Begonia Maculata: The Plant That Inspired Louboutin
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The Plant That Inspired Louboutin

After a long absence, Bloombox Club is proud to reintroduce the Begonia maculata, a rare foliage plant with two-toned leaves and distinctive white polka dots.

Not so long ago, the Begonia maculata was relatively easy to obtain in UK plant markets and stores. But in 2020, due to restrictions on where particular varieties can travel, and growers reducing their assortment thanks to coronavirus, the plant has been much harder to source.

Our Begonia maculatas are grown by the innovative and curious purveyors of rare plants, Smit Kwekerijen. Led by plant hunter Obed Smit, Smit Kwekerijen pride themselves on cultivating unique, healthy and reliable houseplant varieties. Many of their plants can be traced from rainforest to lab to your front door. You can read more about how Smit discover, hybridise and stabilise rare plants here.

The Polka Dot Begonia is revered for its unique and mesmeric appearance. Maculatas have long crinkle-cut leaves which finish in a point. Their foliage is coloured a deep green on top, with a deep reddish-pink overleaf. The Polka Dot variety has a series of perfect white spots on the top. With respect to their shape and pattern, an alternate common name for the Polka Dot Plant is ‘Trout Plant.’  

But the main reason this plant has particular clout, is a widely-circulated legend that the Begonia inspired shoe designer Christian Louboutin to create his signature red-soled stilettos. In the 1990s and 00s, the flash of scarlett to accompany the click-clack of heels down a Paris boulevard or catwalk was an immediate sign of glamour.

Louboutin himself has yet to cite the plant as inspiration, though Warhol, oceanic creatures and Parisian nail bars of the 1980s have all been sources of inspiration for the designer.

We are certainly reminded of the two-toned shoe when we come into contact with our own Maculatas (and thankfully, they’re a lot more affordable!).

Get your own Begonia maculata here, with UK-wide delivery.

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