Discover how to grow and care for Polka Dot Begonia, so it stays looking as beautiful as the day you bring it home.
While we never tire of browsing plants, there are some that stop us in our tracks and immediately have us mentally re-shuffling our plant shelves to fit them in. The Polka Dot Begonia (Begonia maculata) is one such plant. This most photogenic of houseplants has long, elegant wavy-edged leaves, which as you might have guessed from the name, are coated in adorable silvery-white spots with a reddish underside.
For instant sass-appeal, add these stylish spots to your houseplant haven here.
Begonia maculata is an evergreen perennial plant commonly known by the names Polka Dot Plant, Angel Wing and Spotted Begonia, among others. The Polka Dot plant's paint-splatter foliage adds an artistic streak to any room and is, frankly, bound to steal the show wherever you place it.
But this plant can't thrive on compliments alone! Here's what you need to know to keep the Polkadot Begonia alive.
How to care for Polka Dot Begonia
Light: Pop your Begonia maculata in a well-lit room with lots of bright indirect light. Keep your plant away from the glare of the hot sun to avoid scorching the leaves.
Water: Water around once a week to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Allow the top two inches of soil to dry out between waterings. Polka Dot Begonia doesn't like to sit in water, so use any excess to water your other plants. Remember to reduce the H20 in winter.
Soil: Plant Polka Dot Begonia in a peat-free multi-purpose compost.
Humidity: The Polka Dot Begonia is slightly fussy when it comes to humidity levels. It enjoys a humid environment but doesn't like its leaves to be wet as this can lead to Powdery mildew.
For this reason, you should avoid misting the leaves, instead, group your plants together, add a pebble tray or invest in a humidifier to keep the moisture levels consistent. The minimum room temperature to keep your Begonia comfortable is 15 degrees.
Common Polka Dot Begonia problems
Leaf colour fading: As well as being a sign your plant needs more light, fading colour can also mean its time to repot. To double check, look underneath the pot to see if the roots are poking out of the pot. The best time to repot is in spring.
Yellow leaves: A sign of an overwatered plant. Read this article to find out how to save your plant.
Brown patches: Dried out leaves with brown edges are most commonly a sign of sunburn. Ouch! Shift your plant out of direct sun.
Brown tips: Dry air can lead to brown tips. Up the humidity as described above.
Rotting leaves, yellow leaves and leaf drop: All signs of an overwatered plant or inadequate lighting levels. Adjust both and your plant will soon perk up.
As well as attack from insect pests they can also suffer from Powdery Mildew, Stem Rot & Rhizome Rot.
Find out how to banish Powdery Mildew with bicarbonate of soda in the video below:
How to propagate Polka Dot Begonia
This Begonia species lies in the cane-stem horticultural group. These plants have erect stems, stretching up to 1m high and produce fibrous roots and cane-like stems bearing asymmetrical, wavy, toothed leaves.
Thanks to its cane-stem grouping, Polka Dot Begonia is easy to propagate via leaf and stem cuttings. These will root easily in water or soil so hang on to those prunings! Select stems that are around 7-10cm long, pop them in some sandy well draining compost and pot up once the roots have sprouted. You'll soon have enough to share among plant-loving pals.
Nailed Polka dot Begonia propagation, learn about other methods of propagation here:
Bonus care tips for Polka Dot Begonia
- Fertilise with an organic, potassium-rich houseplant feed once a month during spring and summer. This will encourage new growth and the Polka Dot Begonia might even surprise you with blooms, which arrive in clusters of waxy white or baby pink flowers.
- Regularly prune lower leaves to encourage new growth as they will naturally dry out and die as the plant ages.
Where to buy Begonia Polka Dot Plant
Dotty for Polka Dot Begonias? Find a Polka Dot Begonia for sale on the Candide from independent UK sellers and nurseries.