Begonia Maculata. Don’t ever think that these plants are only good for growing in your garden. They do add a colorful theme to the garden. They can also be kept indoors as houseplants or plants for the office as well.
Begonia Maculata plant profile
The plant has been attention grabber and has been around for a while.
The leaves have olive color that looks like has been painted. The leaves also have silver polka dots, the underside with crimson color.
The flowers are bell-shaped, sprays of open with red or white color with yellow centers. The stem looks like bamboo. The plant is a very unusual attraction.
The plant has a scientific name Begonia Maculata. The plant has many common names including Polka Dot Begonia, Spotted Begonia, and Trout Begonia.
Growth and size
The Begonia Maculata plant can reach about 60 inches or 1.5 m tall. The leaves are about 20 cm in length.
The plant is considered as relatively fast-growing.
The plant is very attractive so it can be placed in the living room, bathroom or other living spaces. It can also be an office plant.
The Begonia Maculata plant bloom from spring to fall. The flowers are white with cheery yellow centers on a single stem.
A good tip to have better flowering is by normal fertilization and place them in a good light spot.
Fewer blooms can be fixed by upping the light. Try providing them with gentle direct morning or late afternoon sun.
How to grow
The best light condition for the Begonia Maculata plant is bright and indirect light. If you are not sure about how bright is the condition, use a light meter.
You can place the plant if the indication of the light meter is between 10.000 lux to 90.000 lux. The higher the indication, will stimulate strongly the flower blooms and growth and. Always place the plant far away from direct sunlight.
Direct sun rays can harm the leaves. Sun rays will fade the silvery spots or burn the foliage.
If you want to place near a window, east or west windows are good enough as long as you keep them out of direct sunlight. You can use a curtain sheer to give the plant indirect light.
However, the plant can tolerate low light, but not a very dim low light corners. The Polka Dot Begonia can be a shade plant. During cold winter, the plant can be placed in bright windows with very little direct afternoon and morning sun.
It is not recommended to place them in low light, because their leaves lose some color. In the end, the leaves turn yellow and begin to shed.
Too much light will scorch the leaves.
The Polka Dot Begonia plant is very happy to be in well-draining soil. The soil will retain moisture without becoming set or soggy.
The best soil for the Begonia Maculata plant is all-purpose potting soil or potting mixes.
You can also make potting soil yourself by mixing potting soil, perlite, wood chips, and organic compost.
Mix potting soil, a handful of perlite, wood chips until the mix is fluffy. Mix a good amount of them for future use. Keep those mixes in a good airtight container.
The plant is a native of tropical rainforests in Brazil. The average temperature of the place is as low as 20°C (68°F).
To keep the plant happy, you have to replicate its original temperature. The best temperature for the Begonia Maculata plant is between 65°F (18°C) and 86°F (30°C).
The plant eventually dies if placed near cold drafts. Prevent the plant to be near air conditioning and do not let the plant to be in a temperature below 20°C (68°F).
The Begonia Maculata plants are hardy outdoors for USDA Zone 10. Relocate the plant during cold winter indoor.
The best humidity condition for the Begonia Maculata plant is above 80%. Since originally the Begonia Maculata plant comes from Brazil, the plant should have similar humidity as its original condition.
The average humidity condition in Brazil is above 80%. That would be the best humidity condition for the plant.
The plant will not perish in low humidity. The sign of low humidity including failure to flower and leaf loss.
The only way to fix the problem is by upping the moisture. A high humidity condition would have greater success in growing the Begonia Maculata plant.
To make sure to have the right humidity level of the area, you can measure with a hygrometer.
Using water trays are one way to raise humidity. If you discover the humidity level of the home area is very dry, the only way to fix it is to use a humidifier.
Even if you have to spend money to fix with a humidifier, it will boost the health of plants and humans, too.
You can start with 60% humidity, but the higher is better. You have to be very careful during winter, as indoor heating parches the air.
The best pot for the Begonia Maculata plant is that is made out of plastic or ceramic. They are better choices than terracotta pot.
The most important thing to remember is to make sure that the pot has drainage holes.
Clay pot wicks moisture from the soil. The soil becomes too dry for growing the Begonia Maculata plant.
For planting more than one in one pot, pick a large enough pot to give adequate room. A three-inch rootball requires at least six to eight inches of space.
That should give enough room for roots and growth. You can have a smaller pot but a six to eight-inch diameter pot will work fine.
How to care
The best fertilizer for the Begonia Maculata plant is a balanced fertilizer like 20-20-20 or 25-25-25 NPK formulation. Apply with just 50% strength.
Fertilize the plant every 3 to 4 weeks during its growing season (March to November). Do not fertilize the plant during its dormant season or in winter (December to February.
These plants are moderate feeders. They are easy to keep fed.
Do not over-fertilize the plant. This may cause brown tips and edges on those gorgeous leaves.
The best time to water the Begonia Maculata plant is when the topsoil is dry enough.
