Hypoestes plants or polka dot plants are popular houseplants for good reasons. Their pink and green, splotchy leaves look attractive both indoors and out. Polka dot plants come in colors besides pink. They come in white, dark red, and even a reversed, green-on-pink pattern. Many Hypoestes plants are not pure H. phyllostachya. The massive variety of patterns and colors is a blend of captive breeding and hybridization. But if the conditions aren’t perfect, your picky polka-dot plant may die for one reason or another. We have provided potential Hypoestes plant- the polka dot plant parents with a care guide, covering basic facts, care points, and pointless facts that are nonetheless peculiar.
Origin of Hypoestes Plant
The polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) is native to South Africa, Madagascar, and Southeast Asia. It is a small (12-inch) plant with decorative green and pink leaves. Due to its small size, easy care requirements, and attractive coloration, the polka dot plant is very popular as a houseplant. Other names for the polka dot plant include “freckle face plant” and “splash plant.” More recently, some gardeners have been planting it outside.
How To Take Care of This Plant?
Now that you’ve gotten acquainted with this colorful plant, how do you take care of it? This section will cover the basics, as well as a few tips and tricks. If you have trouble, this plant is popular enough that someone is bound to help you if you ask!
One thing that makes polka dot plants ideal houseplants is their temperature preferences. They like temperatures around 65–80 degrees Fahrenheit—the same temperatures that most people find comfortable. You will not need to make any thermostat adjustments to keep this plant happy.
This plant is only hardy in zones 10 and 11 in the United States. If you live elsewhere, you may need to bring your polka dot plant inside for the winter.
Polka dot plants like it humid, but not necessarily wet. Let the soil dry slightly in between waterings or the roots may get fungal infections. This plant cannot tolerate drought.
More importantly, these tropical plants like humidity around 50%. This could be hard if you live in a dry area or have adverse reactions to humidity.
Tip: Put a polka dot plant in your bathroom. Your plant will get all the humidity it needs from your morning shower!
Polka dot plants like bright but indirect light. Do not put this plant in direct sunlight. If planting in a garden, plant them around taller plants that will give them some shade.
Polka dot plants demand well-draining soil. A mix of compost and vermiculite will be better for your plant than standard potting soil.
How to Fix “Leggy” on This Plant?
If you have done everything right, your polka-dot plant should grow like a weed—literally. When a polka dot plant’s stems get too long to handle, hobbyists call that plant “leggy.” If you’re taking good care of your plant, getting leggy is natural, but usually not desirable. Some plants also get “leggy” due to a deficiency in light, water, or nutrients; in this case, legginess is emergency growth in an attempt to get more of the missing element.
The best way to keep your plant from getting leggy is to prune it. Gently snip the undesirable growth just above a set of leaves. This will encourage your polka dot plant to grow tall instead of wide.
Getting leggy could be a natural part of the plant’s growth, but here’s a table of possible causes of “leggy” plants and what you can do to fix them.
|The plant is “leggy” with no other symptoms||Natural growth; you’re doing too good a job||Prune|
|Leggy growth is weaker than normal; fewer leaves||Inadequate light||Move polka dot plant|
|Leggy growth is fast, but weak, accompanied by dying leaves||Too much fertilizer||Don’t use as much fertilizer, but continue feeding your plant|
If you want to avoid “leggy” plants, the best thing to do is prune your plant as it grows. Planting in a bigger pot will only make the “legs” worse!
Repotting the Plant
But if the roots of your polka-dot plant are poking out the bottom of the pot, it’s time to repot your plant, legs or not.
But polka dot plants are surprisingly sensitive. They may flower if repotted incorrectly. As we will cover later in this document, even though the flower is pretty, it is a sign that the plant wants to reproduce and die.
Don’t Let Your Polka Dot Flower
First, you should not let your polka-dot plant flower. If you let it flower, that means your plant may die off sooner than you want it to. The purple, honeysuckle-like flower is pretty, but your plant wants to reproduce and die like a mayfly.
If you see a long spike poking out of your polka-dot plant, pinch it off immediately. Otherwise, your plant will start putting all of its energy into flowers and seeds. It will do this naturally with the seasons when planted outside.
The polka dot plant also makes small fruits that are loaded with seeds, but again, these are not a good sign. Flowering is the plant putting all of its efforts into the next generation. And unless you want to breed more polka dot plants, it’s usually best to avoid that.
Hypoestes plants are pretty, but also persnickety. If the pot isn’t primed for their presence, they will pour outside the perimeter of their pots to get more sunlight or to perhaps escape poorly-treated soil. Unless you wish to propagate polka dot plants, please prune any pervasive growths or premature points. If you perceive polka dot plants as peculiar but pleasant, we hope this guide provided you with advice to prolong your plant’s potential!
Elyssa Goins is a gardener, beekeeper, and a proud mom of four. She is a member of the American Horticultural Society, has been published in a Scientific Journal, and loves to talk about her love of plants. For the past twenty years, she’s been all about growing and caring for various fruits, veggies, herbs, livestock, kids, and houseplants. Managing a big garden to feed four growing kids and raising dairy goats has taught her so much about being an excellent plant parent and now is her time to share with you.