Spacing: 15-18 in. (38-45 cm) 18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
Hardiness: USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F) USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F) USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F) USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)
Sun Exposure: Light Shade
Bloom Color: Pale Pink White/Near White
Bloom Time: Late Winter/Early Spring Mid Spring Late Spring/Early Summer Mid Summer Late Summer/Early Fall Mid Fall Blooms repeatedly
Foliage: Grown for foliage Herbaceous Burgundy Bronze-Green Shiny/Glossy-Textured Succulent Rubbery-Textured
Other details: This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds Flowers are fragrant This plant is suitable for growing indoors Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater Provides winter interest Suitable for growing in containers
Soil pH requirements: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
Patent Information: Non-patented
Propagation Methods: By dividing the rootball By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets) From leaf cuttings From herbaceous stem cuttings
Seed Collecting: N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed
On Sep 14, 2012, birder17 from Jackson, MO (Zone 6b) wrote:
I love, love, love this plant. It is a most unique houseplant because the gorgeous, shiny leaves make a circle with the edge of the leaf circling around to the other side of the stem. I have it next to my north window, and the sunlight from the outside shines through the leaf. You can see the chartreuse, large vein radiating out from the stem on the background of the maroon underside of the leaf and the top side of this leaf is a rich, dark, forest green. So, you have dark, glossy, forest green on the topside and deep maroon on the bottom with chartreuse vein going through the leaf. It's a beautiful contrast and quite striking.
I rec'd this plant from a good friend who had propagated hers. Propagation can be done two ways that I know of:
1. Cut the leaf right next to the stem. Stick it in dry Houseplant Potting Soil in a small pot. Water the plant from the bottom. Keep a watch on it and water when the water in the saucer is empty. When the plant quits absorbing the water, empty the saucer of water out. Then water about once a week.
2. Cut a piece of the "ropey" stem that winds its way out of the pot. The piece can be three or four inches. Cut the leaves off of the bottom part of the stem. Cover the stem and part of the leaves in soil. Water from the bottom. Watching when the plant needs more water. Empty when the plant quits pulling up water.
It will take a couple of weeks to maybe six weeks for the plant to take off. Just keep watering the plant from the bottom about once a week. If the leaf doesn't look dead, then it's growing. Then, it will start putting out more leaves.
Mine has never bloomed, however, I hardly ever fertilize it. I am not a "good" houseplant caretaker. I sometimes forget to water them and rarely fertilize. This plant droops and lets you know it needs a drink. I think that's why I have had such success with this plant. It's been real easy to take care of and a real joy to own.
I have never seen this plant in any garden center. I consider it a privilege to have one.
I love this plant! My mother gave me her's (seems like a recurrent theme) many years ago. I thought I had lost it in the hard winter two years ago, but a small part managed to live, and is growing and getting large again ~ in fact, this Spring it has had more blooms than it ever has.
On Dec 31, 2010, Horsefarm1 from Simpsonville, KY wrote:
My Beefsteak begonia belonged to my mother and is over 60 years old. I remember it from my childhood. The plant is now in the largest pot that I can pick up and move, with stems draped over the side, and blooms beautifully for months in the Spring and Summer. I move it outside - under the maple trees - where it gets filtered sunlight. I give it a weak fertilizing when in bloom, and also give it epsom salts dissolved in warm water - it must really like this - about every two months or so. Follow the directions on the package. Inside, it enjoys bright light but no direct sunshine. This begonia brings back so many happy memories!
This is one of my favorite plants, however I'd like to know if anyone has advice on how to get it to grow faster. I purchased one online with 3 leafs late last summer and it grew a leaf or two and seems to be dormant. I'm worried about not having much new growth, so I snipped a couple of leafs with the stems and they are rooting in water. I had no success with one of the stems in soil or the leaf cutting divided, both didn't root. I'd love more info on how to grow and propagate this lovely plant. I'm in Northern California and keep it indoors, but would love to get it to grow well outdoors too.
