Strawberry Begonia - Saxifraga stolonifera 'Tricolour'

Sprouts of Bristol
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Scientific Name
Saxifraga stolonifera (rock-breaking plant which grows runners) 'Tricolour'

This plant used to have a different Latin name: Saxifraga sarmentosa.

Common Name
Strawberry Begonia, Creeping Saxifrage, Strawberry Geranium, Strawberry Saxifrage, Creeping Charlie, Beefsteak Plant, Mother of Thousands

Origin
Native to Japan, China and Korea

Description
The Strawberry Begonia is, in fact, neither a Strawberry or a Begonia! Its leaves are similar in shape to the latter, and their pink tinge reminiscent of the former, giving it this common name. It can grow as a houseplant or outdoors in the UK, although it is a favourite snack of slugs and snails if kept outdoors! It throws out 'baby' plantlets on long stems which you can pot out to have even more of this gorgeous plant, and in summer it can produce flower spikes covered in small white blooms.

Light
This plant loves bright light, but can get scorched by the sun, so needs its light to be indirect. A north or east-facing windowsill would be ideal.

Water
Allow only the top third of the soil to dry out between waters; remember in a dimmer location it will dry out more slowly. Watch out for crispy foliage as a sign of underwatering, and yellow or rotting lower leaves as a sign of overwatering.

Humidity
This plant can put up with average humidity, but high humidity is better. A humidity tray is a good way of increasing humidity around the plant, so it will dry out less quickly; this is especially useful if it's anywhere near a radiator!

Soil
A well-draining mix with added sand and extra perlite would work well here; a mix designed for ferns with a little added perlite or fine pumice would be most ideal. Repot every 3-4 years in spring as the plant grows.

Food
Feed every four waters in the growing season, reduce to every six in autumn and winter.

Temperature
This plant can stand temperatures between 10-32°C- make sure it doesn't consistently drop below 8°C in winter.

Pet-safe
Yes, but too much nibbling won't be good for pets, small humans or the plant!

Sprouts Top Tips
You can get yourself a whole family of these plants by potting out the 'stolons', or 'plantlets', that shoot off the original plant. Once it has grown at least five leaves, a plantlet is ready to be propagated; you can do this by pruning off with about 2cm of the stem attached and placing in water for a couple of weeks while roots grow, and then once it has about 5cm of root growth, potting out into soil. Alternatively you could place it onto soil while it's still attached to the parent plant, and cut away once it has rooted in the soil.