Polka Dot Begonia (Begonia Maculata) Care & Propagation
Polka Dot Begonia’s are a tropical plant, with large angel wing shaped leaves, in a vibrant green color, deep red undersides and the cutest polka dot finishes on top.
Fashionable enough for the cover of Vogue! (Polka dots are in style, right?)
These beauties will thrive best when they receive bright, indirect light and water when the top of the soil feels dry. I use filtered water or rain water with mine, and I notice that I tend to water it in smaller amounts, more frequently than some other tropical plants. (Similar to my Alocasia’s) I try to keep the soil moist, but not wet, as soggy roots can lead to root rot but they also don’t like to dry out. Unfortunately this is not a science, so it will not help for me to say, every other day or twice a week, etc. because it really does depend on your conditions, as with any plant! But to help with this, make sure that your pot has drainage, or leave your plant in the grow pot and set that inside of a cache pot (decor pot with no holes)!
To keep your Begonia growing upright, a plant prop or support of some kind it need, or they tend to go a little wild. You can easily tie the stem to the prop, or use some plant clips specifically made for plants.
Begonia’s also enjoy a high level of humidity. I personally am lucky enough to live in Florida, so mine lives on the porch, under covering, so it does not pelted with direct sunlight (as their leaves will burn!), but still gets an abundance of humidity. They will do okay inside, but I would recommend misting, a pebble tray or a humidifier to keep this guy happy!
What you will need to get started depends on the method you are going to use. I will include all of the links to the materials at the end of this post!
- Clean Scissors or Gardening Shears
- Filtered Water
- Ground Cinnamon
- A small glass container to put your cutting in
Polka Dot Begonia is one of the easiest plants to propagate, even compared to pothos (I know, *GASP*)
All you need is a pair of garden shears or scissors, a leaf, or if you’re feeling extra adventurous, a part of the stem with a few leaves, some filtered water, and a glass container!
First, pick the leaf or leaves you want to propagate. The first ones I chose, were knocked off my plant by an amazon package, so I didn’t have much say in the matter. However, I would recommend choosing one that isn’t brand new, and is mostly done growing. Then cut the leaf off at the base of where it connects to the plants stem (pictured above).
After you make your cutting, I recommend dabbing ground cinnamon on the spot where you made the cutting on the mom plant. This helps to heal and prevents disease and fungus.
You can also choose to cut off a part of the actual stem, including multiple leaves (pictured above).
Once you make your cutting, you are going to simply want to put the leaf’s (or leaves) stem into a glass jar with filtered water, and place it in bright indirect light. I usually use a window sill on a North East Facing Window. Or you may choose to use a grow light.
Tip: A great and cheap alternative to grow lights is using full spectrum, day light bulbs
A great and cheap alternative to grow lights is using full spectrum, day light bulbs in a clip lamp (make sure that your lamp can support the full brightness. I have a few cheap clip lamps that work great and are easy to move around!) that you can get at any big box store or online. You want to look for an LED 100W equivalent daylight bulb that puts out at least 5000k or above. (links for lamp and bulbs are at the bottom of this post!)
Make sure just the stem is in the filtered water and stays there, but not the leaf, as this can lead to problems such as mold/fungus. Leave the cutting in water, for at least a few weeks, if not a couple of months, depending on the root growth you see in the water. While the cutting is in water, change the water every 3-5 days!
Here are some photos of the Begonia cuttings, at different stages of propagation. The one furthest to the right, is about ready to be transferred to soil.
Once a healthy amount of roots have grown, you can then place it in a pot with fresh soil. I included my soil mixture in the links at the bottom of the post, but the most important thing is to have pot with drainage, as your plant will not do well if it is drowning.
As you can see here, a new baby leaf is growing after just a few weeks in soil.
And soon you too, will have brand Polka Dot Begonias, PlantedinPots!
Materials Used & Links
Potting Soil Mixture:
- 8 qt. Perlite: https://amzn.to/2URyrgb
- Black Gold 8-Quart All Purpose Potting Soil: https://amzn.to/2M0DyFo
- Black Gold Moisture Supreme Potting Soil: https://amzn.to/2ZPTsKr
- Holds moisture and is ideal for container plantings that require daily irrigation, such as patio pots, hanging baskets, etc. I use this mixed with all purpose potting soil and perlite, for all of my patio plants, especially ones that prefer to stay moist, like my Begonia or Alocasia.
(Mixed all ingredients together in a large container, with a lid so I could save it for future uses)
- Fiskars Micro Tip Pruning Shears:https://amzn.to/2XhSp53
- Light Bulbs in lieu of grow lights: https://amzn.to/2CDV9BR
- Work light for light bulbs: https://amzn.to/2TMqlnV
- Digz Gardening Gloves: https://amzn.to/2XjXIkr
- Ground Cinnamon: https://amzn.to/39PVJaj
- Propagation Station: https://amzn.to/39RQUNy (this isn’t the exact model that I have, but one that appears very similar and any glass jar/cup can be used. )
- Plant Support: https://amzn.to/2CBbuY0
- Rubber-Coated Flex Plant Wire: https://amzn.to/2Bk9vXs
- Fiskars Soft Tip Garden Shear: https://amzn.to/2JOHTuk
- Fiskars Pruning Shears: https://amzn.to/2VdkGqL
- Mini Terracotta Pots: https://amzn.to/2XEPoKZ
- Terracotta Pots: https://amzn.to/2VbIYBK
Camera Equipment used: