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Begonia Maculata, popularly known as polka dot begonia or spotted begonia, is one of the most attractive and sought-after houseplants you can get.
Its angel wing-shaped leaves feature silver spots, while the undersides are dark red. And although there are several varieties and hybrids of Begonia plants, the most famous and eye-catching one is the spotted begonia.
And the good news is that this stunning plant is not so difficult to take care of. With some help, you can grow your Begonia Maculata healthily and beautifully.
Here are some tips that will come in handy:
Basic Care Tips for Polka Dot Begonia
Begonia maculata are evergreen perennials that have their origin in the tropical forests of Brazil.
They can grow relatively faster as compared to other houseplants. However, it does prefer a spot that is consistently warm and bright.
For this, one should consider placing it around 2 feet from the east or west-facing window.
Also, begonia maculate loves humidity, making the kitchen and bathroom great spots for them as they are naturally humid areas.
Light Requirements for Polka Dot Begonia
Although begonia maculate prefers to grow under bright, indirect sunlight, it can survive under lower light conditions.
But an inadequate amount of light can lead to leggy growth. If your plant is not getting enough light, you may notice the yellowing of leaves.
This may even worsen if the situation is not improved and may lead to the shedding of leaves.
However, you would want to keep your plant away from the scorching afternoon sun as it could burn the leaves, fade its white-silvery spots, and even make the plant dry out. This would also require you to water the plant more often.
Watering Routine for Polka Dot Begonia
Begonia maculata does not prefer staying dry for a long time. It is better to ensure that the soil is relatively damp.
However, excessive water may even result in soggy roots that may damage the plant. So, ensure the top layer of the soil is dry enough before you water your plant again.
To avoid overwatering, you should pick a planter with drainage holes. This will ensure that all the excess water drains away and does not cause root rot.
Your plant must be watered more often during the spring and summer seasons. This is because, at this time, Begonia maculata is actively growing.
Moreover, the temperature starts rising, and the sun shines brighter, which will dry up your plant more frequently.
However, watering Begonia maculata in the winter can be a little tricky. Although the plant does not go dormant, its growth slows down during this time, so it does not require as much water.
Flowering on Polka Dot Begonia
Other than flaunting some beautiful leaves and colors, the plant also grows gorgeous flowers. If you take good care of your plant, it may have some extra nutrients to help it produce blossoms.
If you can offer your Begonia Maculata under the right conditions, it can grow big clusters of white or pink flowers with bright yellow centers on one single stem.
An outdoor mature Begonia Maculata plant usually blooms from spring to fall. So, if your plant is not blooming, it is probably because you are growing it indoors.
You may go ahead and pick the flowers when they have fully bloomed. This will encourage your plant to produce more blossoms again.
Usually, increasing the light can help the plant produce more flowers. So, you can try exposing your indoor plant to the morning or afternoon sun, as this may give your Begonia Maculata a flowering mood.
Fertilizing Polka Dot Begonia
To keep your Begonia Maculata thriving, one should consider fertilizing it frequently – usually every two weeks.
This will help you get much bigger and more beautiful leaves and allow the plant to produce stunning flowers.
However, it is usually advised not to fertilize your plant during the fall and winter; it would need some rest.
For the fertilizer, you do not need a special solution. You can use a balanced mix of NPK to dilute and feed your plants frequently.
Pruning Polka Dot Begonia
If your plant is leggy or weak, you can easily get it back in shape through pruning and pinching.
This will help your plant give a bushier, healthier, and fuller look. You should consider pruning if your plant has grown to be too tall.
Usually, the best time to prune is in late autumn, especially if your goal is to control the length of the plant.
This is because, during this time, the plant is coming to the end of its growing and flowering season and is now approaching the resting phase.
You can trim down the tall stems, which will also help the plant save some energy during winter. But you do not have to worry, as the plant will grow back to normal during the next spring season.
On the other hand, pinching can be done anytime during its active growing season. All you need to do is use a finger and thumb to pinch the small stems branching off from the big stem.
If you are going for significant pruning, you should do it only twice a year. But if you plan to go less intense, you can prune every few weeks when new growth emerges.
Propagating Polka Dot Begonia
Once you have pruned off the stems, do not toss them out, as you can use them to propagate your Begonia Maculata.
With each stem potentially growing an entirely new plant, this is a treasure for you.
You can even place them back in the plant to give it a fuller look. Other than this, there are two methods of propagating Begonia Maculata:
- Water Propagation – position one end of the cutting into a water-filled jar. For this method, one should opt for small containers since you would not want to dilute rooting hormones released by the stem.
- Soil Propagation – For this method, dip one end of the cutting in powdered root hormone and then bury it in the potting soil before watering thoroughly.
Conclusion on Polka Dot Begonia Ultimate Care Guide
Begonia Maculata is one of the most stunning houseplants. So, even if you have to go the extra mile to ensure it grows well, it is worth it. We hope this information will help you enjoy those lush, big, spotted leaves that will catch everyone’s attention.