Last Updated on February 2, 2023 by Clarisse Walters
A Begonia Maculata Plant
Begonia maculata is a houseplant with distinct polka dots on its olive green leaves. Due to this unique physical trait, begonia maculata is popularly known as Polka Dot begonia.
Looking after this plant is easy. Make sure it receives sufficient indirect sunlight. The soil should be well-aerated and the temperature should be between 65°F (18°C) and 86°F (30°C).
Semi-regular pruning and regular fertilization is recommended. Begonia maculata needs high humidity as well.
Begonia maculata care indoor guide
The plant makes a wonderful addition to your house, charming guests with its exotic appeal. Begonia maculata has a bamboo-like stem which bears interestingly patterned leaves.
The upper side is covered in polka dots while the underbelly is crimson red. This special characteristic makes begonia maculata an eye-grabber at any occasion.
The plant needs a lot of indirect sunlight. But remember it is a houseplant. Do not place it outside in direct sunlight as the plant has not evolved to photosynthesize this way.
Higher levels of indirect light will boost the plant’s growth.
The soil in the flower pot should be adequately moist. Begonia maculata will perish in soggy soil. Make sure you do not overwater the plant.
To do this, check the dryness of the soil’s top layer. If an inch of the soil’s top layer dries up before the next watering session then the moisture level is perfect.
Use a light potting mix for the houseplant. In case the drainage is not sufficient, add perlite. Fertilize once every 2 to 4 weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer that is balanced.
Maintain the temperature between 65°F (18°C) and 86°F (30°C). Use a digital hygrometer to ensure humidity is kept above 45%.
For a compact growth, prune the plant back at least two times a year.
Between spring and fall, yellow-centred clusters of white flowers bloom on begonia maculata. Spring is also a good time for repotting the plant. Repotting is required once a year.
Are Begonia maculata easy to care for?
The right amount of moisture and aeration in the soil is important for the plant to absorb water and minerals.
Temperature should not go above or beyond the recommended range. The plant also needs high humidity to truly shine.
Sunlight is very important for the growth of begonia maculata. But make sure that the plant receives indirect light, not direct light. Direct sunlight is too harsh for the plant to handle.
Begonia maculata soil conditions for best growth
To check if the soil has sufficient moisture, observe the top layer of the soil in-between watering sessions.
If the top layer of the soil is dry before the next watering session, the moisture level in the oil is ideal.
Should you mist Begonia maculata?
A better option to increase humidity is through the use of a room humidifier. You can also use a pebble tray to raise the humidity for your plant.
A humidity pebble tray consists of river stones and water, filled to the top. Placing your plant on the tray will provide it with higher humidity.
What are Begonia maculata light requirements?
Since begonia maculata is an indoor houseplant, direct sunlight is harmful to it. Prolonged exposure to direct light can cause the polka dots to fade. In extreme cases, it may burn the foliage.
The idea is to give the plant bright indirect light. So place it indoors but with enough windows for the light to pour in.
If it needs to be placed or planted outside, ensure that the begonia maculate faces southward. That way the light will be less harsh during sunset.
If the leaves are turning yellow, it means they aren’t receiving enough light. Remove them from dimly lit areas and place them in ample indirect light.
In winter, you can place the plant directly under faint light through the window. But do not keep it there for long hours.
List the different Begonia maculata varieties
Begonia maculata comes in different interesting varieties, such as –
- Anna Grace – The dot sizes are mixed. The underside has green edges with red centres.
- Silver Spot – Silver spots of varying sizes on the upper side. The underbelly is red.
- Medora – Small-medium leaves with silver spots.
- Raddi – Green leaves with tiny dots and orange-red undersides.
- Flamingo Queen – Dot sizes are mixed with veiny orange-red underbelly.
Where do you put Begonia maculata?
Place your begonia maculata plant in an area which is consistently bright and warm. The ideal place for this is a few feet away from a west or east-facing window.
Humidity is another important requirement for begonia maculata. So placing it in a naturally humid area is recommended.
Areas like the bathroom and the kitchen have sufficient humidity. If not possible, use a room humidifier. You can also place the plant on a pebble plate.
Do not grow the plant near radiators or droughts as they would hamper its growth.
What are Begonia maculata watering needs?
Begonia maculata does not need a lot of water. Overwatering will result in soggy soil which will reduce aeration and harm the plant.
While maintaining a high level of humidity, make sure that the plant is not overhydrated.
To check if the plant is sufficiently watered, notice the top layer of the soil. If the top remains moist before the next watering session, the soil is overwatered.
The top layer should be a little dry after the last watering session.
How often should I water my Begonia maculata?
Since the plant does not need too much water, watering begonia maculata once a week during the growing season is enough. Begonia grows during spring and summer.
During the dormant season (fall and winter), watering once every two weeks is enough.
How to grow Begonia maculata wightii variety
To grow begonia maculata wightii, you must place the plant under shade. The plant also requires high humidity and an ideal temperature range.
Pruning once or twice a year is recommended. To grow bigger leaves, fertilize the plant once every 2 to 4 weeks.
The soil for this plant should be well-aerated. Keep the moisture levels under control as soggy soil will do the plant no good.
How long do Begonia maculata live?
Begonia maculata is an annual plant. That means it will complete its life cycle from germination to death in a year.
But that does not mean you need to keep buying a new plant every year. Propagating this plant is very easy.
Grow plant from Begonia maculata cutting
Planting begonia maculata from stem cuttings is a simple process.
Cut about 10 cm off an existing begonia shoot, below the leaf node. Place the cutting in a glass of water.
Put the glass in a light, warm area. Maintain the temperature around 20°C.
Slowly, the shoot will begin to grow roots. Once the roots are big enough, remove them from the glass and plant them in a pot with fertilized soil.
How to find Begonia maculata for sale near me
Begonia maculata is not a very uncommon plant. A quick online search will reveal all the florists in your area who sell this plant.
Nowadays, you can also order the shoots online. Submerge the shoot in a glass and allow the roots to form before planting. Or, you can even buy a grown potted plant.
FAQ relating to begonia maculata care
How long do polka dot begonias live?
The polka dot begonia life cycle lasts about a year. After that, the plant perishes. However, there is a way to prolong its life.
If raised indoors, you can increase the longevity of a polka dot begonia by pinching off its flowers as they appear. You can always use stem cuttings from an older plant to propagate new ones.
How do you make Begonia maculata leaves bigger?
Use a liquid fertilizer, made especially for houseplants, every 2 weeks. Take a break from fertilizing in winter and fall. Let your plant rest and regenerate on its own.
How do you make Begonia maculata bushier?
Pruning or pinching will result in an outward growth for the plant. Continue doing this every time a new shoot pops up. Overtime, your begonia maculata will become bushier.
How do I make my Begonia bushy?
Making begonia maculata bushy is easy. Simply pinch the top of the plant off. Whenever a new shoot pops up, pinch it off.
When you keep doing this, your begonia maculata plant will slowly become bushier. Do not pinch off more than a quarter inch at a time.
- Begonia maculata is a houseplant with polka-dotted leaves which have deep red underbellies.
- It needs good amounts of indirect sunlight.
- The soil needs to be aerated.
- Temperatures between 65°F (18°C) and 86°F (30°C) are required.
- Fertilization once every 2 to 4 weeks is recommended.
- The plant also prefers medium to high humidity.