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How to Grow and Care Polka Dot Plant

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    Polka Dot Plant Profile

    The polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) is a showy little plant with well-painted leaves that stand out from most other foliage. The most common polka dot plant on the market has leaves with a pink base and green spots.

    But there are several other varieties available that are speckled or mottled in purple, white, red, and more. Breeders have also developed plants with deeper colors and a brighter contrast, so the plants jump even more.

    Polka dot plants are not especially difficult to grow, but because they are only native to warm climates, many gardeners treat them as annuals and replace them with new plants each year. They can also be grown in containers and as houseplants.

    Best planted in spring, they have a moderate growth rate and remain relatively small when mature, especially when grown indoors.

    Botanical NameHypoestes phyllostachya
    Common NamesPolka dot plant, flamingo plant, freckle face, measles plant, pink dot
    Plant TypeHerbaceous perennial
    Mature Size1 to 2 feet tall and roughly 1 foot wide
    Sun ExposurePart shade
    Soil TypeOrganically rich, medium moisture, well-draining
    Soil pH5.6 to 6.5
    Bloom TimeSeasonally
    Flower ColorLilac
    Hardiness Zones10 to 11
    Native AreaMadagascar

    Polka Dot Plant Care

    Warm temperatures and humidity are essential for growing mole plants. Expect to water regularly unless it rains enough. They also need regular feeding during the growing season (spring to fall).

    These plants tend to have long legs, so to promote a busier growth habit, remove the top two leaves from each stem weekly. This can also help the plant grow healthier and more vigorous.

    Also, polka dot plants bloom sporadically, usually during the summer, with insignificant lavender flowers at the tips. You can pluck these flower tips to keep the plant's energy focused on growing its vibrant foliage.

    Light

    When grown outdoors, polka dot plants like a patch with some shade. In fact, too bright a planting spot can fade foliage colors and diminish the ornamental value of the plant. Indirect bright light is ideal indoors, such as from east or south facing window.

    Soil

    Polka dot plants prefer organically rich soils with good drainage. An all-purpose organic potting mix is ​​usually suitable for these plants. Mix in some pumice or perlite if you need to improve soil drainage.

    Water

    These plants like a moderate amount of moisture in the soil at all times. Keep the soil from drying out, which can make the foliage wilt and make the plant difficult. But never let the soil get soggy, which can cause the roots to rot and kill a plant.

    A good rule of thumb is to water when the top half of the soil dries out; Keep in mind that potted plants generally need more frequent watering than those planted in the ground. Also, reduce watering slightly in winter and resume your normal routine as soon as growth recovers in spring.

    Temperature and humidity

    Polka dot plants are hardy only in USDA growing zones 10 and 11, preferring temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be planted outdoors in spring, after the threat of frost, and brought indoors if you plan to hibernate long before the first frost in fall. In addition, they like humid climates, preferring a minimum humidity level of 50%.

    If you need to increase the humidity, you can spray the leaves of the plant or place the pot in a tray filled with stones and water, as long as the bottom of the pot does not touch the water.

    Fertilizer

    These plants eat a lot. Outdoors, in the garden soil, they will enjoy a layer of compost mixed with the soil each spring. Feed potted plants with an organic fertilizer designed for houseplants once a month during the growing season.

    Propagating Polka Dot Plants

    Polka dot plants can be grown from seed or stem cuttings. If you are starting with the seeds, sow them in early spring, placing them on the surface of warm, moist soil. They should sprout in a few days and the seedlings should be ready to transplant in a few weeks. For cuttings, cut about 5 inches long from the stem of an established plant and dip the tip in the rooting hormone. Then plant the seedling in warm, moist soil; roots should start to grow in about a week.

    Common Pests and Diseases

    Watch out for scales, whiteflies, bed bugs, and aphids on your polka dot plants. You may notice that the foliage is discolored, has holes, or appears unhealthy, along with small insects crawling over the plants.

    Plants grown indoors in suboptimal conditions generally have more pest and disease problems than plants grown outdoors in the right environment.

    Varieties of Polka Dot Plants

    Within the main species, Hypoestes phyllostachya, there are many varieties; all are created by the coloring of their leaves. They include:

    • ‘Camina’: Dark green and red-spotted leaves
    • ‘Confetti’: Leaves in green and spots of white, pink, rose, red, or burgundy
    • ‘Pink Brocade’: Green leaves with mottled pink spots
    • ‘Splash’ series: Leaves in mixes of greens with splotches of pinks, reds, or whites

    Enjoy This Video Tutorial About Hypoestes Pink Polka Dot Plant Care and Propagation

    Source: Urban Scape Bangalore

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