The Polka dot plant, or Hypoestes Phyllostachya as it is known in the scientific world, is a popular plant with eye-catching leaves.
Polka dot upkeep has some quirks, but it’s typically not too tough.
The earliest popularized variety of Polka dot plants had small, dark green leaves that were speckled with pink.
At this time, several farmers have developed a number of hybrids.
This plant now has white, red, maroon, lighter green, and even reversal colors, in which the spots are dark green and the base leaf is a different color.
The colorful leaves of the Polka dot plant may grow to a maximum size of roughly 2 inches, while the plant itself can grow to a height of 4 feet in the wild.
This plant has the potential to bloom under the correct conditions.
Racemes, or flower clusters, are frequently violet in color and grouped in a spiky pattern. Blooms can be trimmed out since they are a source of nonessential energy for the plant.
Garden beds are frequently covered in Hypoestes Phyllostachys for a splash of color, and the plants are also used as inside centerpieces. They, like nerve plants, are excellent for terrariums.
We will address growing polka dot plants in a potted setting and offer care advice here.
Polka Dot Plant Characteristics
Despite the fact that the polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) may reach a height of 3 feet in its native Madagascar, most modern cultivars are between 6 inches and 2 feet tall.
They are only hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 10 through 12, although they may be cultivated in partial shade outdoors.
The good news is that these normally pink plants can remain healthy on the interior and outside.
The 6-inch spikes of inconspicuous pink to purple blooms of the polka dot plant appear when the days begin to shorten in late summer or early fall.
Nonetheless, this plant has a propensity to “go to seed” (in more ways than one) after flowering, so it’s best to continually pinching off the buds to prevent them from producing too many.
Polka Dot Plant Care
Polka dot plants demand high humidity and warm temperatures to grow. Unless you get a lot of rain, you’ll need to water your plants on a regular basis.
Furthermore, this plant need constant feeding from spring until fall.
During the summer, polka dot plants produce spikes of small lilac or pink blossoms. Remove the flower spikes so that the plant’s resources can be directed toward the development of luxuriant foliage.
In the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales, the invasive polka dot plant has become a major threat.
This plant, unlike several others, will not spread if planted outside in the United States.
When grown outside, polka dot plants thrive in partial shade.
Choose a planting location that is neither too dark nor too light, as any of these situations will cause the plant’s leaf hues to fade.
Because it is strong and indirect, light from an east or south-facing window is excellent for indoor use.
Polka dot plants grow on soil that is well-drained and rich in organic matter. Most of these plants thrive in organic, all-purpose potting soil.
Add pumice or perlite to the soil to improve water circulation.
For these plants to thrive well, the soil should be maintained slightly wet at all times.
Allowing the soil to completely dry out may cause the plant’s leaves to droop, making survival difficult.
Maintain constant moisture in the soil, but too much water might wilt the plant’s roots.
Water the plant when the top half an inch of soil is dry.
Apply enough water to ensure that the soil is uniformly hydrated.
Plants grown in containers require more frequent watering than plants grown in the ground.
Watering should be reduced somewhat over the winter months, then resumed when growth restarts in the spring.
Temperature and Humidity
Polka dot plants are only hardy in USDA planting zones 10 and 11 due to their propensity for higher weather.
If you wish to overwinter them, put them outside once the threat of frost has passed in the spring, then bring them inside well before the first frost in October.
It is advised that these plants be kept in a humid atmosphere with at least 50% humidity.
Spritz the plant’s leaves or place the pot on a tray of stones and water (make sure the tray does not contact the bottom of the pot) to improve humidity.
Treat container plants with an organic fertilizer developed exclusively for houseplants once a month throughout the warm growing season.
These plants require a lot of nourishment to grow. If you wish to grow outside, you need add compost to the soil every spring.
Fortunately, hypoestes phyllostachya is not toxic to humans or animals and may be cultivated in any home without extra care.
Varieties Of Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes Phyllostachya)
A variety of Hypoestes Phyllostachya varieties are available in garden centers and farmers’ markets. In this regard, you have a lot of options from which to choose.
According to one source, there are one hundred different varieties of polka dot plant. Some of the most common varieties are given below.
Carmina: the polka-dot plant, boasts bright red colours on its otherwise green leaves.
Confetti: are little plants that grow to a maximum height of 8 inches. These plants are incredibly resilient and grow quickly. They are available in white, crimson, pink, carmine rose, and burgundy, to name a few. They are typically traded in groups.
Pink Brocade: The Pink Brocade plant’s leaves are mottled with pink spots on a green backdrop.
Pink Dot: is a plant with pink specks on its green leaves.
Purpariana: As the name suggests, the leaves of this plant are purple in hue.
