Plants

Strawberry Begonia Guide: How to Grow & Care for “Saxifraga Stolonifera”

Read our guide to Strawberry Begonia plants for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for “Saxifraga Stolonifera”
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For those looking to add an attractive plant to their indoor space, the strawberry begonia makes a good choice. Though this plant is not a true begonia, it shares a similar leaf structure that gives it an overall attractive appearance.

As this plant matures, it will begin to develop clusters of leaves at the end of thin runners. You can place them on the table, in hanging planters, or even in planters lining the edge of a sill. This will create the aesthetic effect of red hairy leaves cascading in a waterfall pattern. The strawberry begonia can also be planted in the ground outside and used as ground cover for areas that have trouble supporting turf or grass.

The Saxifraga stolonifera has a few different varieties, the most common being Saxifraga. It is easy to identify this variety by the red runners and light green leaves that have silver veins.

There is another common variety that is a bit smaller but just as stunning. This is called the Tricolor variety and it features a halo around the margins of the leaf. This one is not often found in homes because it is harder to grow and also needs lower temperatures in order to thrive.

About the Strawberry Begonia

  • The strawberry begonia will produce small, but unremarkable flowers in the spring.
  • This plant thrives in indirect sunlight.
  • The strawberry begonia is intolerant of high levels of heat.
  • This is a fast-growing plant that spreads easily.
  • Mature plants start to develop woody stems.
  • The strawberry begonia flowers in the summer.
  • Saxifraga stolonifera can tolerate cooler climates.
  • The strawberry begonia is a fleshy plant.
  • Saxifraga stolonifera are generally not bothered by pests other than aphids and mealybugs.
  • The leaves of the strawberry begonia are covered in hair.
  • It is important to avoid getting water on the strawberry begonia leaves to prevent fungal growth.
Strawberry Begonia outside
Strawberry Begonia outside

Strawberry Begonia Features: An Overview

  • The strawberry begonia is not a true begonia.
  • The botanical name of the strawberry begonia is Saxifraga stolonifera.
  • The most common appearance of the Saxifraga stolonifera is light green leaves with silver veins.
  • The Tricolor variety of the Saxifraga stolonifera is smaller and harder to cultivate.
  • Mature strawberry begonia plants form long runners with leaf clusters on the end.
  • The leaves of the strawberry begonia have a red hue that is slightly hairy.
  • Strawberry begonia can be grown indoors and outdoors.
  • The strawberry begonia only needs a limited amount of water in the winter.
  • This plant should be fertilized once a week during the growing season.
  • Most strawberry begonia plants stop growing in cooler months.
  • It is best to use fast-draining potting soil for the strawberry begonia plant.
  • The strawberry begonia can be propagated with offsets or cuttings.

Growing The Strawberry Begonia

Growing the strawberry begonia is not very difficult. The plant needs plenty of bright light, however, make sure that it is not direct. They are very sensitive to heat so make sure that any room they are placed in is well ventilated. When planting the strawberry begonia outdoors, make sure they are offered enough shade to keep from burning under the bright sun. It is normal for the plant to stop growing, or for its growth to slow dramatically during the winter months.

During the growing season, you should give your strawberry begonia a liquid fertilizer that has been diluted once weekly. Make sure that you choose a fertilizer that encourages blooming and also is enriched with micronutrients. If you prefer not to use a liquid fertilizer, pellets that release nutrients on a controlled schedule are also effective.

Although Saxifraga stolonifera is pretty easy to grow, it is important not to expose them to high levels of warmth or too much heat. Both types of temperatures can encourage fungal growths which are not only visually unappealing but are also harmful to the plant. Though not a cold weather plant, the Saxifraga stolonifera can live in temperatures as low as 50 degrees with no problems. Short periods of 45 degrees are tolerable as well.

Saxifraga stolonifera, Variegated Strawberry Begonia, From Amazon

Watering The Strawberry Begonia

It is easy to water the strawberry begonia. It needs a generous amount of water during the spring and summer which is usually the growing season. Most fast-growing plants like the strawberry begonia consume excessive amounts of water to help spur its rapid growth. Being a hairy leaved plant, it is important to avoid wetting the leaves when you water the plant. Too much water or moisture on the leaves can lead to fungal disorders that will make the leaves very unattractive. In the winter and dormant months, it is best to reduce the amount of water you give your plant by half. Just make sure not to allow the plant to completely dry out.

This plant needs weekly fertilizing which can be completed when you water the plant. Just make sure the bloom triggering fertilizer has been diluted before watering the roots. To prevent root rot, use a fast-draining soil or a light fortified soil that will absorb moisture without becoming soggy.

Basically, water your strawberry begonia houseplant sparingly in the winter, but more generously in the summer. Always avoid getting the leaves wet to prevent fungus growth. To encourage spring blooms, water your plant in the winter and keep them in a cool, but not cold place. This will trigger little white flowers to bloom once spring rolls around. In general, these plants have a three-year life span when properly cared for.

Propagating The Strawberry Begonia

Propagation of the strawberry begonia is easier than you may think. This plant is fast-growing and will naturally generate plantlet clumps which can be used to create new plants. You can also use strawberry begonia offsets. All you need to do is take an offset or a cutting and gently push them into a pot of fresh soil. If the mother plant pot is large enough, you can also keep the plant in the same pot until the roots develop.

After a few weeks, the root system of the new strawberry begonia plant will begin to develop. After roots have had enough time to establish themselves, remove it from the runner with a sharp plant knife. Take your strawberry begonia clone and place it in a fresh pot by itself, lightly packing the soil around the roots. Water and care for it as usual and soon you will have a large strawberry begonia mother plant generating new clusters of its own.

Saxifraga Stolonifera
Saxifraga Stolonifera

Strawberry begonia plants are considered to be a fleshy plant. Most fleshy plants are highly susceptible to infestation by aphids and mealybugs, and this plant is no different. Treating any infestations as quickly as possible will prevent the spread to other plants and will also ensure your plant stays healthy. This little plant is perfect for indoor spaces and just like a strawberry plant generates runners that are very colorful. These runners are part of their charm and also can be used to make new plants once the mother plant has reached maturity.

In Conclusion

The strawberry begonia is an easy plant to grow and care for. It has an attractive base of red leaves that are just a bit hairy. Although they are not really begonias, they are just beautiful. Creating new strawberry begonia plants is also very easy. They will eventually form plantlet clumps when grown in containers that can be used as cuttings for new plants. They do flower, but the flowers are not very noticeable or needed for propagation.

Just keep in mind that this is a plant that loves to expand and will grow very quickly. It tends to fill up any container pretty quickly and should be pruned and repotted into a larger container every year. Mother plants will start to get woody looking stems after a few seasons and may even start to look bare in the middle. This is a sure sign that the plant is reaching its apex and should be replaced.

Strawberry begonia plants are well known and cherished for their variegated leaves. The majority will have green leaves with cream edges though some may be multi-colored. This sweetheart plant has heart-shaped leaves and red runners that further contribute to the fruitful name.

The begonia or geranium family can neither lay claim the Saxifraga stolonifera although it shares features from both. As long as you have a brightly lit room that is cool and not directly facing the sun, your Saxifraga stolonifera will thrive.

You can also use the Saxifraga stolonifera as a ground cover if you happen to live in USDA Zones 7-10. For beginner gardeners and houseplant enthusiasts, this is a great plant to add to your collection.

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Hollie Carter

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at hollie@gardenbeast.com or follow on twitter https://twitter.com/greenholliec

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