Begonia maculata, or Polka Dot begonia as it’s often called, is a begonia that has been around for quite some time. It’s sometimes also referred to as the Begonia Semperflorens.
This begonia can be found in many different colors and patterns, but their most recognizable features are the contrasting leaf spots on olive green leaves.
These begonias have proven to be popular houseplants for years because they don’t require too much care and look fantastic with any type of decor!
Let’s get started by going over what Begonia maculata care entails so you can create a space where these plants will thrive.
In this post, we’ll show you how to keep a Begonia maculata happy and how to address potential issues. We’ll provide ideas for maintaining them looking their best so that you can wow your visitors with a plant they won’t forget.
Overview Of The Begonia Maculata
Now that the head-turning Begonias are in vogue, it’s not easy to forget about this show-stopper. The begonia with angel wings is also known as a Wightii, Clown, Spotted, or Polka Dot begonia. It’s been around for quite some time.
The showy plant has a lot of moving parts, including silver polka dots that appear to be painted on olive-colored leaves, crimson undersides, and sprays of open bell-like red or white flowers with brilliant yellow centers on bamboo-shaped knotty stems.
This over-the-top begonia is a fantastic choice if you’re searching for something unique that always catches the eye.
Begonia Maculata At a Glance
- Scientific Name: Begonia maculata
- Common Name: Polka Dot Begonia, Spotted Begonia, Trout Begonia
- Light Requirements: Bright, indirect light is best. Strong growth and blossoms will be promoted by higher light levels, however direct sunlight should be avoided.
- Watering: Keep the soil damp, letting the top half-inch of dirt dry between watering. It won’t tolerate waterlogged soil.
- Soil: A light houseplant potting mix is best. Perlite should be added if the drainage is poor.
- Temperature: 65°F (18°C) and 86°F (30°C).
- Fertilizer: When the plant is actively growing, apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 2-4 weeks. Try using this one.
- Humidity: It’s critical that the humidity be high. >45% is ideal. A hygrometer can help you keep track of humidity level.
- Flowering: In the spring, it blooms with clusters of white blossoms and cheerful yellow centers on a single stem.
- Pruning: To preserve compact development, prune at least twice a year.
- Propagation: Cuttings from the Stem can be readily grown in soil or water.
- Re-Potting: In the first year, spring repotting will be very beneficial.
- Diseases and Pests: Powdery mildew, botrytis, bacterial leaf spot, stem and root rot can all be caused by high humidity and overwatering. Whiteflies and mealybugs are occasionally an issue, but they’re simple to eliminate.
- Toxicity: If swallowed, it is poisonous to both pets and people.
Begonia Maculata Care
Begonia maculata care is quite straightforward. The begonias prefer a moist environment and will do best with regular watering from spring to fall, but make sure that the begonia doesn’t sit in water for too long or it may rot.
During winter dormancy you can cut back on your watering routine as long as the begonia still looks healthy. Make sure not to let them dry out completely during this time though because they won’t recover well once the damage has been done.
Watering should be performed slowly so no water gets trapped at the root level since these begonias like their roots kept constantly damp, never soggy wet, or soaked through.
If you see signs of mold growing on the surface of the soil you should cut back on the watering a bit to give those roots some time to dry out.
Begonia maculata care also involves providing your begonias with bright light but not direct sunlight since begonias can sunburn very easily and this will cause them all sorts of problems. They prefer filtered or indirect light, which makes most windows an ideal location for these plants if you have enough space.
If you don’t want begonias taking over your window sill then place fluorescent lights around their pots that are set at about 200 lux (or 40 foot candles).
Fluorescent lighting isn’t as effective compared to natural daylight so it’s best used in conjunction with other types of lighting sources like sunny windows during the day, especially during winter.
Fertilizing begonia maculata is only necessary during the growing season, and a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength will work well.
Feed your begonias every two weeks or so when they are actively growing and new leaves are emerging.
Stop fertilizing in late fall as the plants prepare for dormancy, and don’t resume feeding until early spring when new growth resumes.
One last thing to note about begonia maculata care is that these plants like high humidity levels, especially during the winter months. If you live in a dry climate then you can place your begonias on a tray of wet pebbles and keep the water level up or use a room humidifier.
Begonia Maculata Characteristics
These evergreen perennials come from Brazil’s tropical forests, so they require warmth, bright filtered light, and proper watering. They are a fast grower that can develop to three feet or more in height within a year or two.
The long, dense stems of a cane begonia retain some water and don’t like wet weather. They prefer that the topsoil be allowed to dry between watering.
