Strawberry Begonia: Saxifraga Stolonifera Plant Care

Strawberry Begonia (Saxifraga stolonifera) can be grown in a variety of ways in the garden.

It requires little maintenance and is simple to propagate, making it an excellent choice for beginning gardeners.

In this article, we’ll go over the best ways to care for your strawberry begonia, as well as how to propagate new plants from cuttings.

What is a Strawberry Begonia?

Strawberry begonias are houseplants that have trailing runners that look like a strawberry plant.

Strawberry begonia’s botanical name is Saxifraga Stolonifera or Creeping Saxifrage and it is also commonly known as a Strawberry geranium.

Contrary to its name, strawberry begonias (or strawberry geraniums), is not a true begonia, geranium, or strawberry plant.

The reason why Saxifraga Stolonifera plants got its name Strawberry begonia is because it has fuzzy leaves like those of Begonias and runners similar to those of a strawberry plant.

It does, however, share some physical attributes with begonias and strawberries in that it reproduces via stolons.

Strawberry begonia plants are originally from Japan but have been popular with houseplant enthusiasts because of their colorful foliage.

The foliage of these plants creates an eye-catching display of hairy, red-hued leaves.

Each leaf of the strawberry saxifrage plant has a red-colored underside and stems.

As the plants grow older, they sprout long and thin trailing runners that cluster and group into rounded leaves as they mature.

The clusters of leaves will produce small white flowers in late spring to early summer.

what-is-a-Strawberry-Begonia-Saxifraga-Stolonifera

Variations of Strawberry Begonias

In addition to the standard strawberry begonia, there are also three popular color variations.

  1. Tricolor or variegated strawberry begonias
  2. Magic carpet
  3. Maroon Beauty

Tricolor or variegated strawberry begonias have a creamy white color along the edge of their leaves, and their leaves are a bit smaller.

This version of the plant is a bit more demanding so keep that in mind before buying one.

On the other hand, the Magic Carpet variation has slightly larger leaves that are dotted with white.

Lastly, the Maroon Beauty variation has larger leaves, but unlike the other two, it is darker in color, with the undersides of the leaves being a deep maroon. 

How to Care for Strawberry Begonia Plants

Strawberry begonias (Saxifraga stolonifera) are a type of begonia known for their bright red leaves and trailing stems.

These plants are low-maintenance and make a lovely addition to any garden. Here are some pointers for caring for strawberry begonia plants

Temperature

Strawberry begonia plants like cool temperatures and thrive at 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unlike many other popular houseplants, they are cold-tolerant plants that can survive below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just be sure to bring them in before temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Light

Light-for-Saxifraga-Stolonifera

Strawberry begonias prefer indirect light.

When keeping them indoors, placing them in an eastern-facing window where they can get soft morning rays is ideal.

A strawberry begonia houseplant thrives when grown indoors with enough light, but they also do wonderfully outside in temperate zones.

You can grow strawberry begonia outdoors as well. If grown outdoors, they make an excellent ground cover to add to the curb appeal of your front yard.

Remember, it’s best to plant them in partial shade, where they can get indirect sunlight instead of direct sunlight.

Direct sunlight may cause burns to their delicate dark green leaves or variegated leaves.

Watering

Water strawberry begonias thoroughly by letting any excess water drain through to the bottom.

Use room temperature water because water that is too cold or hot can shock your plant.

You will want to make sure your plant has time to dry before watering again to prevent root rot and soil fungus.

I usually water when the top 2-3 inches of my soil is dry.

Strawberry begonia plants are very forgiving when it comes to watering.

While they prefer to be kept in cool and moderate-to-high-humidity environments, you can keep the soil damp as they can tolerate some over-and under-watering without making a big fuss, unlike most other plants.

We prefer to bottom water our begonias. We accomplish this by placing the begonia in a bowl of water approximately once a week.

Fill the bowl with about 2 to 3 inches of water and then place the pot inside. Leave it there and the soil will absorb the water.

You can take the pot out when you notice the soil at the top of the plant is damp.

Note: This only works if the pot your begonia is in has a drainage hole on the bottom where water can go up into the pot.

Soil

Strawberry begonias prefer fast-draining potting soil that isn’t prone to dampness or compaction.

By making your own potting mix, you can control the characteristics of the soil.

