This includes root ball division, water propagation, leaf cuttings, and stem cuttings. The best way and most efficient, however, is through stem cuttings.
All you need to do is to cut 5 to 7 inches of healthy stems using sharp and sterile garden shears. Make sure to always cut just below the leaf junction.
To further increase chances of success, you can dip the tip of your cutting into a rooting hormone. It comes in liquid, powder, and gel forms that basically depends on the type of potting medium you use. For soil medium, though, the powder type seems to work best.
Once the tip is covered with rooting powder, you can now plant your cuttings about 4 inches deep into well-draining soil. It should take about 3 to 4 weeks for roots to start to grow from the cutting. Then, about 50 to 70 days before shoots start to appear.
Our top picks for rooting hormones:
There you go, my friend! Those above are the fundamental things you need to know when growing beefsteak begonias. They are fairly easy and simple to get by. Thus, caring for this gorgeous plant would be a sure breeze so long as you follow our tips.