Humidity is also crucial, but the key to begonia maculata care is temperature and moisture levels. Its natural environment is steamy. You don’t have to build a greenhouse for it, but you need to create humidity concessions in order to keep your maculata lovely and happy. A dejected clown-looking begonia isn’t anyone’s idea of fun.
Another essential element is potting. There’s a fine balance to be struck here: they enjoy being somewhat rootbound, but in close quarters, their soil rapidly wears out.
Repotting once a year is the best method, even if you’re just replacing them in an identical container.
Maculatas blossom from spring through fall, producing a single stem with white blooms and bright yellow centers. They’re more of an aesthetic than anything else.
You don’t need to assist them in blooming all that often: regular fertilization and adequate light should be sufficient.
If you’re getting fewer blooms than you’d like, try providing more light. Make adjustments to the light in order to see if it makes a difference. Being rooted can also put them in the mood for blossoming.
A well-fertilized maculata is a magnificent plant, but the bushy appearance requires some work. The canes become sparse and straggly because the plant places more effort into developing upwards rather than out. This tendency may be corrected by pruning.
Pinching out the tips is the mildest form of pruning. (This phrase refers to more than just pinching.) As a result of producing a hormone that inhibits branching, cane tips stimulate greater development by eliminating them.
Take a sharp knife and cut a quarter-inch above the tip of a leaf. A new leaf will soon sprout just below the incision. You may utilize the same approach to more seriously alter any plant foliage.
Pruning can be done twice a year or less often if desired, but fresh growth may indicate that it’s time to prune again.
Propagating Begonia Maculata
Pruning a maculata is merely the easiest thing to do. The only issue is, how can you propagate it? There are two primary approaches: adding them to water or putting them straight into the dirt.
Water Propagation – Place the cutting’s end into a jar of water. Small containers are ideal because the stem releases rooting hormones that you don’t want to dilute.
Soil Propagation – To do this, insert the end of a cutting into powdered root hormone and bury it in potting soil in one step. Firm the soil around the cutting and make sure it’s completely wet.
Regardless of the technique, once cuttings are in the soil, you may assist their development by placing the pot into a plastic enclosure or Ziploc bag and opening it every few days to mist. Give the cutting adequate light, maintain its temperatures steady, and in a few weeks, your new plant will be thriving!
It is suggested that you repot your dot begonia every year. In tiny pots, maculata prefer to be rootbound, but their soil becomes depleted from the tightly packed roots. Even if you don’t pot up your tree, periodic soil rejuvenation does them good.
Because they’re likely to become top-heavy, go for a heavy pot, such as terra cotta or stone. Alternatively, put their light container within a larger one.
If you’re repotting in the same size container, loosen and remove soil surrounding the roots of the rootball to give yourself more room for new dirt.
Don’t overdo it with the plant’s growth. You don’t want them to squander extra energy on their root system. It isn’t their distinct selling point.
Diseases and Pests
If you properly feed and care for your Maculata, maintain their leaves clean, and sterilize your equipment, it will not be damaged by pests or illnesses. The most common issues are fungus and high-moisture infestations.
White rot is one of their most prevalent illnesses. This hazard is exacerbated by consistently moist conditions. It starts with circular spots of white powdery powder on the leaves…
If the problem persists, evaluate the soil’s acidity and adjust as needed. If the affected area is large, remove all of it and treat with a fungicide; if not, prevention is preferable. Always wait for the topsoil to dry before rewatering and maintain adequate air circulation.
Botrytis is a fungal infection that causes soggy, brown spots on the leaves. It usually begins on lower foliage that comes into contact with the soil. Poor air circulation can also be to blame. Remove fallen leaves or flowers and trim infected areas if they reappear. If it recurs, apply fungicide and sterilize using methylated spirits
Bacterial Leaf Spot
Leaf fold spot, also known as fungus leaf spot, is a fungal disease that affects leaves. You can help prevent damage by pruning away the infected areas-highly afflicted plants should be destroyed safely.
The only cure is prevention through well-drained soil and regular watering. The disease causes the stems to become soft, swollen, and black.
Pythium Root Rot
Another bummer, roots turn yellow and lower stems black as a result of this illness. It’s helped if you water judiciously (notice the pattern? ) and use sterile soil. Safe disposal of infected plants is essential; not composting them
Mealybugs And Whiteflies
The disadvantage of these insects is that pesticides aren’t very effective; you’ll kill helpful bugs before affecting them. These tiny vampires congregate beneath leaves and stem joints, whereas whiteflies fly about when disturbed.