Beefsteak Begonia: Begonia Erythrophylla Plant Care

Key Takeaways

  • Beefsteak begonia plants have huge, dark green, veined leaves that, from afar, actually look like a big beef steak, hence the name “beefsteak begonia.” Other common names are pond lily begonia, swamp lily begonia, and kidney begonia.
  • Beefsteak begonias are hardy plants that can thrive anywhere, from indoors to outdoors, as long as there is enough light. Under the summer sun, they can grow up to 6–24 inches tall.
  • For plant care, plant beefsteak begonias in well-draining soil in a location that has bright light. They can be grown in containers or in the ground. Water them regularly, and fertilize them once a month with balanced plant food.

Begonia erythrophylla, commonly known as the Beefsteak begonia, is a type of begonia that is known for its large, brightly colored leaves.

This plant is simple to care for and would look lovely in any home or garden. Here are some guidelines for caring for a Begonia erythrophylla plant.

What is a Beefsteak Begonia?

The Beefsteak Begonia (with the botanical name Begonia erythrophylla) is a flowering begonia plant from South America.

Other common names for the Beefsteak begonia are pond lily begonia, swamp lily begonia, and kidney begonia. 

A great feature of Beefsteak begonia is that they can thrive anywhere from indoors to outdoors as long as there is enough light.

Under the summer sun, it can grow up to 6–24 inches tall.

Beefsteak Begonia has a robust, succulent stem that grows just above the soil’s surface and sends out its roots.

It is a perennial plant with enormous, reddish-green leaves that are enormous and beautiful.

When the glossy leaves fall, they appear like an actual beef steak; hence the name “Begonia Beefsteak.”

The huge, spherical, transparent leaves range in hue from dark olive green to bronze, with vivid green veining.

These begonias have flower stalks with a large number of tiny blooms that rise above the leaves.

The blooms are white and have a pleasant fragrance which makes great decorative garden and landscaping plants.

History and Background of Beefsteak Begonias

Beefsteak begonias were invented in Germany in 1845 and are still being cultivated today.

These begonias were crossbred from two rhizomatous begonia species—Begonia manicata and Begonia hydrocotylifolia.


Beefsteak Begonia is mainly found in tropical and subtropical areas like Alabama, Florida, and California.

Beefsteak begonia is now one of the most widely grown begonias.

How to Care for Beefsteak Begonias

Beefsteak begonias are rhizomatous begonias known for their enormous, spectacular blooms.

Moist, well-drained soil, and moderate to bright light are ideal conditions for these plants. They can be grown in pots or directly in the ground.

Water them regularly, and fertilize them once a month with balanced plant food.

Temperature and Climate

Beefsteak begonias grow well in warm temperate climates; USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11 are ideal for them.

These plants need a temperature range of 45 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

They are also frost-sensitive and may perish if temperatures fall below freezing.

Beefsteak begonias thrive in high-humidity environments and can be difficult to keep healthy in low humidity.


Beefsteak begonias should be grown in full sun to partial shade.

To produce good flowering, the plants require a lot of light and should be grown in a sunny spot.

They should be planted in a location that receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight during the day.

When grown in a shady location, however, the leaves may become leggy and spindly.

Just be mindful that direct full-sun exposure may cause your plant’s leaves to burn, so be on the lookout.

During the summer, you could place it under a shade, where it would receive indirect bright sunlight.

You could also put it near a window that faces the sun to filter the light.

A window facing south or west is ideal, but Begonia Beefsteaks will also grow well under fluorescent or grow lights.



Beefsteak begonias should be watered on a regular basis. It is important to keep your begonias well-watered and not to overdo them when watering them.

If you water your plants too much, the soil will become wet and soggy. 

However, it would be best to be careful not to overwater it, as this could make the soil mushy.

Watering the begonia too much can cause the roots to rot while watering it too little will cause it to wilt.

The best way to water them is to soak them thoroughly, then allow the soil to dry completely before watering them again. 

When your begonias are looking a little wilted, they need to be watered. They will perk up if they get a good amount of water. 

Repotting beefsteak begonia

We recommend transplanting your beefsteak begonia on a regular basis to provide it with new oxygenated and loose soil.

When a beefsteak begonia outgrows its pot, it must be repotted into a larger container.

Repotting typically entails removing the plant from its old pot, cleaning the roots, and then placing the plant in a new pot with fresh soil.

It is critical to select a pot that is large enough to accommodate the plant’s roots while not being too large to be difficult to manage.

When the potting soil of a begonia becomes too dense, the plant’s roots cannot get enough air, which can result in root rot.

To avoid this, the begonia must be repotted into a new pot with fresh soil. Furthermore, a larger pot will give it more room to grow.


Beefsteak begonias thrive in potting soil that is well-aerated and loose enough to allow excess water to drain through to the drainage system.

If your potting mix is not porous, soil amendments such as peat moss or perlite should be included.

These soil amendments will help to create pockets of air in the soil, which will allow water to drain through it more easily.

