The Begonia Maculata is all over Instagram and I am so obsessed by this strikingly gorgeous houseplant with its silver spots on bright green leaves with red undersides. The Polka Dot Begonia belong to the cane begonia family.
Also known as “Angel Wing” begonias due to their bamboo-like stems with long leaves that resemble wings. Begonia Maculata is relatively easy to grow when compared to Rex and some of the other non-Cane begonias.
Growing Your Polka Dot Begonia Indoors
If you do your research and address all of its needs, the Polka Dot Begonia is not a difficult plant, even for beginners. When it comes to soil, the Begonia Maculata loves loose, well-draining soil. A generic house planting mix should work well or you could mix in some perlite to improve drainage.
Perfect for apartment dwellers like myself, the Polka Dot Begonia prefers shade as too much direct sunlight can cause its leaf tips to brown and its colour to fade. It’s ideal lighting would be bright, indirect light but it can survive in less bright locations.
Keep the soil moderately moist and your Polka Dot plant will be happy. However, soggy soil is a big no, as it can cause root rot. It is best to check the soil every few days to determine its moisture level. You can do this by sticking your index finger into the soil about one inch or so. If the soil is dry to the touch, water it until it runs through the bottom of the pot.
To get great-looking foliage and flowers, you’ll need to feed the Begonia Maculata with a basic houseplant fertiliser during the spring and summer every other time you water the plant.
This is a tropical plant and needs mild temperatures and high humidity to prevent the leaves from drying out. If your home is dry, try placing your plant on a pebble tray with water or use a humidifier.
Common Problems And Their Causes
If your Polka Dot Begonia starts to show any of these signs, you will now know what to do:
- Brown leaf tips/edges happens when your plant dries out too much, the air is too dry, or it gets too much fertiliser.
- Powdery mildew happens if your begonia is kept in a spot that’s too dim and cooler than it can tolerate.
- Root rot will take place if your Begonia maculata is overwatered, which is why the right potting mix is crucial.
- Draft-sensitivity can happen because of its thin leaves, in fact, your Begonia can also show signs of displeasure if it’s exposed to drafts of air noticeably warmer or cooler than the ambient temperature. So keep it away from heating and cooling vents.
Creating new Begonia maculata is easy using water propagation. Using a clean pair or shears or scissors (like in my case) take a four-inch cutting from a healthy stem. Put the cutting in a glass of water and place it in an area that receives bright, indirect light. Change the water weekly. Roots should appear in four to six weeks. After the cutting has rooted, pot the cutting in soil and allow it to grow until it’s established.