Use two parts potting soil, 1 part perlite, and 1 part peat moss to accomplish this with my plants.

It is also essential to use a pot with drainage holes. Some growers also prefer to use terra-cotta pots, as these will also pull water from the soil.

If you use a pot with a drainage hole, you will need to water more often as the soil will dry more quickly.

We use grower pots that I place inside my decorative pot or hanging basket.

This allows me access to my plants without having to lift a cumbersome pot, and it also allows me to cut the pot if I ever need to remove a plant that has rooted through the drainage holes.

Fertilizer

Fertilizer-for-Saxifraga-Stolonifera

Regularly fertilize strawberry begonias during the growing season, which is usually March through September.

There are tons of great fertilizers on the market, so choose your favorite indoor plant formula and dilute it to half strength.

Regular fertilization encourages blooming and will help your baby plant’s roots develop.

We highly suggest using this slow-release fertilizer. It’s easy to use, and you never have to worry about it once you set it in the soil.

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Repotting Strawberry Begonia

Repot your strawberry begonia once a year in the spring.

Strawberry begonias are not very tolerant of being root-bound and are fast-growing plants, so you will want to go up roughly one pot size every year.

If you feel your plant is already in the biggest pot you have space for. You can also split your plants.

Be careful when doing this that you don’t do an excessive amount of damage to the roots.

If you’re looking for a new pot, how about one that waters itself? This self-watering container is what we use for our indoor plants. Fill the bottom with water and that’s it – no need to worry about overwatering.

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Propagation

Propagation-for-Saxifraga-Stolonifera

Propagating your strawberry begonia is best done using stolon cuttings.

These plants reproduce via stolons—they develop woody stems that come down from the mother plant and create tiny baby plants.

These new plants will start as just a few tiny leaves, and you should see them in a few weeks.

At this point, you can keep them in the same pot as the mother plant.

You can either wait until the baby plants are roughly a few inches and have formed roots to cut the stolon and move them to their own small pots.

Alternatively, you can loop the stolen back over the mother plant and have the baby grow on the dirt next to your original plant.

Both methods are just as effective, but I believe the first is more aesthetically pleasing.

Pests and Disease

Because strawberry begonias are considered fleshy plants, they are susceptible to mealybugs and aphids.

If you suspect that pests are infesting your plant, immediately treat the issue with insecticide.

You can use Neem oil spray as it will take care of pests and certain types of plant diseases. We use this Neem oil spray and works on most of our pest issues.

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FAQ

Is a strawberry begonia a true begonia?

A Strawberry begonia is not a true begonia. While they have brightly colored, fuzzy leaves similar to begonias, they are entirely different plants. Strawberry begonias belong to the Saxifragaceae family plants that are perennial flowering plants.

Should I mist my strawberry begonia?

No, do not mist Strawberry begonias. Your strawberry begonia does appreciate a boost in humidity, but they do not enjoy having their leaves wet. To increase moisture while keeping the leaves dry, use a humidifier or a pebble tray instead.

Do strawberry begonias like sun or shade?

Strawberry begonias prefer indirect light, so a shaded area that still gets some sun is their preference and where they will thrive. Too much direct sunlight can cause their leaves to burn.

Conclusion

If you are on the hunt for a great plant to add to your indoor garden, the Saxifraga stolonifera, or strawberry begonia, is a great one to choose.

It also makes a great starter plant for those just getting into gardening because they are easy-to-care-for plants.

In addition, strawberry begonia makes an excellent ground cover for your landscaping or front yard.

These plants are generally inexpensive, easy to care for, propagate, and make a beautiful addition to any garden.

Other Types of Begonias to Consider

Though strawberry begonias are not true begonia plants, 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. 

References

Show More
  • McKinney, C. (n.d.). Strawberry Begonia. Interiorscape Plants, Texas A&M Aggie Agriculture. URL: https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/databases/interiorscape/Saxifraga_sarmentosa.html
  • North Carolina State Cooperative Extension. (n.d.). Saxifraga stolonifera. NC State University Extension, Gardener Plant Toolbox. URL: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/saxifraga-stolonifera/
  • Jenkins, D. (1978). The Encyclopedia of Houseplants. Bantam Books
  • Hirsch, D. (1977). Indoor Plants Comprehensive Care & Culture. Chilton Book Company.
  • About/Mentions: Strawberry begonia, Saxifraga

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