Houseplant of the week: Begonia maculata ‘Wightii’

Why will I love it?
This is an Instagram favourite because of its striking foliage: the leaves are asymmetrical, shaped like angel wings, and olive-green in colour with silver, splatter-like dots and a dark-red underside for added drama. It is one for the more experienced plant parent as it can be a headache to look after.

Light or shade?
Bright and indirect: lots of this promotes flowering and growth, but it shouldn’t be in strong direct sun.

Where shall I put it?
A warm kitchen or bathroom is perfect. An east- or west-facing windowsill that gets morning or evening light works well; move it to a southern windowsill for winter. I have one by a frosted west-facing windowsill and it is so happy – it has bloomed.

How do I keep it alive?
Keep the soil well aerated and generally moist; allow only the top 1cm to dry out. They are very fussy about humidity, so need daily misting or a humidifier, and keep temperatures high (18C-30C).

Did you know?
The begonia is named after French plant collector Michel Bégon (1638–1710), who was governor of Santo Domingo (the Dominican Republic), where the plant was “discovered” in the 1600s.