Begonia maculata is a plant that attracts everyone (head turner houseplant). This plant increases the interior’s grace. These types of beautiful and fast-growing plants are part of interior decorations. It has green color leaves with polka dots on them and is also called Polka Dot Begonia.
Caring and growing begonia plants do not require any special gardening skills. In this article, you will know how you can grow it at your home and keep it healthy for years.
Let’s start from quick basic Maculata plant care
Care for Begonia Maculata houseplant: Begonia maculata is a plant that needs indirect bright light, like to thrive in temperature between 18 degrees C to 30 degrees C, fertilize one in a month, normal humidity range is enough, easy to propagate and regular pruning is required.
Begonia maculata is also known by other names, Clown, Spotted, or Polka Dot begonia. This beautiful plant is trending now. The reason is it is easy to grow and care. Begonia maculata has olive color leaves with white dots, crimson-colored undersides, red and white flowers. If you want a plant that looks different than other houseplants than this for you. When you see maculata plant it looks like someone painted it with different colors to make it extra beautiful.
Additional Info before starting begonia maculata care guide
Begonia maculata is a plant from the tropical forests of Brazil. Plants of tropical forests need high humidity when grown indoors. It does not require direct sunlight. If you properly care begonia it will grow up to 4 feet or more. The health of plants totally depends upon the care and growing environment.
The white color flowers stay there for the entire warm season.
No doubt light is an important factor in growing Cane begonia. But the secret to begonia maculata care is the right humidity level.
For a high humid level, you don’t need to do anything extra for this particular plant. You can put in the bathroom for some time if you feel the plant is suffering from low humidity.
Humidity for Begonia Maculata
I am going to start with humidity first because the humidity is the main thing you need to keep in control to get success with begonia. It will not die in low humid conditions but may not flower and lose some leaves (leaf drop). Both these issues will get fixed by raising the humidity.
To increase humidity, you should use some basic methods first before buying a humidifier. Put with other plants or use a water tray. Put the plant in a water tray filled with small rocks. This increases the moisture near the plants. Dry air absorbs water from the water tray and this increases the humidity in the growing area.
You need to maintain a minimum 40% humidity in the air. To measure the humidity in your growing area, use Hygrometer.
When to water Begonia Maculata
Watering begonia is easy if you have the right kind of soil for it (explained below).
Begonia Comes from Tropical forests and likes to grow in a high humid environment. This clearly shows that this plant needs moist soil for proper growth.
But please keep the upper 1 inch of the soil dry to prevent root rot like a disease. Once root rot catches your plants roots. It will not survive and rejuvenating it from fungus diseases is not possible in 95 out of 100 cases.
The plant does not like water drops on its leaves. Therefore, do not use spray bottom to mist water on it. This will not increase the humidity in fact it will surely increase the problems.
Bottom watering is always recommended for most of the tropical plants.
Moreover, leaving the upper 1 inch of soil dry prevents many fungus type diseases and also many pests. Because most of the pests like to live in wet soil.
PRO TIP: Keep eye on the soil condition when you the upper 1 inch of soil is dry enough to give it some water. Do not water it regularly like you water other plants.
Best Soil for Healthy Growth of Begonia Maculata
As we all know polka Dot begonia likes to moist soil but it doe not like wet and soggy soil. so you need soil that retain moisture for a long time without becoming soggy. You can easily find many commercial mixes online or in garden stores. For extra safety mix the following things in the soil.
PERLITE: Good for tropical plants. It increases the aeration in the root area. Good aeration reduces the plant disease and encourages the healthy development of plant roots. Moreover, perlite store moisture in it for a long time without becoming wet. If you give extra to your garden soil it becomes soggy. But in case of perlite excess water drain through the drain hole and it absorbs water in it. by keeping the growing mixture moist but not wet like soil.
It also protects your plant from sudden temperature fluctuations.
Organic Compost: Add a handful of organic fertilizer or synthetic fertilizer in the potting soil. Do not add it according to the instruction written in the bag. Just a handful of fertilizer is enough to boost the initial growth of it.
Light requirements for Caring Begonia Maculata
Polka Dot begonia grows well without direct sun rays. Put it on the east or west-facing window and it will get enough light for photosynthesis. Direct falling sun rays can damage the plant. Polka dot begonia leaves cannot tolerate hot sun rays. they start fading and even get burning spots.
In winters no need to use grow lights. Your home CFL lights are enough to full fill its lighting needs. Morning or evening sunlight is beneficial for the plant. To know whether it is receiving enough light or not. Look at it closely if the leaves are fading, turning yellow, losing their bright color. This means your light arrangements for your plants are not enough.
It needs more light per day, relocates it to the brighter place or use small 100 watts grow light.
Fertilizing Maculata for good health
First of all, do not feed it in the winter season because begonia maculata stop growing in winters. You need to feed them in warm months only once in a month. A regular liquid fertilizer with equal NPK percentage works best.