Splash Series: This Splash Series cultivar has large, contrasting splotches of pinks, roses, whites, and reds.
Wit: This spotted shrub’s white leaves feature a striking marbling pattern.
Breeders and gardeners are continually creating new variants. They’re all unique because some are dotted in varying hues of green, while others have dots in a rainbow of colors.
Choosing a complimentary hue of purple, lavender, scarlet, or white from these four selections is simple.
Confetti is another unusual color. In this interpretation, sporadic black blotches are sprayed across the plant’s green leaves.
The polka dot is an indoor plant that will grow and entertain you for many years.
Plants with polka dots typically grow tall and lanky. You’ll need a pair of clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to keep the plant’s branches from becoming too long and lanky.
To stimulate bushier growth, pinch or clip the top two leaves off each stem once a week. Pruning encourages greater, healthier development in plants.
To keep your polka dot plant flowering for as long as possible, snip off new flower buds as soon as they appear.
The leaves are more visually appealing than the blossoms. Once the plant has finished flowering, it will either die or fall dormant.
Propagating Polka Dot Plants
Plants with polka dots can be reproduced by seeds or cuttings. The optimal time to plant seeds is in the early spring.
You may grow new plants from cuttings at any time of year, but your chances of success are best in the spring and summer.
Regular pruning allows you to keep your polka dot plant bushier and healthier. Outside of tropical climes, polka dot plants are not resilient and will die at the first sight of frost.
If your plant is wilting outside, cutting its stems is an amazing way to bring it back to life indoors.
We’ll look at how to root a stem cutting in water or moist soil to establish a new polka dot plant here.
- Stem cuttings of the polka dot plant will need to be taken with sterilized shears or scissors for propagation. A sterilized jar of water or a container filled with draining potting soil, such as peat moss, will suffice. If you’re planting seeds in dirt, you’ll need clear plastic wrap. As an extra step, a rooting hormone can be used.
- Make sure you have a 2 inch section of stem that can be cut from anyplace on the plant. Four inches is the ideal size.
- If your plants are water-rooted, make sure to refill the evaporating water as needed. To avoid the growth of bacteria and algae, change the water carefully every other week before the root reaches 2 inches in length. It might have taken anything from 2 weeks to many months for the root to develop to roughly 2 inches.
- Plant the end of your freshly cut cutting into potting soil or peat moss and thoroughly water it so that it may take root in the soil. You may speed up the rooting process by injecting rooting hormone to the freshly cut end before planting it one inch deep in the soil.
- Cover the stem with plastic until it sprouts leaves or other obvious growth. Waiting periods range from weeks to months.
- Gently tug on the cutting to see if the stem gives way or if the roots are holding the cutting in place to see if it has taken root.
- It is time to repot the plant when the new growth on the cutting reaches a few inches in length. Only when the risk of frost has gone can the cutting be placed outside.
How to Grow Polka Dot Plant From Seed
Plant seeds directly on the earth’s surface in warm, moist soil. The plant would thrive on a sunny window sill.
The seeds will start to sprout in a few days.
When seedlings reach several inches in height, which usually takes a couple of weeks, they are ready for transplantation into a larger pot or planting outside.
You should wait until the threat of frost has gone before planting outside.
Potting and Repotting Polka Dot Plant
Plant the end of your freshly cut cutting into potting soil or peat moss and thoroughly water it so that it may take root in the soil.
You may speed up the rooting process by injecting rooting hormone to the freshly cut end before planting it one inch deep in the soil.
Cover the stem with plastic until it sprouts leaves or other obvious growth. Waiting periods range from weeks to months.
Gently tug on the cutting to see if the stem gives way or if the roots are holding the cutting in place to see if it has taken root.
It is time to repot the plant when the new growth on the cutting reaches a few inches in length. Only when the risk of frost has gone can the cutting be placed outside.
Because of its tropical origins, this plant cannot endure temperatures below freezing.
Take cuttings of the plant and root them inside in a small potting container or jar of water a few weeks before the first frost.
If kept in a container outside, these plants should be taken inside and placed in a somewhat sunny spot.
You can plant it in the garden after the danger of frost has passed in the spring.
Common Pests and Plant Diseases
Pests that feed on polka dot plants include mealybugs, aphids, and whiteflies. Ailments of polka dot plants include root rot, leaf spot diseases, and powdery mildew.
Discolored foliage, holes in the leaves, or an overall sickly look are unmistakable signs of insect infestations or illnesses.
How to Get Polka Dot Plant to Bloom
This plant blooms around the end of summer or the beginning of October.
As the days shorten, the plant recognizes that the growth season is coming to an end and responds by producing more blossoms.
