Polka Dot Begonia (Begonia maculata)
Polka Dot Begonia Plant FeaturesPolka dot begonia is a stunning and popular houseplant that adds style and drama to indoor spaces. It features bronze-green wing-shaped leaves with dramatic rusty-red undersides. Its common name stems from its variegation -- the tops of the leaves are playfully decorated in silver spots.
When young, polka dot begonia is a beautiful houseplant for desks and tabletops. As it gets older, with good care, it becomes a beautiful floor plant, reaching 4 feet tall or more.
While its variegated leaves are the main reason to grow it, polka dot begonia can also show off clusters of small white flowers on and off throughout the year if it gets enough light.
Tip: Polka dot begonia can also be grown as an annual outdoors in shaded gardens and containers.
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Polka Dot Begonia Growing InstructionsLight
Grow polka dot begonia in a spot with bright light (enough that it casts a medium to strong shadow most of the day). If it does not get enough light, it will grow tall and spindly, with weak stems and no flowers. In Northern areas, it is usually able to take some direct sun through a window, especially in the winter. In more Southerly areas, it may suffer sunburn if it gets a lot of direct afternoon light.
Tip: Like most houseplants, polka dot begonia isn't fussy about whether light comes from natural or artificial sources. If you don't have a bright window to grow it near, it can be perfectly happy under fluorescent or LED lights.
Water your polka dot begonia as the top few inches of the potting mix start to dry to the touch. It is rather susceptible to root rot if overwatered (especially if it doesn't get enough light). If it stays too dry, your polka dot begonia may develop brown, crispy leaf tips or edges. It may even drop new leaves as they develop.
Native to South America, polka dot begonia appreciates above-average relative humidity levels, but typically tolerates average indoor humidity. If the air in your home or office is dry, grouping your polka dot begonia with other houseplants may help. You can also place a small humidifier nearby or grow it on a large pebble tray filled with water (so that the pot sits on top of the pebbles, above the water).
You can fertilize your polka dot begonia in spring and summer if you choose for more/faster growth. Any general-purpose fertilizer labeled for use on houseplants will do. Just be sure not to exceed the directions on the product's packaging.
Pruning usually isn't necessary. If your plant gets too tall and lanky, with no leaves at the base, pinch it back to promote more bushiness and branching. This creates a fuller-looking plant.
Polka dot begonia is an ornamental plant and not intended for human or animal consumption.
Medium water needs
Indoors: High light
Indoors: Medium light