But in Chicago, where winters are colder (just a teeny bit), the plant dies at the first frost.For all intents and purposes, hypoestes is an annual in the Midwest — unless you have a greenhouse or other good houseplant habitat to shelter it during the winter.For gardeners, there’s a lot of gray area in the definitions of “annual” and “perennial.” To a botanist, the distinction is straightforward: An annual plant completes its whole life cycle in one growing season, and a perennial plant stays alive for years, keeping its root system through the winter even if the top growth dies back.A lot of tropical and subtropical plants, like hypoestes, or my potted ficus tree, will do fine outdoors in the hot, humid summers of Chicago (or Minneapolis or Des Moines), but cold will kill them.One example of the concept is pelargonium (the plant commonly sold as “geranium” in garden centers).The USDA hardiness zones that we see on every plant label are mainly about trying to sort out which perennials are too tender where. .

Polka Dot Plant: Care & Growing Guide

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.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. .

Polka Dot Plant Guide

The stunning and vivid foliage is the main reason for the widespread popularity of Polka Dot in landscaping design, but it’s also grown as a houseplant that provides a great visual interest to the home.Read these tips to learn how to grow a healthy Polka dot plant.These plants are very gentle and sensitive to frost and won’t grow well in temperatures bellow 55 degrees.Polka dot plant produces small, insignificant, purple flowers.By regular pruning and pinching back you can control Polka dot size, but it will also make the plant more compact and showy.But, if you grow it outdoors, Polka dot plant will complete its life cycle within a year.If the short lifespan is a drawback of Polka dot plant, an easy propagation is certainly its advantage.Direct light and hot sun can cause leaves to curl up and to develop unattractive brown marks.Indirect light, partial shade and low-light positions suit best for Polka dot plant.But in extremely low light conditions, the leaves start fading and losing their variegation.If you notice curled leaves on your Polka dot, move it to a shadier spot with filtered sun.According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Polka dot plant is safe to pets such as dogs and cats.ASPCA warns that mild vomiting and diarrhea may occur if pet ingests the parts of Polka dot plant. .

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. .

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. .

Hypoestes Seeds

Flower Specifications Season: Perennial USDA Zones: 9 - 10 Height: 8 - 12 inches Bloom Season: Insignificant Bloom Color: Pink Foliage Color: Dark Green w/ Pink Environment: Partial shade to full shade Soil Type: Moist, well-drained Deer Resistant: Yes House Plant: Yes Latin Name: Hypoestes Sanguinolenta Planting Directions Temperature: 65F Average Germ Time: 7 - 14 days Light Required: Yes Depth: Do not cover the seed but press into the soil Sowing Rate: 8 - 10 seeds per plant Moisture: Keep seed moist until germination Plant Spacing: 12 - 16 inches Care & Maintenance: Hypoestes.An annual foliage plant (or greenhouse perennial), it springs right up from flower seed, quickly reaching its mature size.The large, pointed leaves arise from the central stem, creating a neat rosette that looks lovely in the front of the border or in containers of all sizes. .

Polka Dot Plant – Growing & Care Guide

If you need to the raise humidity, you can mist the leaves or place the pot on a tray filled with pebbles.When growing indoors, keep your plant in a room with an average air temperature of 70° to 75°F and a minimum humidity level of 50%.If you need to the raise humidity, you can mist the leaves or place the pot on a tray filled with pebbles.Polka dot plant grows best at warm temperatures and high humidities.Keep soil consistently moist, but not soggy.To promote lusher growth, feed container-grown plants every 2 weeks during the active growing season with a well-balanced liquid fertilizer and less frequently (about every other month) during the fall and winter. .

Gardens: Polka-dot plants add year-round color to shaded areas

Hypoestes phyllostachya, commonly referred to as polka-dot plants, are popular evergreen tender perennials from Madagascar, the world’s fourth largest island.With variegated oval leaves splashed and spotted with delicate hues of pink, red, green and white, these flowering, herbaceous, compact shrubby plants can offer showy, colorful adornments to partially shaded areas of gardens all year long.Eventually the plants will become woody at the base and small, inconspicuous lavender-colored flowers will bloom and rebloom.Hypoestes phyllostachya plants also do well in containers and baskets on porches, decks and patios.They are very sensitive to frost and can grow only in temperate conditions, i.e. partially shaded locations with bright filtered light (no direct sun).Once the plants are established, feed with balanced liquid fertilizer, half strength, periodically during the growing cycle.Originally the only Hypoestes phyllostachya available had pink spots covering small, dark green foliage.They quickly produce roots when placed in water and they often will grow if just stuck in moist potting mix, sand or vermiculite.


Hippo® Rose Polka Dot Plant

Native to Madagascar, polka dot plants are easy to care for, require less than six hours of sunlight, and are adaptable as houseplants.The size, combined with its upright, bush habit, make it a perfect “filler” for containers.Or plant with bright annuals, hostas or vines in a shady garden for instant contrast and visual interest.They are easy to take care of, but do require the top two leaves to be pinched back on a regular basis to promote a more bushy growing habit.Water your plant any time the top 1” of soil is dry to the touch, and fertilize once a month.They also prefer a humidity level of at least 50%, so keep your polka dot plant on a pebble tray, or spray them every day to maintain moist conditions.Hippo® Rose Polka Dot Plant Information USDA Hardiness Zones: 10-11 Flower Color(s): Grown for Foliage Foliage Color(s) Green, Pink Foliage Description: Deep Pink and Green Light Exposure: Full Shade to Partial Shade Height Class: Medium Height: 16-22 Inches Spread: 8-14 Inches Spacing: 6-10 Inches Habit: Upright Watering: Average Drought Tolerant: No Container Role: Filler Use Types: Container, Houseplant, Landscape, Mass Planting Features: Low Maintenance, Foliage Interest, Deadheading Not Necessary Maintenance: Easy Scientific Name: Hypoestes phyllostachya 'G14160' USPP 29,842, Can PBRAF Common Name: Hippo® Rose Polka Dot Plant Other Name(s): Plant Type: Annual Brand: Proven Winners.Examples would be hungry animals, drought, poor soil conditions, over watering, disease, insects & many other factors. .


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