Strawberry Begonia Care: Tips On Growing Saxifraga Stolonifera

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Strawberry begonia or Saxifraga stolonifera [saks-if-FRAG-uh sto-lo-NIF-er-uh] is a decorative plant that thrives in any home and potentially any climate.

Its botanical name Saxifraga originated from the Latin words saxum, which means rock, and frango, meaning break.

Strawberry Begonia Saxifraga grows as a house plantPin
Grow Strawberry begonia as a house plant

This references the strawberry begonia plant’s character of growing in the cracks between rocks.

Moreover, the name “stolonifera” means bearing runners or stolons. The long, hanging stems produce a handful of runners to propagate and grow new plants.

This plant is native to Japan, South Korea, Southern China, and Taiwan.



Other common names include:

  • Roving sailor
  • Aaron’s beard
  • Mother of thousands – different from the mother of thousands Kalanchoe
  • Creeping saxifrage
  • Strawberry saxifrage
  • Strawberry geranium

Despite some common names, the plant is not a geranium, begonia, or strawberry. It belongs to the Saxifragaceae family.

It was previously believed to be native to Western Europe, where it’s widespread. Instead of Europe, it’s native to Korea, China, and Japan, where it is used for cooking.

Saxifraga Stolonifera Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Saxifraga stolonifera
  • Common Name(s): Strawberry Begonia, Creeping Saxifrage, Strawberry Geranium
  • Synonyms: None
  • Family & Origin: Saxifragaceae family, native to Japan, Korea, and China
  • Growability: Easy to grow and care for
  • Grow Zone: USDA zones 6-9
  • Size: Grows up to 6-8 inches tall and 12-18 inches wide
  • Flowering: Blooms small white flowers in the spring and summer
  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light but can tolerate some shade
  • Humidity: Prefers moderate to high humidity levels
  • Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 60-75°F
  • Soil: Well-draining soil, slightly acidic to neutral pH
  • Water: Water when the top inch of soil is dry, but be careful not to overwater as it can lead to root rot
  • Fertilizer: Feed with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season
  • Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids. Watch for signs of disease, such as leaf spots or powdery mildew.
  • Propagation: Propagate through division or stem cuttings in the spring or summer
  • Uses: Great for hanging baskets or as ground cover in shady areas. It can also be grown indoors as a houseplant.

Strawberry Begonia Care

Size and Growth

The strawberry begonia plant grows a cluster of dark, rounded, decorative, “hairy” leaves. Each leaf also has a red underside. 

The stalks are red, while the veins often feature silver patterns.

However, some variety features a creamy-white halo around the leaf margins.

These green leaves start to spill out of the pot along with a series of runners, often called babies, forming tiny plantlets on each one.

Are Strawberry Begonias Indoor or Outdoor Plants?

Saxifraga begonias can be grown both indoors and outdoors but are typically grown as indoor plants.

Can Strawberry Begonias Be Planted and Live Outside?

Yes, strawberry begonias can be planted and live outside, but they need protection from direct sunlight and harsh weather conditions.

How Big Do Strawberry Begonias Get?

These are small, compact plants typically growing to be about 6-8″ inches tall and 12-18″ inches wide.

How Long Do They Last?

With proper care, these “begonias” can live for several years.

hairy leaves of the strawberry geraniumPin

Flowering and Fragrance

While the plant itself doesn’t get very big, the flower stems growing from the center may reach up to 10″ inches.

The branches or stems produce small white flowers that appear in late spring or early summer. The stem features an inflorescence of between 7 to 60 flowers.

However, plants do not always flower, especially if the strawberry begonia plant doesn’t get enough sunlight throughout the year.

Luckily, this houseplant is still a decorative addition to any room, even without flowers.

Lighting Requirements and Temperature

flower of Saxifraga stoloniferaPin

Do Strawberry Begonias Like Sun or Shade?

The strawberry begonia plant thrives in full sun or partial shade. It also needs lots of bright indirect sunlight.

Can Strawberry Begonias Be in Direct Sunlight?