Stick your finger about two inches into the topsoil. Feel the soil. If wet, allow it to dry out before watering begin.
The Begonia Maculata plant is happy with moist soil and does not like drought conditions. If you water the plant when the soil is still wet, the plant will develop root rot.
By keeping the soil dry enough for watering, will keep the plant away from fungus and pests. The plant will not tolerate soggy soil.
The main important thing is to focus on dry soil. Begin to water completely once the topsoil has dried sufficiently.
This will keep the plant from underwatering or overwatering that may cause problems to the plant.
The best time to prune the Begonia Maculata plant is in the spring months. Do not prune the plant during the fall or summer that can result in leggy and weak growth.
But if you see dead leaves and flowers, you can prune the plant anytime you want. You can prune the faded flowers to encourage new blooms.
Make sure to use very sharp and precision pruners or scissors or knives. Sharp pruning tools will prevent damaging the plant.
To avoid any pests or disease, make sure to sterilize those pruning tools with isopropyl alcohol.
Spring is the best time to trim them for shape and size. Pruning begonias in the fall or winter can result in weak and leggy growth.
The Begonia Maculata plant is a spectacular plant. But, when it turned out to look bushy, pruning is necessary. It is when the canes become sparse and leggy. Pruning will fix the growing up tendency.
A simple practice of pruning is pinching out or cutting out the tips. Cut about one-quarter-inch above a leaf. A new leaf will sprout below the cut.
You can prune twice a year, but you can do every few weeks after a fresh growth shows up.
The best time to repot is in the Begonia Maculata plant is in the spring months. The purpose of repotting is because the plant has outgrown the container or the pot.
The Begonia Maculata plant is likely to develop root-bound. When repotting, choose a pot hat that has a drainage hole that is one size larger than the current one. Do not re-pot in a too-large pot.
Annual repotting in spring will help the Begonia Maculata plant greatly.
How to propagate the Begonia Maculata plant
The best, fastest and easiest method of propagating the Begonia Maculata plant is by leaf or stem cuttings. There is also another way by division and planting the seeds.
Stem cuttings are the easiest to root, as long as the humidity level is enough. Use sharp pruning tools like precision pruning shears, scissors or knives.
Cut the stem a couple of inches long. You must include a few leaf nodes. Leave out lower leaves, flowers, and buds.
You can boost the rooting by dipping the cut end into rooting hormone. After that stick the stem into a potting soil mix. The best potting soil is that made with peat moss, vermiculite and perlite or pumice.
For the best result, you must keep the soil consistently moist. Keep the air stays very humid or above 60%.
You can also stick the stem into a jar of water or clear glass vase.
Propagating the Begonia Maculata plant by planting seeds is the hardest and slowest way. Just place the seed into a hole in the topsoil. Cover the hole with soil and wait until the germination begins.
It could take 2 months to see the plant grow.
Pest and problems
The Begonia Maculata plant does not have much trouble with houseplant pests. Fungus gnats and mealybugs are the biggest risks.
Overwatering could stimulate the development of gnats in the soil. The best way to get rid of fungus gnats is to let the topsoil to dry between waterings. Use a yellow sticky trap to help control fungus gnats.
Bugs’ presence on the leaves is rare. If they do appear, treat them by hand rather than spraying anything on the plant. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol. Use it to eliminate and remove the bugs.
Other possible problems are stem rot, root rot, Powdery Mildew, Botrytis, and Bacterial Leaf Spot. You can fix stem rot problems by pruning the affected stems. Root rot can only be fixed by keeping the soil not too soggy.
For fungus and bacterial problems, they can be fixed by removing affected stems or use a fungicide.
Frequently ask question
Why are the leaves turning brown?
The most common cause of brown leaves is the plant is not getting the right amount of water. Water the plant when the topsoil is dry.
Brown leaves can also be caused by the plant not receiving enough humidity. Other causes are extreme temperatures including freezing or sunburn.
Make sure to keep the soil stays consistently moist. If the air is dry (check with a hygrometer), run a humidifier.
Why are flowers turning brown?
The Begonia Maculata flowers will turn brown as they begin to die back. This is actually a normal state. Just pinch out the brown flowers routinely to stimulate fresh new blooms.
Why are the leaves turning yellow?
This could be a sign of overwatering the plant. In some cases, this could be caused by fungal disease or lack of light.
Keep the soil moist and not wet or not soggy. Prune off the yellow leaves, give the plant better air circulation. You can use an oscillating fan to fix the air circulation. Do not water over the top of the leaves.
Why are leaves or stems dropping?
If you notice the plant is dropping leaves and stems, this could mean the plant receives too much water or exposure to cold temps or relocating the plant too often.
Why the plant is not flowering?
The plant that is not flowering is usually normal. You could stimulate the flowering by providing enough fertilizer. You have to give the right fertilizer which is the balance NPK formulation fertilizer (20-20-20 or 15-15-15 NKP formulation). Make sure the plant receive enough light.