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Begonia Maculata Care: How to make the Polka Dot Houseplant happy

Begonia Maculata Care: How to make the Polka Dot Houseplant happy

Begonia Maculata, Polka Dot Plant

During 2019 Begonia Maculata flooded Instagram with its beautiful dotted foliage, creating plant-envy all around the world. The plant is popularly known as Begonia “Wightii” or Polka Dot Begonia – named so because of the fascinating circles on its leaves.


Begonia Maculata. It’s one of those plants you just can’t be anything but fascinated by. It’s quirky, decorative and to be honest .. a bit strange. For plant lovers like us, it’s the oddity that makes it attractive.

Have you bought a Begonia Maculata and not sure how to care for it, or are you experiencing problems such as brown spots or leaves falling, or simply looking for a bit of inspiration before you buy? Then keep reading the Begonia Maculata plant care guide below.


How to care for Begonia Maculata indoor

Begonia Maculata flowers
White flowers with pink nuances appear on your Begonia Maculata

With a look as unique as on this Begonia, one might think it’s a challenging plant to keep, but truth be told it’s not. We call it a fairly low maintenance plant, and the biggest struggle is to keep the humidity at a level between happy tropical plant and fungus-free home.

In general, you’ll want to place your Begonia Maculata in a bright window where it gets lots of indirect light – east, west- or even north-facing window could be good options. Direct sunlight is a no go. As mentioned regarding humidity, you want to keep the soil moist and give the leaves a good mist once a week or so. If the plant is lacking either water or humidity, you’ll quickly see it on the leaves. The ideal placement for this plant would be a bathroom with a window. You might notice your Begonia starts to produce beautiful white and pinkish flowers we could hardly get ours to stop producing them. Once they’ve finished blooming they simply fall off.

We use regular soil for ours, and in the growing season (spring and summer) you can top up with fertilizer. Got a four-legged family member? then keep it away from chewing on this one, as Begonias, in general, are known to be toxic for both cats and dogs.


Problems you might experience

Although this Begonia is fairly easy to care for, you are likely to experience a few problems – depending on where in the world you live. Native to Brazil this plant thrives in tropical and subtropical climates, and as such prefers more humidity and warmth than what a lot of us can offer indoor.

The lack of humidity tends to dry the leaves out, leaving you with brown spots and tips, but if you are seeing entire leaves dry up and fall of, you might want to take a closer look at your watering schedule to determine whether or not it needs a tad more.

To increase humidity for plants there are a few different actions you can take.

  • Place plants closer together
  • Frequently mist the plant
  • Get a pebble tray
  • Buy a humidifier
  • If you have a bathroom with a natural light source, this could be a perfect placement for the plant


How to prune a Begonia Maculata

Besides struggling with leaves drying up and getting spots, you might also experience that your Polka Dot Begonia starts to look leggy. When it’s doing well it grows surprisingly fast, and it can easily start to look a bit untamed – do a quick image search and you’ll see that it can get pretty big! To avoid the leggy look you’re gonna want to learn how to prune it correctly.


How to propagate a Begonia Maculata

How to prune a Begonia Maculata
To prune or propagate, cut off a branch right above new growth – you never want to cut off where the plant has no option of continuing growth

Can’t get enough of the Polka Dotted plant, or got a friend who’d love one? Then propagation is the perfect way to more plants.

When you are pruning your Begonia Maculata it’s the perfect time to propagate it. You don’t propagate Begonia Maculata from seed, but instead cut off branches and root these. Luckily, this process is pretty easy and fairly quick. With other Begonias, you can do leaf propagation, but with this one, you want to stick with rooting branches.


Here are two ways to propagate a Begonia Maculata

With soil:
  • Get a sharp and clean garden scissor
  • Prepare a pot with regular soil and moist it with water
  • Cut off a branch right above new growth (see image above) and put the branch into the prepared pot
  • Optional: Cover the pot and branch with a plastic bag, to avoid the soil from drying up – new roots are extremely fragile
  • Keep an extra eye on the soil not drying up until you see signs of new growth on the plant. Over the next couple of weeks, the plant will grow roots, and by this time you can safely remove the plastic bag
With water:
  • Get a sharp and clean garden scissor
  • Cut off a branch above new growth, and place the branch in water
  • Place it in indirect light and wait for roots to appear
  • Change the water once a week
  • Once rooted, place into a pot with soil
Rooting a Begonia Maculata
Rooted in water and placed into soil. The process took about 2-3 weeks.
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