In general a begonia maculata needs bright indirect sunlight, likes normal household temperatures, well draining soil, lots of humidity, and careful watering to keep them wet buy not soaked. They also like to be root bound.
Begonia Maculata Care Summary
|Light needs:||Plenty of indirect sunlight, is ideal, but they’ll tolerate medium light areas too.|
|Watering needs:||Keep them moist. Check the soil twice a week and water it if the top layer (an inch or so) is dry.|
|Fertilizer:||Balanced fertilizer once a month in spring and summer.|
|Soil:||Well-draining potting compost with plenty of organic matter and added perlite for drainage.|
|Where to buy:||Try our list of the best rare plant shops.|
|Other names:||Polka Dot Begonia, Spotted Begonia.|
|Common issues:||Leaves dropping due to underwatering.|
Begonia Maculata Care Introduction
Welcome to our guide to the begonia maculata aka the polka dot begonia, a beautifully-leaved house plant. They are really popular, but need a little bit of attention to get the best out of them.
Your begonia will grow best with a lot of indirect sunlight although will be ok in medium light areas of your home. Be sure to not let it burn in direct sunlight.
How Often to Water
Keep them moist. Check the soil twice a week and water it if the top layer (an inch or so) is dry.
You should water your begonia once a week if the top later (an inch) is dry. It is the most important part of it’s care – keep it moist but not overwatered!
Feed your plant a balanced fertilizer once a month in the warmer months of spring and summer.
Begonias can get root rot easily so use a well-draining potting compost with plenty of organic matter and added perlite for drainage.
When To Repot
Begonias are comfortable when pot bound, and in fact they prefer it, o you can leave them be for quite a while. But if they have really, really crowded roots then pot it up one size in spring.
Begonias love 50% humidity, or they can get crispy leaves from drying out.
Aim for 18-30°C (64-86°F) in the day, 15°C(59°F) at night. Begonia maculatas like a few degrees around 20ºC (68ºF). So they will do well in household temperatures.
How To Propagate A Begonia Maculata
The easiest way to propagate a begonia maculata with with water propagation. Cut off a cutting and put it in a jar of water to allow it to root before potting it up. Take the cutting and let them callous over for an hour or so so the wound heals. Then put then in a jar of water to root.
For more info see our Water Propagation article.
I have also had some good results from taking node cuttings and putting them in wet sphagnum moss to root new plants, then potting up to soil after a month or two.
Where To Buy
Support your local plant store where you can, and there is a list of online specialist plants stores in our Rare Plant Shops article.
Other Names for Begonia Maculata
Polka Dot Begonia, Spotted Begonia.
FAQs and Common Problems
Do Begonia Maculata Need Support?
When they get to certain size they can be quite tall and prone to fall over, you can stake them to a bamboo cane to keep them upright.
Do Begonia Maculata Like To Be Root Bound?
The don’t mind being a pit root bound but like most plants will do best if given space for the roots to grow.
Can Begonia Maculata Grow In Water?
Yes you can root a begonia maculata in water and keep it growing there.
Is Begonia Maculata Toxic To Cats?
They are poisonous to cats and dogs if consumed. Seek vets advice if eaten.
Begonia Maculata Vs Angel Wing
The begonia maculata has much bigger dots (hence the name polka dot begonia) and the angel wing has smaller white dots.
Why Is My B. Maculata Dropping Leaves?
A common issue with the maculatas is leaves dropping due to underwatering. Make sure you water the plant regularly. It can also be due to too much sunlight.
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