Begonia Maculata, also known as the polka-dot Begonia is a sight of unique beauty. Known for its olive green, angel wing shaped leaves, with contrasting silver polka-dots and deep purple under leaf. The Maculata is one of my favorite Begonias. Keeping this beauty happy and healthy will reward you with some of the most beautiful flowers.
Lighting: Requires bright indirect or filtered light. South, East or West facing preferred. It can tolerate slightly lower lighting such as medium light or NE and NW facing window.
Watering: I prefer to water my Begonia when the soil is around 80-90% dry. Don’t allow the soil to go completely dry between watering as it may cause the leaves and petiole to dry out and become fragile where it may easily snap off. However, be mindful to not overwater or have your plant sitting in wet soil as that will cause yellowing of the leaves and root rot. When watering, make sure the water drains through.
Medium Mixture: I prefer to have my Begonia Maculata in a well airy, but equally high nutrient mixture. You can make your own mixture by mixing equal parts of regular potting mix and perlite or pumice. Or you can mix a combination of cacti soil, peat moss, perlite/pumice and orchid bark. The key when it comes to your mixture is to have it airy and light using pumice, perlite, or orchid bark while maintaining equal parts of nutrient soil like regular potting mix, cacti soil and a pinch of peat moss.
First discovered in South America the Angel Wing Begonia make up a large portion of the cane-like begonias. There are four main types of begonias; fibrous, tuberous, canes and rhizomatous. I’ve only personally own cane-like begonias. They have long bamboo like stems with joints where the nodes, new leaves and flowers will grow from.
Do begonias need high humidity?
Begonias do prefer a high humid environment, however they can grow just fine in room humidity levels between 20 – 50%. If you live in a dry climate, especially during the winter season then I suggest creating a humid dome around your begonias by using the old pebble tray trick or getting a humidifier. I would avoid directly misting the leaves of your begonias as they can cause fungus and they are prone to powdery mildew.
Why do the leaves get brown and crispy tips/edges?
Brown tips or edges are caused by either a lack of humidity or the type of water you’re using. If you’ve given adequate humidity and still experiencing brown edges or tips on the leaves, then I suggest using distilled water or rainwater if possible. If not, then good old filtered (Britta) water may help prevent the tips from going brown.