Strawberry Begonia: A Perfect Beginner’s Houseplant

The Strawberry Begonia, botanically known as Saxifraga stolonifera, is a perfect plant for beginners and experienced houseplant collectors alike.

It’s lovely and doesn’t need a lot of care to keep it healthy. It also helps that you can propagate it readily, making many more Begonias from just one plant!

Not sure if this plant will survive in your home? Here’s everything you need to know.

At A Glance: What You Should Know About The Strawberry Begonia

Strawberry begonias don’t need a huge amount of space, as on average they will reach just under 2 feet tall and wide at maturity.

The common name comes from the way the leaves grow on long runners, similar to the way strawberry plants propagate themselves on runners or stolons.

Get the conditions right, and this plant will eventually flower. The flowers aren’t as showy as on other species such as Begonia maculata, so some people prefer to cut them off, as the foliage is the star of the show on this plant.

The leaves themselves are shaped like those on a strawberry plant and feature red hairs.

Ideal Light Levels For Strawberry Begonias

Strawberry Begonia plants love bright and indirect light, but they do benefit from a little direct sunlight, too.

Eastern-facing windows are ideal for this plant, as morning sunlight is unlikely to scorch the delicate leaves, but it will give the plant a boost in terms of the energy it has to play with.

Try to avoid direct midday sunlight or even afternoon sunlight, as it will burn the leaves and can even create holes!

Keep your Strawberry Begonia within a few feet of whichever window you choose, as the further away the plant is placed from the window, the light will significantly drop, making the growth leggy and weak.

Getting The Soil Right For Strawberry Begonias

Indoor Begonia plants need well-draining soil, just as those grown outside, as they are prone to rot if the soil stays boggy. 

Houseplant compost will do as long as you add some pumice to the mix (perlite will eventually float to the top of the compost), and this mix will give your plant the drainage and nutrients it needs. 

If you want to give your plant an extra boost of nutrients, use a balanced houseplant fertilizer every fourth watering, making sure that the soil isn’t too dry beforehand, otherwise feeding the plant can burn the roots. 

Temperature And Humidity Needs For Strawberry Begonias

Unlike most Begonias grown as houseplants, Strawberry Begonia plants need temperatures to be on the cooler side. 

Anything between 50°F and 75°F will do fine (or 10°C to 24°C), as long as the temperatures don’t fluctuate too much.

Higher humidity will result in lush, better growth than lower humidity. But you do need to make sure that air circulation is also improved as you increase the humidity, otherwise, your plant can suffer from fungal problems.

Use a humidifier, group plants together, or put your Strawberry Begonia on a tray filled with water and pebbles to increase humidity.

When To Water Strawberry Begonias

Strawberry Begonias should not dry out, but neither should they be kept too wet. The best way to achieve this, though it sounds complicated, is to water the plant when the top two inches of soil have dried out.

So make sure you check the soil with your fingers before watering. Try not to use a water meter, as these can be incredibly inaccurate, and you won’t get to learn what your plant needs when it needs it!

When you’re watering your plant, water it as close to the compost as you can get. Do not water from above, and water the plant thoroughly.

Try to water as much of the surface of the soil as you can, as this will help keep as much of the root ball hydrated as possible, resulting in a healthier plant. 

A Word Of Warning: Do Not Mist Begonias!

One thing that many will tell you is that you should mist your plants to increase humidity. 

Not only does this practically do nothing (for more than a few seconds, anyway), it will rot the leaves of your Begonia plants.

So put that mister down. If you want to increase humidity, use a humidifier, or put your plant on a pebble tray filled with water, but make sure the water can’t wick up into the soil.

How To Propagate Strawberry Begonias

Propagating Strawberry Begonias is a simple process. Grab a tray or small pot of compost, and put it next to the plant you want to propagate.

Find a long vine, keep it attached to the main plant, and put the runner into the soil of the new pot.

Keep the new pot damp but not wet, and you’ll find that the runner will soon produce roots, at which point you can cut it from the main plant.

Problems To Watch Out For

Pests to watch out for include mealybugs, spider mites, and scale. If you see unexplained damage on the leaves or signs of these pets, treat your plant with horticultural soap.

Leaf spot can also be a problem, where you’ll need to remove affected leaves and use a fungicide.

Be careful not to overwater your plant, as this will result in fungal infections and even root rot.

Final Thoughts

Strawberry Begonia is a gorgeous plant that isn’t difficult to care for, as long as the plant has enough light and moisture which remains in balance with other aspects of care. 

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