Learn how to grow Begonia Maculata Plant indoors in a container with ease. Begonia Maculata is a trouble-free plant that is easy to grow, even for novice gardeners!
Scientific Name: Begonia Maculata
Common Names: Polka dot begonia,Trout Begonia, Polka Dot Plant, Begonia Maculata Widgtii, Spotted Begonia, Clown begonia
Begonia Maculata or Polka dot begonia adds dramatic flair in any space, be it home, office, or any other surrounding. The best part is the eye-catchy foliage that’s shaped like angel wings and keeps the onlookers’ eyes glued to it. The foliage is covered in silver-white spots that look like polka dots and comes in an olive green shade. The red undersides of the foliage also stand out when viewed from certain angles. If the foliage isn’t enough, the stunning white flowers with a yellow center that bloom in spring and autumn also turn heads. So without further ado, here is all you need to know about Growing Begonia Maculata.
How to Grow Begonia Maculata Indoors
Locate the pot at a spot where it receives bright indirect light or place it under the grow lights. Begonia Maculata grows well in soil rich in organic matter and is well-draining; add perlite to improve drainage. Water when the soil becomes dry an inch below the surface. Fertilize once in two weeks in the growing season with well-balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted half to its strength.
Propagating Begonia Maculata
Propagating Polka dot begonia is pretty easy and can be done by using stem cuttings or leaf cuttings. Here is how you can propagate Begonia Maculata from stem or leaf cuttings:
- Use a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears to take the cutting and make sure that it’s sterilized.
- Take the leaf-cutting from where the leaf connects to the stem or stem cutting from any healthy stem.
- Remove the lower half leaves of the stem cutting and plant it in a well-draining potting mix. Locate the cutting in a spot with bright indirect light or under grow lights.
- Use a rooting hormone before planting the cutting to facilitate rooting.
- Apply cinnamon powder to the wounded part of the mother plant so that it heals quickly. Here are some other uses of cinnamon in the garden!
- Polka dot begonia can also root in water which you can later transplant to a potting medium. Make sure to use filtered water and a clean, transparent utensil to propagate it in water.
- Change water every 3-5 days till you see visible roots forming and the cutting is ready for transplanting.
Choosing a Container
Begonia Maculata doesn’t have a deep root system, so it will do well in the pot that’s 4-6 inches in depth and width in the initial growth phase. As the plant tends to get top-heavy and there is a risk of toppling, the pot must be heavy. Terra cotta, ceramic, or even concrete pots will do but don’t for plastic pots as they aren’t heavy. Make sure that the container has drainage holes at the bottom!
Alternatively, you can grow Polka dot begonia in a raised garden bed or hanging baskets!
There is no need to repot the plant to a large pot at least before a year has passed as it loves to remain somewhat pot-bound. Ideally, you should repot the plant in the springs in a pot that’s one size larger than the last one. Loosen up the soil around the edges of the root ball when you repot so that the roots become aerated.
Begonia Maculata grows well in average room temperatures ranging from 65 degrees F to 85 degrees F. Move the pot to a warmer spot if the temperature falls below 55 degrees F. The cold can damage the plant!
Ideally, it would be best if you placed the pot somewhere it receives bright indirect light; it can be a windowsill, porch, or patio. If the room is well lit, it makes perfect sense to locate the plant at the center table. Exposure to direct sunlight can lead to scorched leaves, whereas the absence of a proper lighting plant shows leggy growth.
Go for a good quality potting mix that’s well-draining designed for houseplants. Check the label for ingredients such as perlite, peat moss, and vermiculite as they improve drainage. In case the potting mix isn’t well-draining, amend the mix with perlite to improve drainage.
The rule of thumb is to water when the soil becomes dry about an inch below the surface. Check that the soil is dry by sticking your finger in the soil or scratching the surface. The idea is to keep the soil moist but not overwatered that it turns soggy and leads to root rot.
Begonia Maculata Care
Polka dot begonia thrives in high humidity, so locating the plant in places such as the kitchen or bathroom where humidity levels are high is beneficial. Alternatively, you install a humidifier to raise the humidity levels if the surrounding air is dry. Misting or placing a pebble tray filled with water near the plant are also some inexpensive solutions to raise humidity.
Apply a well-balanced fertilizer diluted half to its strength to boost the plants’ growth when it’s in a growing phase. Fertilizing once every 2-3 weeks will suffice and promote the growth of healthy blooms. Adding aged compost, banana peels, or fish emulsion to the soil are some organic ways to enrich the soil!
Pests & Diseases
Some common garden pests such as aphids, Whitefly, Mealybugs can cause damage to the foliage. Handpick them or spray neem oil solution over the plant to keep such infestation in check. Although it thrives in high humidity, raised humidity levels can lead to powdery mildew, bacterial leaf spot, and botrytis. Maintain good air circulation around the plant for prevention from such diseases. Use fungicides to control the spread of fungal infestation. Also, overwatering can lead to root rot, so avoid overwatering!
Begonia Maculata Toxicity
Similar to other members of the family Begoniaceae, Polka dot begonia is also toxic to pets. As per ASPCA, ingesting any part of begonia can lead to vomiting and salivation in cats and dogs. Roots are the most toxic part, and when grazing animals ingest, it could lead to kidney failure.