How to take care of Begonia Maculata?
Brilliant Advice to Help it Flourish!

Are you wondering how your Begonia Maculata needs to be treated? Read ahead to learn about the needs of this easy-to-grow polka dot plant!

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Jimena Bolívar

March 30, 2021


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Introduction

The evergreen yet exotic Begonia Maculata is a beautiful addition to the décor of any home. You probably want to make sure this polka dot plant prospers at your place. All you must do is treat it with the love and attention it requires by fulfilling its basic needs. The result will be a healthy and gorgeous Polka Dot Begonia.

How can you take care of Begonia Maculata? It requires bright indirect light, loamy soil watered once the top layer has dried, and temperatures between 67 and 70 °F (18 and 22 °C), while humidity should ideally be above 45%. It needs semi-regular pruning and can be fertilized every two weeks.

Begonia Maculata 101

The Begonia Maculata is a breathtaking plant that flaunts stunning leaves with silver polka dots and a gorgeous crimson-red underside. It is a popular plant known with other names like Polka Dot Begonia, Spotted Begonia, Trouted Begonia and Wightii.

If you want to identify one, all you must do is have a look at the leaves. They are bound to be asymmetrical and elongated with striking spots. There is a sharp contrast between the top and the underside of the leaves. The plant can grow up to a height of about 1.5 meters.

Here are some details about this evergreen indoor subshrub:

  • Scientific name: Begonia Maculata
  • Named by: Giuseppe Raddi
  • Family: Begoniaceae
  • Genus: Begonia
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Native Country: Brazil
  • Flowering: Produces light purplish-pink flowers between April and July.
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 10b and USDA Zone 11

Stunning Begonia Maculata Leaves with silver spots on them

Caring for the Begonia Maculata

Begonia Maculata Care won’t be too challenging if you’re dedicated!

Here is a brief overview of the conditions needed for the plant to flourish:

  • Ideal soil: The soil should be loamy in nature and mixed with clay and sand. Consider using potting soil with excess perlite.
  • Drainage Needs: It is recommended to spread a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot to ensure proper drainage.
  • Water Requirements: Average need for water. Dislikes overwatering as it is susceptible to root rot.
  • Sunlight Requirements: Require indirect exposure to sunlight in an indoor location. Too much sunlight tends to damage the leaves.
  • Temperature: Does its best between 67 and 70 °F (18 and 22 °C).
  • Humidity: Ideally should be above 45%.
  • Ideal pH: 6.5-7.2
  • Frost-Resistance: Low
  • Fertilizer: Should be fertilized every two to four weeks, especially during the growing season.
  • Pruning: It requires semi-regular pruning.
  • Propagation: Best done during winter by cutting off a stem below the bud and using it to propagate the subshrub.
  • Repotting: Repot it every year during Spring, especially during the early years of its life.
  • Toxicity: It is highly toxic for pets.

If you don’t have a Begonia Maculata plant at your place, I think I know where you might want to get one. Check out this link which I trust!

Begonia Maculata in a 4-inch pot

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1. The Ideal Soil for Begonia Maculata

Thankfully, the Begonia Maculata isn't too fussy when it comes to soil!

Begonia Maculata loves moderately moist soil. The soil should be loamy and be mixed with clay and sand. It may also have some fibrous compost and extra perlite to enhance growth and promote proper drainage. Additionally, it will flourish if the soil meets its pH requirements of being between 6.5 and 7.2.

When placing the subshrub within a pot, make sure you put a layer of pebbles on the bottom. The idea is to promote proper drainage. After all, the soil’s top layer needs to dry out, which would be impossible without good drainage.

2. Sunlight Requirements of Begonia Maculata

It is vital to moderate the sunlight exposure to the Begonia Maculata!

The evergreen indoor plant can handle two sunlight situations, namely bright indirect light and low-light situations. Refrain from keeping it in spots that have absolutely no sunlight. The Polka Dot Begonia allows you to place it indoors as it can thrive within the home.

Gorgeous Begonia Maculata flowers.

If you want, you can move the plant outdoors for a few hours to get it a dose of sunlight. However, be careful and moderate the time it spends there.

Pro-Tip

Don't let the Begonia Maculata get sunburnt!

If you take out your Begonia Maculata to catch some sunlight, make sure to bring it inside soon. Never put it under direct sunlight, even if you place it outdoors. If you do, you might end up with the stunning leaves getting sunburns, so don't take a risk!

When you allow the plant to take in higher light levels, expect it to have stronger growth and blooms. However, you need to make sure it doesn’t experience too much temperature variation.

Warning

When you move your plant outdoors, please bring it back before nighttime. If the temperature falls too much, the plant can suffer substantially. After all, it is highly sensitive to changes in temperature.

To sum it all up, you need to provide the Begonia Maculata with bright indirect light or low-light situations. You can acclimate it to the sun a bit, but too much direct sunlight is a big no.

3. Ideal Humidity for Begonia Maculata

The Begonia Maculata is native to Brazil and hence loves humidity.

You may need to monitor humidity levels because the evergreen Spotted Begonia appreciates high levels of humidity. Ideally, the plant wants more than 45% humidity.

Pro-Tip

Consider investing in a digital hygrometer so that you can keep an eye on the humidity level near your Begonia Maculata. Keep a bowl of water near the Begonia Maculata, or invest in a humidifier if the humidity level is too low.

If you don’t have a digital hygrometer, don’t sweat it. I have handled many succulents, and I know the best gear that you can get. I recommend the AcuRite Digital Hygrometer for the job!

