Begonia maculata is a tender plant from South East Brazil. These interesting plants are grown for their stunning foliage, which is dark green in colour and liberally decorated with marvellous silvery-white coloured polka dot markings over the top sides of the leaves; this area of the leaf contrasts with the rich burgundy colouring found on the undersides of Begonia maculata foliage. Begonia maculata plants can flower at almost anytime, but their main flowering period is during late spring and summertime, when these plants produce pendulous white or pink coloured blooms.
Begonia maculata make attractive houseplants; these Begonias are ideally suited to growing in semi-shaded rooms or areas that enjoy bright, yet indirect lighting, or bright but filtered light. Ensure your plant will not endure any harsh, direct sunlight; be especially careful of afternoon sunshine, as the light tends to be more intense after midday, when the sunlight could scorch Begonia maculata‘s sensitive leaves. Avoid areas where the light is glaringly bright and look instead for a more softly lit room with bright but gentle lighting.
I prefer to water my indoor plants with rainwater wherever possible; as I find tap water is usually detrimental to houseplants. If you’re able to collect rainwater for your plants – go for it! I always think that plants really appreciate being watered with rainwater. To cultivate and maintain a healthy and handsome looking Begonia maculata plant, it’s crucial to get your watering right. After watering your plant, allow the surface of your plant’s compost to dry out before you water your plant again. It’s important to remember that these plants don’t want to sit in water and they won’t want to remain in continually wet compost; yet they also don’t want their compost to dry out entirely either; it’s all about creating a balance. If Begonia maculata plants’ growing media is continually saturated with water, the plants will be liable to rot and die.
When watering, direct the water at your plant’s roots and do all you can to avoid wetting your plant’s leaves. You might find it easier for you (and more beneficial for your plant) to pop your Begonia maculata plant pot in a basin of rainwater for ten minutes or so, to enable your plant’s compost to take up water from the base of the pot. Ensure that your plant’s container is allowed to drain thoroughly after watering; these plants don’t want to sit in water.
I find that Begonia maculata plants appreciate humidity and like most plants, these Begonias don’t enjoy being grown near a radiator, an open fire, or any other drying heat source. Unless your radiator is turned off, don’t grow Begonia maculata on a window sill. I try to maintain a fairly humid environment for my plants of at least 55%RH. I raise the humidity levels around my plants by gathering my indoor plants together in groups. I also use pebble trays, topped up with water to create a more humid environment. When using pebble trays, take care to ensure that your plants’ roots are not sitting in water; as this would be incredibly damaging for Begonia maculata plants. To use pebble trays successfully, place upturned saucers over the pebbles and place your plant on top; ensuring as you do so, that the base of your plant’s pot is above the water level. Alternatively, if you grow your Begonia maculata plants in regular plastic containers, you could place your plant pot inside a ceramic planter (that doesn’t have any drainage holes at the base) and then pop the planter directly on top of your pebble tray.
Ideal temperatures for Begonia maculata range from around 18-22C (64-71F). These are tender plants that have a minimum temperature of around 16C (60F). When placing your Begonia maculata plant, ensure you choose a position that’s well away from your front or back doors and any windows that are opened in autumn and wintertime, as your plant will not respond well to cold draughts.
Don’t forget to fertilise Begonia maculata plants during spring and summertime. Once or twice a month, add a dilute liquid plant food (tomato fertiliser is ideal) to your plant’s water.
Plants’ needs change with the seasons. Take care to cut back on watering and cease fertilising Begonia maculata plants over the autumn and winter months; as these plants won’t be in active growth during the winter season. At this time of year, Begonia maculata plants won’t require as much water and they’ll be more susceptible to mildew and rot, so do reduce your watering accordingly during the autumn and winter months.
Eventual height: 1m (39 inches) tall, and 50cm (20 inches wide.
This Begonia maculata plant was sent to me by Thompson & Morgan – here’s a link, in case you want to buy your own plant.
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