No special fertilizers are required to feed the plant to keep it growing healthy. Overdosage can kill your plant. If you see brown tip and edges stop feeding it. the problem will go away in a few days, keep the right humid level. Repot it or change the potting mix if the problem remains as it is.
Right Temperature for Begonia maculata care
Begonia maculata care is easy if you grow it in controlled temperature. The good news is you don’t need to worry about the temperature. Because they like the same temperature as we do.
15 to 30 degrees C is the perfect temperature range for growing and caring begonia maculata plants at home.
We all have temperature inside our homes between 15 to 30 degrees C.
They bloom from spring to fall and produce beautiful white-yellow flowers. Unlike others, you don’t need to help your plants to bloom. Good bright light and nice fertilization routine can do everything for you.
If your plants are producing lesser flowers, increase the light in the room to fix it.
Pruning Begonia Maculata plants
This is an important part of begonia maculata care guide. You should prune maculata for healthier bushy growth. the process increases the production of leaves and your plant looks fresh and beautiful.
Without pruning your plant grows up instead of spreading and looks spare and leggy. Pruning fixes this issue.
The best way is to cut the tips because cane tips produce a plant hormone that discourages the plant from producing more leaves.
Cut ¼ inch above the leaf and you will see a new leaf comes just under the cut. This way you can encourage the production of new leaves. your plant will develop bushy looks.
TIP: For pruning always use sterilized shears.
Normally people pruning maculata 2 to 3 times a year. But the secret of bushy looks is do pruning when you see the new leaves (once a month).
Propagating begonia maculata is simple and easy. Actually there are 2 different methods one uses water and the second uses Soil.
Propagation in Water: In this method, you need a healthy cutting of plant and jar of fresh water. Put the stem in a jar and it will release rooting hormone and your cutting develop roots.
Propagation by Using Soil: In this method, you need cutting and rooting hormone of your choice. Dip the base of the cutting in the rooting hormone and plant it in the potting mix. Before planting it in the container use pen or pencil to make a hole for your cutting. Firm the soil to support the cutting, keep the soil moist by spraying water. You cutting will develop roots in a few days.
Remember once you plant the cutting in the soil give it 14 hours of bright light (not direct sunlight). Cover the pot with plastic wrap to increase the greenhouse effect. This speeds up the development of new roots.
How to Repot the plant?
Repotting is another begonia maculata care technique. In fact, every plant needs repotting in a growing stage or to refresh the soil. In the case of begonia maculata, you need to repot it once a year. Do not need to use big size container the existing size of the container is enough.
If you use the big container the plant spends more energy in spreading and developing roots to cover the base of the large pot. This disturbs the upper growth and weak your plant.
Take the plant out of the container, clean the container remover all the dirt, wash it with water. If it is broken or you want to use some fancy container make sure use the same size. Remove old soil form the plant roots without cleaning it with water (use your hands).
Fill the new container with the new potting mix and plant it in it. give some water and you are done with repotting.
Disease and Pest problems to Begonia plants
In order to keep your plant healthy, you need to check for the infections and pest attacks. Normally indoor growing plants do no get infected by pests. But they can easily catch fungus diseases.
Following are the common fungus diseases
Powdery Mildew: This fungal disease is common in begonia maculata plants. Because maculata plants like to thrive in high humid conditions. Fungal infections are more common in such an environment.
Use fungicides to treat it but the best way is to prevent it by keeping the upper 1 inch of soil dry. Also, water your plant carefully do not wet the soil.
Bacterial Leaf Spot, botrytis, Stem Rota, and Pythium Root Rot are the other common infections that may infect your plant. To prevent all these use well-drained soil and as I have already mentioned water carefully.
Mealybugs and Whiteflies are the most common pests that attack every houseplant. Inspect your plant’s daily leaves, stem, and conditions of the soil. Use neem spray to kill mealybugs and whiteflies and save your plant. Neem spray is good for every plant. You should spray neem on your plant twice a month even if it is not infected. This will save your plants for future pest attacks.
Yellow leaves: Too much or low light is the main cause of the yellow leaves. Other causes are overwatering, excess use of fertilizers. Mostly over-fertilization causes brown edges. But in some cases, it turns leaf color form olive to yellow at the first stage.
When you continue fertilizing it then leaves turn into brown color.
Dropping Leaves: Leaf dropping is caused by many factors you need to find out what triggers leaf dropping in your plant. Low humidity, low light, Lack of fresh air are responsible for leaf dropping.
Follow our Begonia maculata care guide to grow the healthy plants at home. But you need to find put which tip or technique is best for your growing begonia plants. Overall, it is simple and easy to grow and care for begonia maculata. The most important thing that you need to keep in mind is maintaining the high humidity in your grow room. Begonia cannot survive in the low humid environment because they are native to high humid tropical forests of brazil.
If you have any question in your mind regarding begonia maculata care, Ask us anytime.