Before you plant your plant in them, check to see that your pots are filled with enough soil to accommodate the growth of your plant.

Despite the fact that the Beefsteak begonia only grows a few inches per year, a larger pot allows it to flourish and bloom with its glossy leaves and beautiful flowers.  



During the growing season, fertilize beefsteak begonia plants every two to three weeks; they do not need to be fertilized each week like some other types of begonias.

Use a balanced fertilizer and carefully follow the directions.

Fertilizer is only required during the summer months when the Begonia erythrophylla is growing. It goes dormant and rests in the winter, so it requires plant food.

Beefsteak begonias require a balanced fertilizer to provide nutrients to the plant so that it can bloom its flowers.

When applying fertilizer, keep in mind that you shouldn’t apply too much at once.

Instead, use a small amount and observe how it affects the growth of the beefsteak begonia.

Continue to apply until you notice a significant change in the plant.

There’s no need to be concerned about the type of plant food required to grow beefsteak begonia because any general all-purpose fertilizer will suffice.  


Beefsteak Begonia is not immune to pests. While some pests are simple to control, others can be more difficult and even costly to manage.

In the case of Beefsteak Begonia, common pest-control products such as pesticides or beneficial insects can be used to control them.

Aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies are among the pests that can be found on the plant.

For instance, Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that suck the juices from the plant’s leaves, turning them yellow.

To avoid this, you should inspect your plant every 1-2 weeks to spot any unusual changes and take preventive measures before they worsen.

Also, avoid overwatering to keep your plant’s roots from becoming soggy, which invites pests.

Finally, using a pesticide should eliminate the most common infestations.  


Leaf spot, stem rot, and botrytis blight are all diseases that can affect Beefsteak Begonia.

These diseases can cause significant plant damage, resulting in reduced growth or even death. Leaf spot is caused by a variety of fungi and is distinguished by small, water-soaked spots on the leaves.

The spots may eventually merge to form large areas of dead tissue.

To keep the disease at bay, erythronium should be sprayed with a fungicide in the early spring and again in the fall.

Fungi that attack the plant’s roots cause stem rot. Brown or black spots on the stems are the first signs of this disease.

Botrytis blight, on the other hand, is caused by a fungus that produces spores on leaves, stems, and flowers.

The fungus can then spread and infect the plants around it. The solution is to apply a fungicide, such as Neem oil, to your plants and observe how they react.  


There are several methods for propagating beefsteak begonia plants, including rooting stem cuttings, dividing rhizomes, and layering stems.

Rooting stem cuttings is the most common method.

The most common method of propagating begonia plants is through the use of stem cuttings that have been rooted.

In the late winter to early spring, you should propagate the plant to ensure a successful harvest.

The following is a brief overview of the process of propagating your Beefsteak begonia.


Rhizome cuttings

This is one of the easiest ways to propagate this plant.

All you have to do is go underground where the rhizome stem grows and cut it off.

After this, you should root it in water and prepare to see the fantastic development in a few days.

Stem cuttings

To propagate this plant through the stem-cutting method, use a sharp knife to cut out some inches of the stem, which is located just below a leaf node.

Place it into the water, and you notice roots forming in a few weeks.

Leaf cuttings

To do this, cut off a piece of a growing leaf and leave it in water to grow. When it starts growing, take it off and plant it in new potting soil.

Make sure you keep it moist until you see roots forming. Once you see the roots, transplant them into their own pot.

Rooting Hormones

No matter what method you use to propagate your Beefsteak begonia, you should definitely use rooting hormone. By using rooting hormones, you increase the chances of your cuttings rooting faster and more frequently.


Is Beefsteak Begonia rare?

Yes, beefsteak begonias are rare. Also known as Begonia erythrophylla, it is a unique begonia that is highly sought after as a collector’s item because of the striking difference in colors between the front and rear of the leaves. It needs strong indirect light and should not be allowed to dry out.

What kind of light does a beefsteak Begonia need?

The Beefsteak begonia needs at least 6-8 hours of light per day. Bright indirect sunshine throughout the day is the best. Long exposure to direct sunlight might burn the leaves.

How do you propagate Beefsteak Begonia?

You may propagate a Beefsteak Begonia plant in three ways: by cutting the leaves, by cutting the stems, and by cutting the rhizomes. The procedure of propagation for all three ways is identical, and it involves removing a portion of the plant and re-rooting it in a container of water.


Beefsteak begonias are beautiful plants that can be easily cared for with a few simple tips.

They can add color and curb appeal to your home’s garden and landscaping.

Its beautiful foliage is well known for its artistic look and refreshing fragrance.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your beefsteak begonia will thrive and bloom throughout the spring and summer.

Other Types of Begonias to Consider

There are many types of begonias to think about when choosing a plant for your home or garden.

For example, cane begonias have tall, tuberous begonias are small, compact plants used for bedding or fibrous begonia for their flashy blooms.

Look further for other types of Begonias to grow in your garden. 


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