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Begonia Maculata in window ledge

How to care for a Begonia Maculata (Polka dot plant)

Begonias are beautiful plants and they're surprisingly easy to take care of. Begonias come in all shapes and sizes and can be quite intimidating because it has so many details on it. Luckily, nothing is further from the truth. In this guide, we'll focus on the Begonia Maculata and how to best take care of it. We'll go over topics like sunlight requirements, watering, the best soil, fertilizer, and flowers. After reading this guide, you'll have everything you need to be able to successfully take care of a Begonia (Maculata).

In this guide we'll go over these aspects of caring for a Begonia:

  1. Sunlight requirements
  2. Watering your Begonia Maculata
  3. The best soil for your Begonia Maculata
  4. Fertilizing your Begonia Maculata
  5. Flowers on your Begonia Maculata
  6. Toxicity
  7. Propagating your Begonia Maculata

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Sunlight requirements

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The Begonia Maculata can be exposed to two different types of sunlight exposure: bright, indirect sunlight, but also lower light situations. This makes it a perfect plant for all of those areas where you'd love to have a plant, but they all require more sunlight. Don't keep it in a space where it doesn't get any sunlight, it still needs some sunlight. Also, make sure to keep the Begonia Maculata out of direct sunlight in the afternoon. When your Begonia Maculata is exposed to this sunlight for too long, it's beautiful leaves can get sunburns and dry out.

Begonia Maculata leaf pattern

Watering your Begonia Maculata

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A Begonia Maculata is a plant that loves to be in moist soil. This means you should water it regularly. Depending on the season, this could be once every 4 days in the summer and every week to two weeks in the winter. You can find out of you need to water your Begonia Maculata by touching the soil with your fingers and determine if it's still moist of if it's dry. If it's dry it's time to water your Polkadot plant. It doesn't like to be dry for too long, so make sure to check regularly.

If the soil is still moist when you check it, wait another day or two and check again. This helps to prevent overwatering this plant. The Begonia Maculata roots are thin which means it's quite sensitive to overwatering. So be sure to check the moisture levels of the soil before watering your plant.

The best soil for your Begonia Maculata

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Begonia Maculata plants like to be in moist soil, so you should find a soil mix that retains water quite well. A palm soil mix is mix that retains water quite well, but at the same time, it doesn't compact after watering your plant a few times. The palm soil mix is the way to go for a Begonia Maculata.

Fertilizing your Begonia Maculata

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The Begonia Maculata is a flowering plant, which means it requires fertilizer every once in a while to have enough energy to be able to keep growing. A good rule of thumb is to add liquid fertilizer to the water every other time you water the plant. Ideally, this would mean the Begonia gets fertilized every 2 weeks. However, only fertilize your Begonia during its growing season (spring and summer). During the dormancy period, autumn (fall) and winter, the plant shouldn't be fertilized, because this is when it needs to recover from the growing season and it needs to rest and prepare for the coming growing season.

Begonia Maculata with flowers

Flowers on your Begonia Maculata

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As we've mentioned in the last section, the Begonia Maculata is a flowering houseplant. Besides having striking and unusual leaves, it also grows flowers if it's taken care of well and has spare nutrients to be able to grow flowers. If you use fertilizer as described in the last section, you will have flowers during the growing season.

Like any flowers, they die after a short time. However, this doesn't mean the flowers won't come back. If you prune the flowers when they've bloomed, you might be able to help the plant grow flowers and bloom multiple times in a growing season.

If you don't want to grow any flowers, you won't have to fertilize your Begonia Maculata as often. You can stick to using liquid fertilizer once per month.


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The Begonia Maculata is considered to be a non-toxic plant, however, they could cause light irritation and vomiting. So you could keep it around small children, but it's best to keep it out of reach from your pets. It's definitely not as bad as most other houseplants.

Propagating your Begonia Maculata

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Begonia Maculata Cuttings

Propagating your Begonia Maculata is quite an easy process. You can take cuttings in different ways, but the easiest way is to cut off part of the stem with a few leaves. You can propagate this cutting in water, Leca, or a porous rock like Pumice. The best time to propagate this cutting is during the spring and summer, because they'll be more likely to grow roots within a few weeks.

If you're going to take cuttings of your Begonia Maculate, be sure to use proper tools for the job. When you use the right pruning shears, you will have minimal damage on the plant and give your cutting a higher chance of growing roots. You can find out which pruning shears work best for you by reading "10 Best Pruning Shears - Get the Right Tool for the Job!".


The Begonia Maculata seems a lot more difficult to take care of than it actually is. The unusual patterns and shapes make it look quite intimidating, but nothing is further from the truth. The Begonia Maculata is actually quite a friendly and easy-going plant and it has a nice surprise for you when you keep it happy for a little while: It'll grow beautiful flowers for you.

The Begonia Maculata loves bright, indirect light, but can also survive in slighter lower light situations. Never expose it to direct sunlight, because that will burn the leaves and dry them out. Water it once per week and add liquid fertilizer once every two weeks in the growing season. Don't use any fertilizer in the dormant season.

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! If you're looking for more guides on specific plants, you can always request a plant guide to get a guide for the plant you have trouble with.

Tags: beginner-friendly, flowers, begonia

Posted on: Aug 9, 2020 Last updated on: Aug 14, 2020

Other common names for this plant

  • Polka dot plant
  • Hypoestes phyllostachya
  • Freckle Face

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Frequently asked questions

How often should you water a Begonia Maculata?
You should water a Begonia Maculata when the soil is dry, this is usually once per week in the growing season (spring and summer) and once every two weeks in the dormant season (autumn/fall and winter).
Does a Begonia Maculata produce flowers?
Yes, the Begonia Maculata produces flowers when it has enough space nutrients to be able to grow flowers. You can achieve this by fertilizing your Begonia.
Is a Begonia Maculata toxic to pets?
The Begonia Maculata is mildy toxic to cats and dogs, so it's best to keep it out of reach. It's safe to keep around small children though.

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