Begonia Maculata (Polka Dot Begonia) Care

begonia maculata

Begonia Maculata, also known as Begonia Maculata Wightii or Polka Dot Begonia, is a beautiful and unique indoor plant. 

With its unique silver spotted leaves and burgundy underside, Begonia Maculata is a stunning plant that will grab the attention of anyone who comes into your home.

Begonia Maculata Care

Here are the basic steps to caring for a Begonia Maculata, which we will go over in much more detail later in the article. 

  • Pot: This plant is a fast grower and may require a large pot. Should be repotted annually regardless of growth. 
  • Soil: Aerated, well-draining potting mix that holds enough moisture without becoming soggy.
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Water: Do not let dry out completely between watering. Take care not to get the leaves wet. 
  • Humidity: At least 45% humidity. We strongly recommend that you use a plant humidifier. 


Polka dot begonias grow quickly and can soon outgrow their pot. Transferring them to a larger container encourages growth where the plant can reach five ft. (1.5 m) tall. Only go one size up at a time because your polka dot begonia likes to be root bound (they want to be in a tight and cozy container). 

Your pot must have holes on the bottom so any excess water can drain out. Drainage holes help prevent overwatering and root rot. Always make sure your pot has one or more holes on the bottom.

You should re-pot your polka dot begonia every year, even if it’s to the same container. The Begonia Maculata will do well with a soil refresh annually. 

Because Begonia Maculata can grow so tall, they tend to be top-heavy. You’ll want to choose a heavy pot to make sure they don’t tip over. We recommend a pot made of terra cotta or stone. 


The best soil for Begonia Maculata is one that drains well. 

Potting mixes you can buy at the store work great, but you should add a few things to make the soil even better. You want to end up with a mix that’s springy and fluffy after adding in the following:

  • Perlite. Perlite helps with drainage and with water retention at the same time. Use equal parts regular potting soil and perlite. 
  • Wood chips. Non-toxic wood chips included in the soil aid in aeration. Just be sure to refresh them when you repot your plant, as they can decompose. 
  • Compost or organic fertilizer. A small amount, not as much as the bag recommends. 

Light Requirements

How much light does my Begonia Maculata need? Your polka dot begonia likes bright, indirect light.

The best place to put your polka dot begonia indoors is in front of an east- or west-facing window. Keep the plant away from the window in a south-facing room to prevent the sun from scorching the leaves.

Suppose you can find a nice, bright sunny spot for your plant. In that case, you might be lucky enough to see its beautiful pink flowers.

Don’t have enough natural light in your home? No problem! You’ll just need to add a grow light for your polka dot begonia friend. 


How much water does my Begonia Maculata need? The dryness of the soil determines when to water your plant. Water your Begonia Maculata plants whenever the top part of the soil is dry, and the lower part is still moist. They like to remain consistently moist and should not be allowed to dry out.

These plants easily develop root rot if they’re kept too wet, so never water when the top part of the soil is moist. 

Pro Tip: Only water the soil and avoid splashing water on the leaves.

Consider using a long spout watering can to avoid getting the leaves wet. 


Your Begonia Maculata needs humidity to thrive. This plant will never fully flourish without the proper humidity. It is vital to monitor the humidity during the winter months when the air in your home will be extra dry. Dry conditions can weaken or even kill your Begonia Maculata. 

If you live in a dry home, having a humidifier for your plants will be essential. Misting is not suggested for this plant because the leaves are susceptible to powdery mildew, and damp leaves can contribute to this. 

We have two fantastic articles detailing humidifiers for plants:

Best Humidifiers for Plants
How to Use a Humidifier for Plants 

Pro Tip: An inexpensive hygrometer is a wise investment if you love plants like the polka dot begonia. 

How to Solve Begonia Maculata (Polka Dot Begonia) Common Issues

Fungal diseases or bacterial diseases that can harm Begonia Maculata include powdery mildew, leaf spot, botrytis, and Pythium root rot. You can avoid many harmful plant diseases by only watering begonias when the soil is partly dry. Also, avoid getting the leaves wet when you water your plant.

Brown Tips

Brown and dry leaf tips mean your plant wants more water. The soil has probably been dry for too long.

Dropping Leaves

Adjust the humidity. Try using a plant humidifier. If the plant is dropping brand new leaves, water more often. 

Crispy Leaves

Your plant is getting too much direct sunlight. Try moving your polka dot begonia to an area where all sunlight will be indirect. 

Leaves are Curling

Begonia leaves may curl when plants have been exposed to temperatures that are too cold for them. Ideally, the plants will grow best when temperatures do not fall below 60 F.

Brown Spots

Brown patches or spots are usually caused by excess direct sunlight or disease.

Yellow Leaves

You are probably overwatering. 

Questions and Answers: Begonia Maculata (Polks Dot Begonia)

Is Begonia Maculata Easy to Grow?

Yes! Have no fear of the begonia Maculata. It’s an easygoing plant that is easiest to grow when you follow the care steps outlined in this article. The Begonia Maculata loves bright, indirect light but can also survive in slighter lower light situations.

Is Begonia Maculata Safe for Cats?

No. Spotted Begonia Maculata plants are toxic to cats, dogs, and other family pets. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASCPA) says that animals that eat parts of begonias can suffer from vomiting and excessive drooling.

Is the Begonia Maculata Plant Rare?

Not anymore. Over the past few years, they’ve increased in popularity dramatically. They can now be found in many local gardening centers and online retailers. 

How Big Do Begonia Maculata Get?

About 5 ft tall when grown in an ideal environment as described in this article. 

Should You Mist Begonia Maculata?

No. The Begonia Maculata does not like its leave to be wet. Damp leaves increase the chances that your plant will develop powdery mildew. A better way to increase humidity for your Begonia Maculata is to use a humidifier for plants. 

Read: How to Use a Humidifier for Plants

Where to Buy a Begonia Maculata

Check your local garden center first so you can pick out precisely the plant you want. Call around before driving around to make it easier on yourself. 

If that doesn’t work, I’ve had some surprising success purchasing plants on Amazon

You can also find a nice plant on Etsy. 

Begonia Maculata Care Shopping List

Some items we discuss that will help you care for this unique plant and keep it growing strong:

Before You Go…

Your Begonia Maculate loves humidity. If you’ve thought about adding a plant humidifier to your home but aren’t sure which one to purchase, read our next article to choose the plant humidifier that’s right for you…

Top Ranked & Best Humidifier for Plants