Begonia maculata is also known as the polka Dot begonia plant. It has beautiful foliage with white silver dots on them. This plant is the first choice of houseplant lovers. If you want to grow a houseplant that is easy to grow and take care of. Then the begonia family is the best option.
Begonia plants have hundreds of species and all species produce very beautiful foliage and flowers.
This begonia maculata is a short plant that grows to medium height when grown in a container. Outdoor growing begonias achieves good height than indoor growing polka dot begonias.
You can grow these plants in your garden or in containers. These eye-catching plants look very beautiful in stylish containers.
In this guide, you will know how to grow and care for polka dot begonia maculata plants.
About the plant
The plant only grows 1.5 meters tall with a 20cm extended leaf size. On first look, you will see the upper surface of the leaves is dark green. Whereas the reverse side of the leaves is red in color. In general, leaves are red, maroon, or pink. Every leaf has white or silver spots on the upper surface. Sometimes these dots look unnatural. They look like someone paint the foliage of the plant with silver color dots.
This is the magic of mother nature.
The plant produces flowers in cluster form. In the initial blooming stage, it has white flowers that change their color as they mature (white to light pink).
The size of the plant, shape, and color of foliage depends on the type of begonia you grow. If your plant is not producing flowers or it looks weak. This means you are doing something wrong. Growing a plant from seeds or cutting required gardening knowledge.
Especially in the case of indoor growing plants. Because outdoor growing begonias get everything from nature like the sunlight, fresh air, nutrients from the soil.
The problem comes with indoor growing polka dot begonias. In this case, a grower has to feed the plant. And take care of its all-growing needs.
To find out more about growing and caring begonia read the below part.
Quick Care Guide
|Common Name||Begonia maculata, polka dot begonia|
|Light||Bright in-direct light|
|Temperature||15 to 24 Degrees C|
|Height||1.5 meter tall|
|Pest & Diseases||Aphids, Spider mites & Root rot|
|Flower time||Mid-summer to early autumn|
Growing Begonia Maculata Plants
To grow this plant, you need to first decide how to want to grow it. This means that you want to grow it as a container plant or as an outdoor ornamental plant. Remember that indoor plants need little extra care than outdoor growing plants. Below written are the universal polka dot begonias growing steps.
Most of the new growers think that this plant is a low-light plant. But in reality, it needs few hours of direct sunlight. No doubt it cannot tolerate long hours of direct sunlight. But a minimum of 3 hours of direct sun rays is necessary for better health.
Now the question is which part of the day is best to put it on the sunny window. Morning sunlight is best for houseplants. Because in the morning time sun emits low intense light waves. These light waves are warm which is a good thing.
Because warm sun rays do not harm the plant in fact these sun rays make your plants strong.
So, if you have begonia plants at home give them 3 hours of morning sunlight. Otherwise, your plants will grow weak and lanky. They easily get affected by plant diseases and do not produce flowers.
Low flowers are also linked with a low light environment.
Outdoor growing begonias need shade from 11 Am to 4 Pm. Locate a place in your garden where they can get indirect bright light. Or grow them with other tall plants.
If your plant is still getting sunlight between 11 to 4. Then take a cotton cloth and make a shed off it over the plant in some way. Plant two bamboo poles on the sides of the plant and tie cloth to block light.
Watering polka dot begonias is the tricky part. Because this plant needs moist soil to grow but do not like frequent watering. So, before watering the plant you need to check the soil. If the soil feels dry give some water to it. If it has some moisture wait for another day and check again. Regular soil check-ups are necessary to keep the plant healthy. Root rot is a common problem in houseplants. This problem is a result of overwatering.
Once you find out how to water begonias you can grow any type of houseplant. Because most of the houseplants have the same watering needs.
Water requirements of polka dot begonia also depend on the temperature in the growing area and season. In the summer season, this plant needs more water. You may have to water once every 3 days.
