Begonia maculata has a myriad of different common names to describe its spotted appearance, including 'Polka Dot Begonia,' 'Spotted Begonia,' and (the author's favorite) 'Clown Begonia.'
Hardiness: 65F - 86F, Ideal temperature in the 70s
Light: Bright indirect to low light. Begonia maculata will produce more blooms when exposed to more light, but you never want them in direct sun - They burn very easily and the silver spots will lose their luster. 10.000 lux to 90.000 lux is recommended if using a light meter.
East or West facing windows with a light sheer are ideal indoors. While they can tolerate shade, dark corners should be avoided as your begonia may experience yellowing and drop leaves. During winter you may place your Begonia maculata directly in a window with gentle morning sun. They can be grown outdoors as well but only in shade - preferably a spot that gets either morning sun or a small window of exposure to evening sun. When outdoors, supplement with misting and take pest control measures.
Size: Max height of 60 inches. Relatively fast growing plant - they can grow up to 12 inches a season.
Care Instructions: Keep the soil moist, only letting the top half inch or so dry out. They do not like being soggy but don't want to dry out significantly either. Warmth, moisture, well-draining potting soil, and high humidity (45%+) are key to keeping a healthy begonia. Pruning is also encouraged for a well rounded compact plant. Repot annually during spring.
Propagation: Propagating from stem cuttings is the easiest method. Simply choose a stem with multiple nodes and stick into potting mix. Keep soil moist and maintain humidity. Begonia maculata also propagates well in water. Ground cinnamon is recommended for the mother plant where the stem has been cut. It is also pretty easy to grow them from seeds, just takes some patience and a couple months for the plant to develop.
Special Features: This plant grows well in water and can be grown semi-hydroponically! While many begonias are edible and contain a lot of vitamin C, Begonia Maculata is toxic to both people and pets. They also contain some of the smallest seeds of any flowering plant!
Watch Out For: White mildew from misting, yellow leaves from overwatering, leaf drop (due to temp or water shock), root rot, fungus gnats. Very susceptible to issues related to water-logging. Also be cautious of burning.
Arrangement Tips: This striking plant looks best when planted solo and allowed to shine on its own. Keep it simple and don't take away from the beautiful foliage. If planting with other plants try to pick other moisture loving plants like nerve plants or calathea perhaps!