One of the most popular and photogenic houseplants at the moment is the Begonia Maculata, also known as the Polka Dot Begonia or the Spotted Begonia. Begonias have a reputation for being the perfect grandmother plant but that's definitely not the case with the Begonia Maculata.
This large angel wing-shaped houseplant with patterned leaves full of polka dots is a real eye-catcher that deserves a spot in every home. The leaves of the Polka Dot Begonia plant are bright green with silver polka dots and red undersides.
Polka Dot Begonia, Begonia Maculata, or Spotted Begonia?
Begonia Maculata, or Polka Dot Begonia as it’s often called, is a splashy show-stopper that looks fantastic with its olive-green leaves and contrasting spots. Want to know something even better?
The Polka Dot Begonia is also pretty easy to care for. No green thumb is necessary to make an impression on your guests or roommates with this pretty houseplant.
Native to the tropical forests of Brazil, this showy houseplant is highly valued for its striking foliage and delicate white flowers. Besides its undeniable beauty, Polka Dot Begonia is manageable for indoor planting as it does not grow too tall. You can therefore grow one of these houseplants in a cubicle or a small apartment without being overwhelmed with greenery.
The Begonia Maculata blooms from spring until when summer ends, and during its blooming, the undersides of the leaves turn a deep red hue making the polka dot begonia much more colorful and of course even more beautiful.
Although they are a perfect houseplant, if you are a pet owner, then you should know that Polka Dot Begonias are not pet safe (and can be harmful to humans if ingested, as well). But the good news is that they are air purifying.
How Can You Care for the Begonia Maculata?
The Polka Dot Begonia can reach heights of up to five feet and has a vertical growth habit. Its leaves are a deep olive color with bright white and somewhat uniform spots. They are a narrow arrowhead shape and have burgundy undersides.
In the right conditions, the Polka Dot Begonia flowering will have a similar shape as other begonia plants. They are a white rounded fan shape with a small yellow center. These Begonia Maculata flowers are always a sight to behold.
So how can you take care of your spotted begonia plant? Here are some factors and tips to put into consideration to ensure your Polka Dot Begonia thrives:
Polka Dot Begonia Light Requirements
The Begonia Maculata thrives in bright, indirect light. It can also tolerate some shade, but avoid direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves. About the Polka Dot Begonia indoor care, this plant can ideally be placed next to a window that has some light-colored blinds to allow just a sufficient amount of light in. Exposing your houseplant to too much sunlight can cause sunburns on the leaves or even the plant drying.
Tip: If you have to choose between a spot for your Begonia Maculata in either full sunlight or somewhere with less light, opt for the low-light spot. This plant has a better chance of thriving in partial shade.
You’ll know your Begonia Maculata plant isn’t getting enough light by its leaves; first, they lose some color, then turn yellow, and finally start to shed. The leaves will show scorched areas if they’re getting too much sunlight.
Begonia Maculata Watering Regimen
Begonia Maculata requires highly humid conditions to remain moist. The soil should therefore be kept moist but not soggy to give the houseplant just enough moisture to thrive. Water the plant when the top inch of the soil feels dry and also make sure that the pot has drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom.
Depending on the season, you can water the plant once every four days in summer and every week to two weeks in winter.
Best Soil for Your Begonia Maculata
As previously indicated, the Spotted Begonia requires soils that are moist. You should therefore strive to have a soil mix that retains water quite well. The Polka Dot Begonia soil should at the same time not be easily compacted especially later on after watering.
Polka Dot Begonia Humidity
Begonia Maculata prefers highly humid conditions. When growing this houseplant you can therefore consider misting the leaves regularly or placing a humidifier near the plant. Begonia Maculata prefers temperatures between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C). Also, avoid placing the plant in drafty areas or near heating or cooling vents.
Fertilizer for the Begonia Maculata
Being a flowering plant, Begonia Maculata requires fertilizer every once in a while to ensure that it produces flowers.
Use a balanced fertilizer on the houseplant every two to three weeks during the growing season. You can add liquid fertilizer to the water when watering the spotted begonia houseplant.
Essentially, no special mix is needed for the Spotted Begonia plant, just a balanced fertilizer with equal NPK numbers. Dilute it 50% and feed them but slightly cut back during the winter.
Pruning and Repotting the Polka Dot Begonia Houseplant
For optimal growth of your Begonia Maculata plant, trim any yellow or damaged leaves to keep the plant healthy and promote its new growth. You can also pinch back the stems to encourage bushier growth.
This spotted indoor plant also prefers to be slightly root-bound. So you can repot only when necessary. Also, be sure to use a well-draining soil mix and a pot with drainage holes.
Polka Dot Begonia Propagation: How Do You Propagate These Beauties?
Different Begonia Maculata varieties can easily be propagated through stem cuttings. There are, however, steps that should guide you when propagating Polka Dot Begonia houseplants.
To propagate this white spotted leaf plant, select a healthy stem with several leaves on it. The stem should be at least 4 inches long. Then cut the stem just below a leaf node using a sharp, clean pair of scissors or pruning shears. Proceed to remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stem.
Later, dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone powder to encourage the root growth of the Polka Dot Begonia. Fill a small planting pot with a well-draining soil mix and make a hole in the center then place the stem cutting in the hole and gently press the soil around it. Water the cutting until the soil is moist enough. Ensure that it is not waterlogged.
Begonia Maculata Propagation Is as Easy as ABC
Cover the pot with a plastic bag or a clear plastic container to create a humid environment, then place the pot in a bright, indirect light, making sure to avoid direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist and mist the leaves regularly to maintain high humidity.
After four to six weeks, roots should start to form. Once the roots have developed, remove the plastic covering and treat the new plant as you would a grown Begonia Maculata.
In spring and summer, when the Begonia Maculata is actively growing, and the temperatures are higher with more light, the plant will need to be watered more often. They can be a little tricky to water in the winter. Just water less and less often. The Polka Dot Begonia doesn’t go dormant but will slow down considerably over the winter.
Begonia Maculata propagation is that easy, and it is a great way to increase your collection of these spotted begonia plants or even when you need to share the plant with friends and family.
Polka Dot Begonia Is a Great Beginner Houseplant
Begonia Maculata plants bloom from spring to fall, producing clusters of white flowers with cheery yellow centers on a single stem. They’re more of a nice accent than a feature. According to one grower, Pligt Professionals, you don’t usually need to help them bloom. Normal fertilization and good light should do the trick.
The Polka Dot Begonia may seem picky, but once you get it settled into a good place with light and water (and away from heat and AC vents), it is relatively easy to care for. For this reason, this houseplant is suitable for beginners.
Overall, this begonia is an easy-to-care-for houseplant that brings a rare pop of color and flowers into your home. Want to know more about leaf begonias? Read all about them in our article 'The 12 Best Leaf Begonia Plants That Thrive Indoors'.