Its small racemes, or flower stalks, can be purple or pink, yet neither the color nor the aroma stand out.
The appearance of the blossoms marks the beginning of the plant’s dormant phase.
In general, removing or clipping off the flowers as they form is the best strategy to extend the life of your plant.
Common Problems With Polka Dot Plants
They’re not difficult to care for if you figure out how to provide the optimum environment for them to thrive in.
The most common problems, as well as various solutions, are described below.
Curling Leaves or Leaves Loosing Their Color
When leaves curl and lose their color, it is typically due to too much or too little sun.
The Hypoestes phyllostachya plant demands intense, indirect light to maintain its brilliant green color.
It must, however, be shielded from the sun’s glaring beams. Anything in a container should be moved to a cooler, shadier place. If it’s underground, consider protecting it.
Leaves Turning Brown or Drooping
If the polka dot plant is not provided adequate water and humidity, its leaves may darken and droop. If the leaves are exposed to too much sunshine, they might become sunburned.
A polka dot plant’s leaves can become brown due to a variety of factors, including exposure to harsh water or over fertilization.
Change how often you water it or how much humidity the space gets to see if you can rescue the plant.
Leaves Turning Yellow or Dropping Off
If you overwater the plant, the leaves will turn yellow. When roots are immersed in water, their leaves become yellow and fall off.
Overwatering can also cause root rot and powdery mildew, which are both major problems.
If the plant’s leaves begin to yellow, it’s time to reduce watering and swap to a better-drained potting soil.
Are polka dot plants easy to care for?
To summarize, polka dot plants are low-maintenance and grow quickly. It may be difficult to find the proper conditions for its development, but once established, it usually flourishes.
How fast does polka dot plant grow?
These plants grow slowly, but they can be picky about their habitat and slow growth if conditions aren’t quite right.
How long can polka dot plant live?
A polka dot plant’s life cycle normally lasts less than a year. However, towards the end of the growth season, you can prolong their life by taking stem cuttings.
Do I Need To Avoid Direct Sunlight When Positioning Polka Dot Plants?
The plant’s bright colors become more visible when light levels decline.
However, as the plant hunts for light, it will become more leggy, therefore pinching it back will have the most effect and prevent the plant from getting leggy in the first place.
Can I Place My Polka Dot Plant Outdoors In Warmer Weather?
The polka dot plant, like many others in the houseplant family, flourishes outside during the summer months if given a shady place.
If the weather is forecast to fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, bring it indoors. Keep it away from direct sunlight and at a temperature of less than 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Does The Polka Dot Plant Ever Grow Outdoors Exclusively?
Outside cultivation of the plant is common in its native regions of South Africa, East Asia, and Madagascar.
If planted outside, it has the ability to grow to a height of three feet. However, it adapts well to indoor living and would make an excellent addition to any plant terrarium.
If you have a polka dot plant, make sure not to overwater it and keep it away from direct sunshine.
Does The Polka Dot Plant Require Any Special Care?
While the polka dot plant does not require much special care, it does have a propensity to become lanky if cultivated in the suitable dark lighting.
This is due to the fact that plants require intense light to survive, but too much sun exposure will cause them to fade and your “polka dots” to lose their distinct blackness.
You may pinch your plant back by gently plucking the first few leaves that develop, using your fingertips.
This should be done at least once a week to protect your plant from becoming too leggy.
Allowing plants to develop into fuller, busier plants may boost their aesthetic attractiveness significantly.
You may encourage your plant to grow more lushly by pinching back its leaves on a regular basis.
Keep in mind that your polka dot plant will likely have longer, thinner stems as it ages. Pull back with your fingers many times.
If you don’t want to start again when it dies, you may simply take a cutting from an established plant and use it to seed a new one.
Cultivating cuttings in water and then transferring them to potting soil is a straightforward process.
If you pot your outside plants into planters and take them inside when the weather changes, you may enjoy beautiful indoor plants all year.
The power of the polka dot plant to purify and cleanse the air around it is noteworthy. The polka dot plant is an excellent choice for anybody trying to enhance the air quality in their home.
Your polka dot plant should live for many years if you water and fertilize it frequently.
Plant cuttings may be begun at any time, allowing you to develop your gorgeous polka dot plant collection fast and easily.
If you visit a friend and notice colors you don’t have, you can trade cuttings.
The popular name for the polka dot plant alludes to the fact that it is covered in small white, pink, or red dots.
Names like “freckle face” and “measles plant” are as commonly used to characterize this plant as its more cuddly counterparts.
Tovah Martin, author of The Indestructible Houseplant, proposes using low-growing polka dot plants as a groundcover to disguise the thin stems of leggier houseplants.
You may also use them as eye-catching highlights in a forest-themed arrangement.