No, Saxifraga should not be placed in direct sunlight as it can scorch their leaves.

In the summer, the strawberry begonia prefers temperatures around 60° degrees Fahrenheit. During the winter, temperatures should stay between 40° and 50° degrees Fahrenheit.

If your home is too warm during the winter, consider setting it on a covered porch for the rest of the season. They do not require lots of high humidity to thrive.

Remember, the plant is recommended for USDA zones 6 to 9, allowing it to survive colder temperatures. Moreover, mulch during winter. 

Strawberry Begonia Watering and Feeding

How Often Should You Water a Strawberry Begonia?

Water the plant regularly throughout the summer when the soil feels dry. They prefer moist soil. When watering, avoid soaking the leaves. Pour the water into the soil, not the plant.

In the winter, limit the watering and don’t feed. The soil can dry out a little bit between watering.

Excess water on the leaves may scorch the plant when placed in an area where the plant receives bright sunlight.

For fertilizer application, feed your plant liquid houseplant fertilizer during the growing season, throughout the spring and summer, and every two weeks during the warmer months.

“Strawberry Plant” Soil and Transplanting

The strawberry begonias grow well in a simple potting mix of equal parts peat moss and perlite. This mix provides good drainage for the plant’s needs.

These plants typically only live for a few years, making transplanting unnecessary in most cases. The only time it needs transplanting is if it outgrows its current pot.

Grooming

Remove the runners each year, or they will wither. Remove the withered offsets and any dead leaves to encourage new growth.

Potted Strawberry Begonia plant with green and red leaves and velvety texture arranged in a circular pattern around the stem.Pin

NOTE: Leaves that are crispy or dry are a sign the plant is not getting enough moisture.

How To Propagate Creeping Saxifraga

The strawberry begonia may only survive for a few years, making propagation necessary to continue enjoying this charming plant. Luckily, propagating the plant does not require a lot of work. 

What To Do With Strawberry Begonia Babies?

Simply follow these steps:

  • Select the healthiest runners, which are clones of the mother plant
  • Place the runners in an individual small pot with sandy soil
  • Cover the pots with plastic bags and cut holes for ventilation
  • Place the pot in a location with sunny, bright indirect light – NO DIRECT LIGHT

After the runners take root and start growing, remove the plastic bag and water regularly through the summer.

By the following spring season, the young plants should be ready for transplanting to larger pots.

What Pests or Diseases Does Strawberry Begonia Encounter?

Root rot is a common concern for the strawberry begonia. When watering, don’t add too much water. The water shouldn’t create puddles in the soil.

Other common diseases associated with your Strawberry begonia are botrytis and southern light, red leaf spot, and heart rot.

If the soil isn’t draining well, try adding more peat to the soil. Adding extra drainage holes in the bottom also helps reduce the risk of rot.

You must also remove the diseased foliage upon inspection to prevent the spread of disease.

Strawberry Begonia up close with small, round green leaves, red edges and small white flowers blooming at the tips.Pin

If you also notice yellow leaves or crisped, brown leaves, it’s likely a sign of too much sun exposure, overwatering, or even underwatering.

Aphids and whiteflies may attack the plant. A small aphid infestation is typically treatable with sprays of cold water.

Other common pests targeting your plant include spider mites, fungus gnats, mealybugs, and whiteflies.

For severe infestations or whitefly attacks, use insecticide or insecticidal soap. 

The plant is not toxic to humans or animals. The thick leaves of the strawberry begonia were used in herbal remedies in ancient Japanese medicine.

They are also occasionally eaten either fresh or cooked.

Suggested Saxifraga Stolonifera Uses

The strawberry begonia is a compact little plant with longer runners. It looks best in a hanging basket or placed on a shelf as a house plant, allowing the runners to dangle from the pot.

When grown outdoors, the plant is often used for ground cover, thanks to the creeping foliage and runners.

Just remember that these runners may take root, allowing the plant to continue spreading throughout the garden.

Also, Strawberry begonia is not toxic to pets and humans, making it an excellent addition to your indoor collection at home.

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