Common Names Polka dot plant, flamingo plant, freckle face, measles plant, pink dot Botanical Name Hypoestes phyllostachya Family Acanthaceae Plant Type Herbaceous, perennial Mature Size 1-2 ft. tall, 1-2 ft.
wide Sun Exposure Partial Soil Type Moist, well-drained Soil pH Slightly Acidic to Neutral (6.1 to 7.3) Bloom Time Summer or early fall Flower Color Lilac or pink Hardiness Zones 10 to 11, USDA Native Area Madagascar Toxicity Nontoxic.Polka dot plants bloom sporadically, typically during the summer, with small lilac or pink-colored flowers on spikes.Pinch off these flower spikes to keep the plant’s energy focused on growing its vibrant foliage.Warning Polka dot plants have become a problematic, aggressive grower in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia.Polka dot plants prefer organically rich soil with good drainage.Avoid letting the soil completely dry out, which can cause the foliage to wilt and make the plant struggle to survive.Feed container plants with an organic fertilizer designed for houseplants once a month during the warm growing season.Pink Splash polka dot plant David Q. Cavagnaro / Getty Images.You’ll need a pair of clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to keep the plant from developing long, lanky branches.To promote a bushier growth habit, cut or pinch back the top two leaves on each stem weekly.Although flowers sound nice, it's best to clip them when they start appearing to extend the growing season of your polka dot plant.You can propagate from cuttings anytime; however, your success rate of growing a healthy plant will be best in the spring or summer.Let's examine how to propagate your polka dot plant from a stem cutting rooted in water or moist soil.To propagate the polka dot plant using stem cuttings, you will need a sterilized pair of scissors or shears.Every other week, change the water entirely to inhibit bacterial or algae growth until the root grows up to 2 inches long.If rooting in the soil, place the fresh-cut end of your cutting into potting mix or peat moss and keep it evenly moist.Cover the cutting with clear plastic wrap until the stem develops leaves or other obvious growth.Once the seedling has grown several inches—usually in a couple of weeks—it is ready to transplant into a larger container or plant outdoors.A sure sign your plant has outgrown its pot is when the roots start growing out of the drainage holes.Too large a pot encourages the roots to focus on growing below the soil line, which is not good for the plant's upward growth.Before the first frost, you can cut stems from the plant, root them indoors in a small potting container or jar of water.Common pests that enjoy polka dot plants are mealybugs, aphids, and whiteflies.The shortening of daylight hours tells the plant that the growing season is coming to a close, encouraging its flower growth.Insufficient water and humidity can cause the polka dot plant's leaves to turn brown or start drooping.Hard water and overfertilization are other reasons for a polka dot plant's leaves turning brown.If you notice leaves yellowing, reduce the amount of water you give the plant and make sure you're using potting soil with good drainage.
How to Grow Polka Dot Plants Indoors or Outdoors
Polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) is an evergreen shrub that is native to Madgascar.In colder regions, it is grown outdoors as a bedding annual or indoors as a houseplant.Polka dot plant grows 1 – 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide.Newer cultivars have leaves with white, red, rose or burgundy spots.Plant them in the spring after your last frost when temperatures have reached 70⁰F and the soil has warmed.Mix in a thick layer of compost when you install your plants in the spring.Water regularly, about 1 inch per week, so that the soil stays moist but not soggy.A thick layer of mulch will help the soil to retain water and prevent weeds from taking hold.The plants will get leggy so it’s a good idea to pinch on a weekly basis.Pinching means removing the growing tip on the end of each stem.Because they like shade, polka dot plants make good houseplants.A good rule of thumb is to water your plant when the top inch of soil has become dry.A humidity tray is simply a shallow pan filled with ornamental gravel.Fill the pan with water and place your plant on top of the gravel.Indoors, they can be grown in a sunny room with either an east or south facing window.The best time to take cuttings is in the spring or summer when the plants are actively growing.Make a 4 – 5 inch cutting from a stem and remove the leaves from the bottom half.A polka dot plant with red leaves, Wikimedia Commons.You can transplant your seedlings outdoors after your last frost when air temperatures have reached 70⁰F and the soil has warmed. .
