How to Grow & Take Care of Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes Phyllostachya)

A stunning plant known scientifically as Hypoestes phyllostachya or hypoestes plant, Polka Dot Plant is a show-stopper. This flowering plant has spectacular foliage and is an excellent houseplant. The landscape design on the leaves of this one of the famous foliage plants will leave you spellbound.

One thing that affects us about Polka Dot plants is their nature of becoming Dormant once the flowering period is over. However, it is difficult to see this leggy beauty die quickly. Learn some interesting facts about the Pink Polka Plant and an easy guide that will help you nurture this plant.

Here is a complete guide to taking care of this ornamental beauty.

History And Habitat

Madagascar, Southern Africa, and East Asia are the native areas of the Polka Dot shrub. These are the eye-catching beauty that appears as if someone has sprayed paint on them. In addition to being able to be grown indoors, Polka Dot belongs to a species of Hypoestes that is also able to be grown outdoors.

Polka Dot Plant appears in a variety of colors: pink, yellow, green leaf, and white spots. These plants grow in humid conditions and are sensitive to frost. They produce lavender flowers that indicate the beginning of the dying stage of the Polka Dot Plant. 

Botanical NameHypoestes Phyllostachya
Common NamePolka dot plant, flamingo plant, freckle face, measles plant, pink dot
Plant TypeHerbaceous, perennial
Hardiness Zones10-11 USDA
Bloom PeriodSummer or Early fall
Growth RateFast
Flower ColorLilac Or Pink
Mature Size1-2ft tall, 1ft wide
Sunlight ExposurePartial
WateringRegular watering
Soil Requirementsneed moist but well-drained soil
Optimal Soil pHAcidic (5.6-6.5)
Pink Polka Dot Plant

Polka Dot Plant Care

Thinking of planting this Pink Polka Dot Plant but worried about its polka dot plant care and maintenance? Don’t worry; you will get everything sorted with us. Polka dot plant care is not a burden as it requires the lowest amount of care, maintenance, and direct sunlight. Just serve the plant in proper conditions, and it will bloom in its way.

Plant this beauty indoors with our tips and tricks. Learn how to take care of Polka Dot Plants.

Soil Needs

Polka dot plants grow well when the soil is well-drained. So all you need to do is when looking out for Polka dot plant care, add some soil compost to make it rich, and you are ready to grow Polka Dot in it.

You can even mix pumice and perlite to improve drainage.

How often do you water a polka dot plant?

Polka dot plants need enough water. Make sure to water the plant evenly. Don’t let the soil dry out or turn soggy, as this will cause roots to rot. Let the soil be moist at all times.

More watering is needed for container plants as compared to ground plants. You should follow container planting methods to reduce excess watering during winters, and when growth picks up, you can continue watering. 

Lighting Requirements

Polka Dot Plant grows best when the light is bright and indirect. Therefore, choose a place that is not too bright and not too low in the light; otherwise, the plant’s color may tend to fade.

If you have any issues in terms of light, you can also grow lights with a full spectrum.

Temperature/ Humidity

The beautiful plant is in love with humidity and grows best in 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Polka Dot needs humid conditions to produce its best.

Ensure that the temperature where you grow Polka Dot is full of humidity and does not drop by 60 degrees F.

Fertilizer Requirement and Routine

Polka Dot Plants prefer soil that is enriched with compost and quality-rich fertilizer. Unfortunately, they are heavy feeders, and this annual plant needs composting every month.

When And How To Prune Polka Dot Plant

Regular pruning is needed for Polka Dot Plants to make them bushier. Hypoestes Phyllostachya tends to turn leggy as it grows. So, a continuous watch of its leggy growth is required to let the polka dot grow correctly.

Follow the following steps for easy and safe pruning:

  • All you need is sharp and clean scissors.
  • Once a week, cut the top two leaves on the stem. This will promote extra growth.
  • Trim the plant thoroughly. Remove the dry leaves.
  • Clip the flowers back when they tend to spread all around

These tips will make your leggy pruning great and will promote growth. Polka lovers would be sad to hear that it will die once the Polka Dot is finished flowering.

Want to grow Polka dots on your own or thinking of propagating it? Here are the exact steps to do it.

Process of Growing And Propagating Polka Dot Plant

It is effortless to propagate Polka dot plants and requires relatively little maintenance. Let’s walk you through the process of growing and propagating Polka Dot Plants, and soon, you will be able to treat your Polka dot plant with attractive foliage carefully.

polka dot plant with pink spotted leaves

How to Grow Polka Dot Plant From Seeds

  1. Sow the seed at the time of early spring.
  2. Choose a location with indirect sunlight.
  3. Sow the seed in soil that is moist and well-drained.
  4. Make sure to use compost for the best growth of Polka Dot.
  5. Several weeks later, you will see that the seedling has grown a few inches.
  6. Now is the right time to transplant the plant in a larger container or even outdoors.

Process of Propagating Polka Dot Plant From Cuttings

Propagating of Polka Dot can be done through seed and stem cutting. Propagating using seed follows the same process as growing Polka Dot from seeds. 

Let us learn how to propagate using the stem cutting method. The method can be used for root planting in water as well as soil.