But in winters your plant needs lees water (weekly or bi-weekly).
The simple watering method is to water your plants when they start to drop their leaves.
The begonia maculata is a tropical plant so it cannot survive in cold weather. Indoor temperature is good for growing begonia maculata. Because even in winter we set our thermostats between 15 degrees C to 22 Degrees C. This is the perfect temperature range for houseplants.
The problem comes with outdoor growing begonia plants. They die when the temperature drops below 10 degrees C.
Do not put the indoor growing plant near the heating vents. Because the continuous flow of hot air keeps the plant and soil dry. Dryness is a deadly condition for tropical plants.
As it is native to tropical forests. It needs a high humidity environment to thrive. Dealing with humidity is a common problem for indoor growers. The good news is the humidity that we have indoor is perfect for this plant. Not no need to make any change in humid levels.
If you feel your plant is suffering from low humidity. Then buy a humidifier or put the plant on a pebble tray.
you can put the plant in the bathroom for 24 hours. Because that is the place in our homes where we have high humidity. Do not put the plant for more than 24 hours and do not close the door. It also needs fresh air to grow. After 24 hours take out the plant and put it in a suitable location.
Note: Do not mist water on the plant leaves because begonias are prone to powdery mildew.
Because this is a flowering plant so it needs some amount of fertilizer. Use any normal grade houseplant fertilizer. Use half-strength then the recommended on the nutrient pack. If the pack says you need 1 cup of water to dilute it use 2 cups of water.
The fertilizing begonias help them to produce a good number of flowers and healthy foliage. This also keeps the plants healthy and disease-free. To increases, the disease resistance power of maculata fertilizes it once in 20 days.
Remember that you need to fertilize the plant only in its active growing stage (spring and summer). Winter is the rest time for the plants they do not grow in this time. So do not waste the fertilizer by giving them in winters.
The soil should be well-draining soil. No doubt plant likes to grow in moist soil but they do not like wet or soggy soil. If your gardening budget allows you then you can buy specially made potting soil for houseplants. If the low budget is a problem then you can make potting soil at home.
All you need to do is buy perlite and add it to the normal garden soil. The mixture should be 60 % garden soil and 30 % perlite + 10 % sandy soil. Now your homemade potting soil is ready. Use this soil to grow houseplants that need good draining soil.
Flowers on Begonia Maculata: The plant produces beautiful flowers from mid-summer to early autumn. To encourage the bloom, you need to fertilize your plants as mentioned above. If you do not want flowers then just fertilize 2 to 3 times per year.
Cut the healthy stem below the bud, remove all the leaves by leaving a few on the top. For the propagation, winter is the best time because in winter plant does not produce a bloom. Once you have the cutting put it in the glass of water. Place this glass away from direct sunlight. Let the cutting inside the glass until it develops roots. Once you see the roots it’s time to transfer cuttings to the pot.
The soil should be loose and well-draining. Use potting soil for growing plants from cuttings.
The plant is easy to grow and care so it does not get affected by common plant problems. But there are some pests and plant diseases that may affect your plant. If you don’t give proper care to your plants.
Pests & Diseases
While growing houseplants you need to keep eye on them. Pests like aphids, spider mites, mealybugs are common enemies of houseplants. They like to eat and live on the begonia maculata plant. Once you see them treat them immediately. Otherwise, your other houseplants will get affected by them.
Use a neem oil spray to kill them and also to prevent them in the future.
If your plant is healthy you can still use spray neem oil for the safety of your plant.
Powdery mildew and root rot are the two common diseases that affect the begonias plants. Both the diseases are the result of wrong watering. Excess watering results in root rot and powdery mildew is triggered by misting water on the foliage.
Polka dot plants are not toxic to anybody. They are no toxic plants but they may cause irritation and vomiting. So, it is best to keep the children away from them. Don’t worry about the pets they are smarter than us. Nature gives them a strong nose to know what is good or bad for them.