How long do polka dot plants live?
In reality, most hypoestes will not live much beyond a year or two before they flower, and many people don't bother to keep the plants after they've bloomed and slipped into their dormant phase.But, if you grow it outdoors, Polka dot plant will complete its life cycle within a year.In its native habitat, the plant can get up to 3 feet in height, but pot grown specimens will usually be smaller. .
Polka dot plant propagation
If you want to propagate a polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) with as little effort as possible, the water method is your best friend!And it doubles as home decor: plant cuttings in a nice propagation station are a great statement piece.Just make sure that the section you use has at least two healthy leaves at the top and a couple of nodes, which are the bumps that new roots will sprout from.Direct sun is a bit too much and can increase algae growth, which is not harmful but also not the nicest thing to look at.Change the water out once or so a week to get rid of any gunk buildup and promote healthy growth.A coarse soil, such as a cactus mix, will do fine fo a polka dot plant.Water needs to be able to flow out of the container to prevent issues with root rot, which can quickly kill a houseplant.If you really want to give your cuttings a boost, you can place them in a clear plastic storage box (that still allows light to enter).Once you’ve successfully propagated polka dot plants, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the basics of what they need to survive and thrive!If you can’t get enough of the beautiful pink, silver or red patches, then you’ll need to make sure your plants have plenty of light.Without sufficient bright, indirect sunlight, the variegation will gradually fade away and your plant will start growing leggy.Strong but indirect light, like on a windowsill that doesn’t receive direct sun, is perfect.As mentioned above, polka dot plants aren’t too picky when it comes to soil, although your mixture should be well-draining and rich in nutrients.Whatever mix you use, you can toss in a handful of compost or worm castings for that extra nutritious kick that your plants will surely appreciate.When it comes to watering polka dot plants, they like the soil to be lightly moist at all times but never soggy.Like many houseplants, polka dot plants benefit from getting extra nutrients during the growing season (spring and summer).During the fall and winter months, when houseplants like the polka dot plant aren’t actively growing, you should stop fertilizing.If you have any more questions about polka dot plant propagation or want to share your own experiences with these colorful houseplants, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. .
Polka Dot Plant
This beauty shows off red, pink, or white leaves marked with splashes of dark green.This colorful houseplant will wilt if it dries out too much, but is quick to spring back to life when you water it again.Like many houseplants, polka dot plant also does well outdoors in shady spots in garden beds, borders, and containers. .
ASK THE INDOOR GARDENER : Polka-Dot Plant Takes Special
This time, follow these directions, perhaps a little more complete: Keep your polka-dot plant, also known as “freckle face” (Hypoestes sanguinolenta) --a beautiful little plant with small, oval-shaped downy leaves spotted with rosy red markings--in bright, filtered light, water thoroughly when the soil barely dries out (which could be more or less than twice a week), spray every day and keep the plant on a pebble tray as it really needs lots of humidity, and feed once a week with a good liquid houseplant food such as Miracle-Gro.Pinch it back as the stems get straggly--this will encourage new, thick growth at the crown.Q: I recently received a beautiful bonsai tree as a gift, and put it in a place of honor in my living room.If you haven’t got an outside area where the plant can thrive in its natural conditions, I’m afraid you’d best give (or sell) it to a friend who has. .
How to Grow and Care for Polka Dot Plants
The cheery plant is known for its brightly patterned leaves, which show off splashy red, pink, and white tones against a deep green background.The plant's small size means it won't make much of an impact in an outdoor garden but can add a pretty accent to a small-scale planter.Indoors, polka dot plants prefer rich, well-drained soil, frequent misting to recreate tropical humidity, monthly fertilizing, and filtered sun or part shade locations that keep its colors vibrant. .