On Jul 25, 2009, Ispahan from Chicago, IL (Zone 6a) wrote:
This might possibly be the best begonia houseplant available. It is vigorous, healthy, problem-free and tolerant of any hardship or neglect you can think of. But if you treat it well--bright, indirect light; fluffy and airy soil with steady moisture; a mild dose of balanced fertilizer with trace elements once in a while; and occasional repotting--it will grow into the largest, lushest and most beautiful of specimens. It will be the plant that visitors to your home will comment on and ask about. People will beg for a start. Guests, even those who "know about plants," will overlook all the other exotic rarities in your home and make a bee-line to check out your beefsteak begonia. This is truly an amiable, heirloom quality hybrid.
On Sep 2, 2008, begoniacrazii from Northern California, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:
Rhizomatous type hybridized in Germany, 1849. This popular begonia is was produced by crossing B. hydrocolylifolia X B. maculata.
Makes an excellent houseplant and is easy to care for. Mine goes to a covered patio for the summer and comes back inside for winter. Propagates easily from leaf cuttings or rhizome cuttings.
On May 28, 2008, ilovebegonias from Centreville, AL wrote:
I love begonias, but especially the beefsteak (as we call it in Alabama). It has been years since I had one and they are so very rare that I had trouble locating another. I have a cutting but don't know how to root and plant it successfully. HELP!!
On Apr 22, 2008, LaunaLou from Federal Way, WA wrote:
I have a Beefsteak Begonia plant that is about 2 feet around and about 16-18 inches tall. I got my cutting from my grandma, about 4 years ago. It now has 10 bloom stalks on it! The biggest leaf is about 8 inches around. The plant can go for a while without water. When the soil is pulling dry from the rim of the pot; that is when I water it. and not too much water, either. I have fed it on occasion; but not every time I water it. It is my favorite plant. I have about 60 plants. The majority are; begonias, hoyas and Rhipsalis cactuses.
On May 28, 2007, bertthetroll from Spencerport, NY wrote:
I just love this plant, letting the soil dry slightly before watering again has worked for me, otherwise if you forget to water the plant it will wilt, when you water it it perks up, its a great plant to have. They are considered rare, I haven't had much success in finding them in my area, Glasshouse Works has nice ones, I just recently purchased one that is like the beefsteak, same family, but spirals instead. very nice..
On Feb 20, 2004, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:
This is a Begonia that has been around for a long time and was very popular several decades ago when I first acquired mine.
Beef Steak is a Rhizomatous Begonia. If acclimatized first, they can take full sun with no problem, but should be given some shade when cuttings or new rhizomes are planted. Flowers profusely in the Spring and on and off until late fall here in 10a.
In southeast Alabama (U.S.) we refer to this as a "Beefsteak Begonia" or "Beefleaf Begonia" because if it gets the right amount of sunlight - enough to change its color but not scorch its leaves - it will turn bright maroon on top of the leaf as well as on the bottom. The center where the stalk meets the leaf stays a light to white green. It looks a great deal like a sliced ribeye with a center bone; hence the name. They were once very popular and easily located in this area, however I have not seen one since mine died nearly 7 years ago. This information is about the begonia with the latin name "hydrocotylifolia"
Editor's note: Begonia hydrocotylifolia is one of the parents of Begonia 'Erythrophylla'
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Centreville, Alabama Clayton, California Dublin, California Fairfield, California Bartow, Florida Fort Pierce South, Florida Chicago, Illinois Simpsonville, Kentucky Lafayette, Louisiana Detroit Beach, Michigan Hanover, Michigan Columbia, Mississippi Jackson, Missouri Spencerport, New York Granville, Ohio East Norriton, Pennsylvania Millersburg, Pennsylvania Conway, South Carolina Houston, Texas Humble, Texas Port Lavaca, Texas Leesburg, Virginia Federal Way, Washington