Below you’ll find detailed instructions on how to root stem cuttings in water and soil.

Materials Required: A pair of clean scissors, Clear jar, Water, Compost Soil, Plastic Wrap.

Easy Steps for Propagating Polka Dot Plant in water

  1. Cut a 4-inch stem from any part of the plant. Make sure the branch is healthy and without leaves.
  2. Take a jar, fill it with water.
  3. Add the stem and see it will thrive in the growing season.
  4. Change the water every week to prevent forming algae or any bacterial habitat.

Steps for Propagating Polka Dot Plant in Soil

  1. Take a pot and add soil compost.
  2. Make sure your soil is moist.
  3. Now add the stem to the soil and cover it with soil.
  4. Cover the soil with plastic wrap to retain moisture.
  5. It will take about two weeks or more to grow roots.
  6. Have patience and see the beautiful blossoms.

Once your roots develop and you take polka dot plant care seriously, your beloved plant is ready to transfer in a large container or outdoors. Hooray! You completed the propagating process.

Potting And Repotting Of Polka Dot

Polka Dot Plant does not need repotting as they die after flowering and reach the dormancy stage. However, when the plant is outgrowing and roots are coming out of the drainage hole, it is time to re-pot Polka Dot and takes due polka dot plant care. 

Steps involved in repotting:

  • Increase the pot size by 2-inch wide and 2-inch deep; it’s a leggy foliage plant with pink spots.
  • Choose the time of the spring growing season for repotting.
  • Ensure compost or the peat moss has well-drained soil.
  • Check for any pruning.
  • You are good to go!

Common Pests And Diseases

Polka Dots is mainly affected by mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, thrips, and blackflies. Relax! Polka Dots are not susceptible to any serious pests and diseases. 

Few signs that show your Polka Dot is affected by bugs are:

  • Discoloration of leaves.
  • Holes on leaves.
  • Rotting roots
  • Powdery residue
  • Unhealthy leaves
  • Minor bugs moving on leaves.

Prevention From Bugs And Diseases

  • You can use the solution of soap and water to wash off bugs from leaves.
  • Cut back water for some time if you see powdery residue.

Polka Dot Plant Leaves Curling

The curling of leaves is a common problem with the Polka Dot plant. It occurs when your plant is receiving more sunlight or direct sunlight.

If your Polka Dot is encountering this problem, it is pretty easy to fix it. Just shift your plant to a shady area or an area with filtered sunlight. Sunlight plays a significant role in giving attractive colors to Polka Dot. The right amount of sun will make your plant stay healthy and beautiful.

Polka Dot Plant Losing Leaves

When your Polka Dot is losing leaves, it indicates that your plant is receiving too much water. Unfortunately, that water is slowly rotting the roots of Polka Dots and changing the leaves’ color to yellow and causing them to fall apart.

You can reduce the amount of water, and hence the problem of losing leaves will get resolved. Also, make sure your soil is well-drained.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the polka dot plant toxic to cats?

Polka Dot Plant is a non-toxic plant and is considered safe for cats. Polka Dot is also considered a non-toxic, cruelty-free plant by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Are polka dot plants poisonous to dogs?

Though the Polka Dot plant is considered safe for pets like dogs and cats, any plant can cause indigestion if consumed more. In addition, pets should not be allowed to reach plants, so it is best to keep the plants away from them.

How big do polka dot plants get

Polka Dot is a beautiful house plant with colored downy leaves. When given proper conditions and requirements, the plant tends to grow 30 inches high and wide.

Do polka dot plants like humidity?

Polka Dot Plants love humidity and tend to grow their best when provided with a humid environment. Techniques that help create humidity are using plastic wrap, and even grouping plants together will create a moist and warm soothing environment for Polka Dots.

Can polka dot plant grow outside?

Yes, Polka Dot can grow outside more beautifully. However, polka Dots are considered heavy feeders. Therefore, one thing to keep in mind is to provide them with enough supplements regularly. 

Are polka dot plants annuals or perennials?

Polka Dots can be both annuals or perennials depending on the growth conditions and climatic conditions. It needs hardiness zones of 10-11 USDA.

Do polka dot plants like coffee grounds?

As Polka Dot grows well in well-drained and compost soil. So even coffee grounds will also work great for Polka Dots. Being an indoor plant serving coffee as compost is an excellent option.

Do polka dot plants die in winter?

The ideal temperature for Polka Dot is 70-80 degrees F. Hence during winters, it becomes difficult for Polka Dot Plants to survive.

Do polka dot plants grow flowers?

The Polka Dot Plant has unique flowers in lavender that bloom and rebloom. It is such a mesmerizing experience to watch them blossom. Polka dots are enough to beautify your home.

Are polka dot plants deer resistant?

There is very little damage done to Polka Dot Plants by deer. Though the plant is not their first choice, they can eat any plant when deer are hungry.

Can the polka dot plant grow in water?

Polka Dot grows superb in water and is highly easy to propagate in water. You can see the quick spread of roots while growing them in water.

1. Hypoestes. University of Wisconsin Horticulture Department



3. Flamingo plant. The Royal Horticultural Society