AcuRite Digital Hygrometer

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If you’re committed to maintaining a high humidity level indoors, you should also invest in a humidifier. I’ll recommend this awesome one if you’re interested.

AcuRite Digital Hygrometer

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4. How Should I Water Begonia Maculata?

While the Begonia Maculata has average water needs, you need to ensure that the topsoil dries before rewatering.

Since the Begonia Maculata prefers moderately moist soil, refrain from letting it dry out completely. Be careful with the way you water this subshrub, and you’re good to go. Otherwise, expect to see your plant wither away in no time.

Warning

The Begonia Maculata is highly susceptible to root rot. Therefore, refrain from overwatering it as soggy soil is a recipe for disaster.

If you let too much time pass before you water the plant, you might witness it dropping leaves. You can also expect the leaves to show crispy brown edges that don’t look pretty at all.

The Spotted Begonia in an exquisite pot.

If you’re overwatering the plant, expect the leaves to turn yellow and drop more often than not. Be patient with this plant and try to find the right balance. Water the plant often enough so that it is hydrated but do let the topsoil dry in between.

5. Fertilizing your Begonia Maculata

When your Begonia is growing out, consider fertilizing it every two to four weeks.

Like any other plant, the Polka Dot Begonia also needs fertilizer every now and then. You can expect to fertilize it every two to four weeks. I want to add that you don’t need to fertilize it over winters as it won’t experience much growth.

While the market is brimming with fertilizers, never compromise on the one you purchase. I have vast experience with gardening, and I believe that you should get Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster Fertilizer.

Jack's Classic Blossom Booster Fertilizer

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You can apply fertilizer when you water the plant. However, make sure that you limit the product’s usage to the growing period of the Spotted Begonia.

6. Pruning your Begonia Maculata

Your plant could use semi-regular pruning, so don't hesitate to do it every once in a while.

Are you wondering how to prune Begonia Maculata? According to the American Begonia Society, you shouldn’t be afraid of cutting off protruding stems to give the plant a better shape. Moreover, if there is just a single stem that is too long, shorten the cane to about 10 inches of the pot.

The Begonia Maculata can use somewhat regular pruning. Based on my experience, I advise you that trimming and pruning the evergreen indoor plant is the best way to go. After all, pruning is necessary for plants that have overgrown and need shaping.

7. Repotting your Begonia Maculata

In early life, the evergreen subshrub benefits from frequent repotting.

A close up of a Begonia Maculata Leaf

The best practice is to repot the Begonia Maculata annually. This plant prefers to be pot-bound but may feel exhausted with densely packed roots. Therefore, when you’re approaching Spring and plan to repot the plant, go up a size with the pot.

Warning

Don't get too enthusiastic when getting a new pot for your plant. Don't purchase a pot that is much larger than the previous one. The greater the size, the more likely your Begonia will suffer because of soil that stays wet for too long.

When you’re repotting the Begonia Maculata, don’t forget to add in some fibrous compost and potting soil to save the day. You’ll thank me for it later!

Things You Should Know About Begonia Maculata

If you’re raising a Begonia Maculata at your home, there are a few things you must know.

1. Propagation of your Begonia Maculata

The Begonia Maculata is surprisingly easy to propagate through cuttings!

The Begonia Maculata is one of the easiest plants to propagate. While you could plant seeds, it is easier to cut a portion of the plant and grow it into a new one.

The ideal time to propagate the spotted Begonia is winter. Since there is minimal blooming, you can cut off a stem with no flowers and dip it in a jar of water.

Step-by-step propagation through stem cutting involves pulling up the stem from under the soil. Cutting sections with a knife about 1 inch in length while removing leaf stems from them. You can then place a single stem in a prepared seedling pot. With thorough monitoring, you’ll be good to go and have a Begonia growing in no time.

If you’re new to propagating succulents and are looking for more thorough advice, I have you covered. Please read our guide that will teach you how to propagate succulents.

Want to Expand Your Plant Family? Three Easy Ways to Propagate Succulents!

Purchasing succulents is usually relatively inexpensive but why spend any money on expanding your succulent collection when you already have everything you need?

2. Toxicity of Begonia Maculata

Keeping the Begonia Maculata away from pets is crucial!

A close up of the reddish underside of Begonia Maculata Leaf

Are you wondering whether the Begonia Maculata is toxic? It definitely is toxic; therefore, you need to keep it away from pets. Ingesting it will cause side effects that you would want to avoid at all costs.

Warning

If you have pets around the home, make sure to keep them away from the Begonia Maculata. After all, the plant is highly toxic for them. Keep it out of reach, and you'll be good to go.

Do make sure you safely showcase your Begonia Maculata at a place where they are nowhere near the pet’s reach. You don’t have to say farewell to the gorgeous evergreen plant, but you should be careful where you place it.

Conclusion

If you want a healthy Begonia Maculata, provide it with partial shade. The ideal soil type is loamy, which should be watered only when the soil’s top surface has dried. The ideal temperature exposure should be between 67 and 70 °F (18 and 22 °C), while humidity should ideally be above 45%. It will thrive with semi-regular pruning and fertilization every two to four weeks.

If you’re new to all of this and feel overwhelmed, I think you should read more about the topic. I recommend this comprehensive guide that will tell you how to grow succulents.

How to Grow Succulents? An Extensive Guide with All the Helpful Tips !!

Succulents are easy-going, beautiful plants that can survive almost anything. Let's go in-depth and check out today's guide on how to grow succulents?

Jimena Bolívar Picture

By Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Jimena Bolívar Picture

Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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